NFL: New England Patriots

By: S. Davis

There have been five games this year – including the playoffs – where the Seattle Seahawks surrendered 24 points…and they were all losses. The fifth loss took place on Sunday evening just in case you were wondering.

Now I did not pick the Patriots to win the game as I reasoned that they wouldn’t get to the magic number (24). I was wrong. Watching the fourth quarter unfold I was looking closely at the 10-point lead the Seahawks were holding onto (24-14) and thinking they’re “going to punt this game away with these consecutive three-and-outs.” Teams holding a lead as the one previously mentioned entering the final quarter have been 0-29 in the history of the Super Bowl. A defense as stout – and verbally abrasive – as the Seahawks’ usually closes the door when they hold a double-digit lead. History has a way of changing on the fly.

Also it was highly intelligent for Doug Baldwin to cost his team precious yardage after celebrating a touchdown. That was a definitive “look at me” moment when it’s supposed to be all about “team” right? Wasn’t that the point of his postgame tirade in the NFC Championship? About focusing on the “team” right? Great call.

How the Patriots completely clamped down in the fourth quarter, defensively, was impressive. The Seahawks scored zero points while the Patriots put up 14. Offensively the Seahawks could not sustain drives, make the key third down conversions, or hold up defensively. Look, I was skeptical of their closing regular season run based solely on the fact that they abused some hardly average quarterbacks.

I’m not turning on the Seahawks or piling on them at all. I did pick them to win this game but I do question where their main focus was once the second half began. After the Baldwin touchdown the camera quickly cut to Richard Sherman who appeared to be taunting the other stellar defensive back Darrelle Revis who was beaten on the play because Baldwin ran Revis across the formation an into a game official. Smart play by Baldwin, lack of awareness by Sherman (he’s better than that) yet he could have been referencing the fact that his team scored 24 points. Who knows?

Defense decided another Super Bowl winner…it just wasn’t the one that people expected.

It was a tremendous game and it was so much fun to watch without a rooting interest. There were moments I was lost in the game and others I felt that I was experiencing something that’s going to have a substantial shelf-life…until the next compelling Super Bowl. Eating nachos and tacos was just as great but the game made the cheese just that gooey.

What happened to the read-option calls in the fourth quarter that have defined the Seahawks during these last three years? Wilson usually makes more plays with his legs in critical moments – late in games – than he usually does early so the play-calling was kind of vanilla. It stood out to me as the fourth quarter began and midway through it I felt the Seahawks were going to leave a great opportunity on the field.

As for the play that’s getting all the news: Malcolm Butler made a tremendous read and Brandon Browner made a play that made the play. Browner jamming Jermaine Kearse immediately after the ball was snapped allowed Butler to make his read, early, and get to the spot a step before Ricardo Lockette to make the interception. Great play.

Wilson should have put that ball into Lockette’s stomach because any throw that high, at the shoulders, in such cramped quarters is begging to be picked off or tipped in the air where anything can happen. It did. You make that throw in the perfect spot or sail it out-of-bounds to stop the clock, it’s an either-or type of deal. Marshawn Lynch should have been given the opportunity to decide the game. You’ve got to give the ball to the best runner in the league on second-and-goal; you have to put the ball in his stomach with one timeout and 26 seconds to decide a title.

Looking at the play, if they were going to pass they could have done it on the opposite side of the field where Lynch was in man coverage with Chandler Jones. There’s a small window where it seems that if Wilson faked a handoff to Lynch, pulling Jones in, and then having him go into the route he could have possibly caught an open touchdown.

One more thing: Butler’s interception also saved Belichick’s behind. There are reasons why he didn’t call a timeout, I’m sure, but had the Seahawks converted that touchdown all the commentary ripping Pete Carroll would be directed at his counterpart. Don’t forget that part of the equation. It was puzzling how he watched the game time bleed away without even a motion to the referee for a timeout. The play Butler made saved him and Brady’s legacy (that is now being worshipped to the point of nausea).

I’m sad that the season is over…and Week 1 cannot get here soon enough.

Playoffs: 7-4
Regular Season: 174-82


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