Super Bowl 49 definitely lived up to all of the hype. Views on what the best moments were will vary, of course. Maybe the dancing sharks at halftime? Or the Budweiser commercial where the puppy finds his way back home?
For Patriots fans, it’s got to be that unexpected passing call by Seattle on the 1 yard line during the 4th quarter that helped New England secure their fourth Super Bowl victory. As for entertainment value, Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, Arizona certainly scored big.
The Patriots and the Seahawks faced off as the league’s two best teams entering the game and battled throughout trading scores in a back-and-forth thriller that we won’t soon forget.
It began with the Patriots receiving the opening kickoff and, on just their second possession, throwing an interception in the end zone.
Shortly after a Pats defensive stand, they got on the board first with an 11 yard hookup from Tom Brady to Brandon LaFell. The Seahawks responded late in the second quarter with a Marshawn Lynch 3 yard touchdown scamper. The game was knotted up at 7 with just over 2 minutes to go in the half.
Only a minute and half later, the Pats regained the lead with a beautiful throw and catch between Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. So, the halftime score would be 14 to 7 in favor of the Pats right? Well, not quite.
With only 31 seconds remaining, QB Russell Wilson drove the Hawks down field in 5 plays and 80 yards and scored with two ticks left on the clock. The touchdown pass was caught by Chris Matthews, who won rookie of the year in the CFL in 2012 and was not even on the Hawks’ 53-man roster until December of this year.
This was his first career catch and first career touchdown and he made it on the NFL’s biggest stage. The game was played equal at the half, Seattle 14 New England 14.
Act 2 was even better. The Seahawks had the ball first in the second half, but their drive stalled at the Pats 20 yard line and settled for a field goal. Seattle would take its first advantage of the game at 17 to 14.
The Pats got the ball back looking up at the scoreboard and seeing Seattle with a lead, and it did not get any better as Brady threw his second pick of the game, this time to Bobby Wagner. At this point, the New England faithful were holding their breath.
Only 6 plays later, the Seahawks capitalized off the Brady mistake; this time as Wilson completed a pass to Doug Baldwin and Seattle’s lead grew to double digits at 10 near the end of the 3rd quarter.
The fourth quarter of the Super Bowl would begin with both teams having a strong chance to win; only two scores separated them.
Seattle punted to New England early in the fourth. The Pats now had the ball down by ten. What did Belichick have up his cut-off sleeve this time? Nine plays and 68 yards later Brady threw his third touchdown pass of the game to cut the lead down to just three, this time to Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone.
The seesaw battle continued, now the game was 24 to 21. Another Seahawks punt and another Pats touchdown transpired on the next possession. This time Julian Edelman joined in on the Brady touchdown parade to give the Pats a 28 to 24 advantage and Brady his fourth tally. Edelman had a terrific game, notching 109 yards on 9 receptions as well as the go-ahead score.
With two minutes and two seconds still left on the clock, the Pats possibly left too much time for Wilson and the Seahawks to march down and give Seattle back-to-back Super Bowl titles. Seattle was driving after a miraculous juggling catch by Jermaine Kearse who had the smarts to get out of bounds at the five yard line. Seattle was now sensing a victory and was almost ready to touch the Lombardi trophy.
Then Lynch darted for four yards down to the Pats’ one with 30-plus seconds to go and one time out remaining if needed.
On second down, one of the most unexpected play calls resulted in one of the most unforgettable plays in Super Bowl history. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll decided to throw the ball on a quick slant route intended for Ricardo Lockette instead of handing it off to “Beast Mode,” Marshawn Lynch.
Instead of the play being a genius move, the decision backfired, and Malcom Butler, a Pats rookie cornerback, made the interception by jumping the route and making the play that sealed the game for the Patriots as they won Super bowl 49 by a score of 28-24.
The question everyone in the sports world asked themselves after this game was why the Seahawks decided to pass in this situation at the one yard line with plenty of time to go instead of handing it off to a running back of the caliber of Marshawn Lynch.
Two reasons come to mind. One is that 5 times this season Lynch had received the ball at the one and only scored once. The second explanation, which Pete Carroll stated after the game, was that everyone in the world thought Seattle would run so they tried going for the element of surprise. Not sure if those reasons suffice to make that questionable play call.
The interception by Malcom Butler was one for the ages. 99 out of 100 times that play is either an incompletion or touchdown. The absolutely worst possible result happened for Seattle late on that Sunday night. This play is going to haunt Pete Carroll and the Seahawks for quite some time.
Tom Brady finished the game with 328 yards and four scores, but more incredible are his achievements that are now set in history. He won the game MVP for the third time and now has four Lombardi trophies, tying both Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with the most all time.
Brady, the one-time seventh-round pick out of the University of Michigan, could arguably be considered the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen.
As a side note, let’s also give a shout out to EA Sports Madden Virtual Simulator for perfectly predicting the Patriots defeating the Seahawks 28 to 24 in Super Bowl 49.