(This story appeared in the February 5th issue of The Stall, the student run newspaper of Brookdale Community College.)
It was a “pick-em” before the game, meaning there was no favorite in Super Bowl XLIX (49) between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Both teams were the number one seeds in their respective conferences. Boy, did this game live up to the expectations.
Kickoff was by Seattle’s Steven Hauschka at 6:31 p.m. Tom Brady and the Patriots got one first down on the game’s opening drive, but were forced to punt. Seattle did not have the ball very long as the Patriots defense forced a three-and-out on their first possession.
After a long drive, Tom Brady took a shot at the end zone but was intercepted at the goal line by Jeremy Lane, who returned the ball to the 14-yard-line. It was the first red zone trip of the playoffs for the Patriots where they did not score. It was also Lane’s first career interception. Two scrambles by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson brought the first quarter to a close with no score.
After another three-and-out for Seattle, the Patriots converted a big third and nine play as Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for 23 yards to get them back in the red zone and then Brandon LaFell two plays later in the end zone for the game’s first points and a 7-0 lead with 9:47 left to play in the first half.
The ensuing Seahawks possession resulted in another three-and-out. Russell Wilson, who was yet to complete a pass at this stage in the game, took a shot at Jermaine Kearse deep, but it was broken up by Logan Ryan. The usually stifling Seattle defense was finally able to contain the Pats offense, as New England went three-and-out on their next possession.
Seattle’s offense started to wake up as Wilson hit Chris Mathews, who did not catch a pass all season long, deep for a 44 yard play setting up Seattle at the 11 yard line. Marshawn Lynch, who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns this season, would go on to pound it in on third and two and tie the game up at seven with 2:16 left in the half.
Tom Brady completed the first pass on the next Patriots drive to Danny Amendola for a first down, taking the game to the two-minute warning. They drove down to the Seattle 22-yard-line where Brady floated a pass for Rob Gronkowski in the end zone to put the AFC Champs up 14-7 with 36 seconds left. Brady finished the first half 20 of 27 for 177 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The 20 completions is the most Brady has completed in the first half in any of his six Super Bowls.
Seattle, however, did not settle for a deficit at the half as they drove down the field in 34 seconds and Wilson found Mathews again for a touchdown to tie the game at 14 into halftime.
The second half kicked off at 8:32 with Seattle receiving the ball first. Chris Matthews was working at a Foot Locker when the Seahawks called him for a tryout. His night to remember continued as he made a 45 yard catch, his third reception of the game, which gave him 100 receiving yards on the night. Hauschka gave Seattle its first lead of the night by capping off the drive with a 27-yard field goal to make it 17-14.
After a first down conversion to Rob Gronkowski, Brady threw his second interception of the game. This one was by linebacker Bobby Wagner, and Seattle took over at midfield. The NFC Champs would go on to drive down the field and Wilson hit Doug Baldwin in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown to extend Seattle’s lead, 24-14. The ten point deficit was the largest deficit Tom Brady faced in any Super Bowl. The score remained that way into the fourth quarter until New England scored with 7:55 left in the game. Brady found Amendola in the end zone for a three-yard strike to make it 24-21. The touchdown pass was Brady’s 12th in a Super Bowl, which is a new NFL record.
The Patriots took the lead with 2:02 left in the game after Brady found Julian Edelman, the former Kent State quarterback, in the end zone to put them back up front 28-24. It was Edelman’s ninth catch of the game and he had 109 yards receiving on the night.
Seattle came right out on their next drive as Wilson hit Lynch downfield for a 31 yard gain, taking it to the two minute warning. Then Wilson threw one up for Kearse down the near sideline. The ball hit Kearse in the knee and went up in the air. But the Seattle wide out was able to remain his focus on the ball and made the catch lying on the ground. This was thought to be the play of the game until a questionable decision as Wilson tried to throw the ball into the end zone instead of handing it off to the guy they call “Beast Mode” and the ball was intercepted in the end zone by Malcom Butler, an undrafted rookie out of West Alabama, who sealed the deal for the Patriots to once again become World Champions.
Brady was named MVP after finishing 37 of 50 with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The 37 completions are a Super Bowl record. Brady added his fourth Super Bowl Ring to his collection and the MVP honor is his third. He also set the record for most career touchdown passes in a Super Bowl with 12 and also put together his ninth game winning postseason drive, also the most of all-time.
It was truly an historic night for Tom Brady and the Patriots. The game was nothing short of spectacular from start to finish. Congrats to the Seahawks and Patriots on a terrific season. Both teams should be proud of what they accomplished. But now, and most importantly, it is time for baseball to start.