For a few moments it was going to be the Super Bowl in which we would forever talk about the bobble-catch made by Seahawks receiver, Jermaine Kearse. On first and ten with a 1:10 to go in the game, with Seattle trailing by four points, Russell Wilson went for it all heaving a pass down the sideline to a double-covered Kearse, who made a play for ages.
That was until the Seahawks decided to throw it all away.
Seattle had the game in their back pocket. With :26 to go, the ball at the one yard line, and a timeout to use, all the Seahawks had to do was hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch and the game would have been won. Instead they decided to throw the football on second and goal at the one, and it was intercepted by rookie safety Malcolm Butler. Game over.
It was easily the worst play call in the history of the National Football League. There was no logical reason for the Seahawks to throw the football on the goal-line. Some have said that Lynch had issues in the past running the football at the goal-line, but I just don't understand how. Lynch has been one of the toughest backs to tackle all season; he has been notorious for carrying defenders for long gains, and had already gashed the Patriots for a steady 102 yards on Sunday night. If Wilson hands Lynch the football, he scores -- its that simple.
Whoever made that call, whether it be head coach Pete Carroll or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, must be sick to their stomachs right now, because logic dictates that running the football is the only option in that situation. If the Patriots stuffed Lynch and kept him out of the endzone, Seattle could then try a naked bootleg, or a bubble-screen to the corner on the next play, and still find a way to get the winning score. Instead we are left with not only the most bizarre endings, but maybe the worst ending to a Super Bowl.
The Patriots got the football back, drew Seattle off-side, and started a melee in the end zone when Pats' tight end Rob Gronkowski was taunting the Seahawks. Gronkowski wasn't penalized at all, another signal that when it comes to the Patriots and discipline, the officials like to turn a blind eye. Instead it was Seattle's Bruce Irvin who was ejected for starting the fight. It didn't matter, the game was already lost.
I can only imagine what Carroll and his coaching staff went through last night when the team actually had a moment to think about what had happened. I bet it is replaying in Carroll's mind even to this minute; he'll never get over it, trust me.
While the end of the game is clearly pinned on the play-calling of the Seahawks coaches, lets keep in mind that this was a team that had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Seattle had the number one ranked defense in football, and were 18-0 when leading after three quarters the past three years combined. Yet, the Seahawks much bally-hood Legion of Boom defense had no answer for the Patriots in the fourth quarter.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady picked them apart with short, high percentage throws to the sideline. Rarely did Bardy challenge the Seahawks deep, when he did it led to a couple of interceptions, including one down near the goal-line in the opening quarter of the game. Other than the two picks, Brady was fantastic. He threw for 328 yards and four scores, claiming the game's top prize as MVP.
However, a honorable mention should also go to Julian Edleman, who gutted out a bad hip to catch nine passes for 109 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Both fourth quarter drives ate up huge chunks of clock and yards as New England pressed the issues against the Seahawks vaunted defense. In a lot of ways it was like Seattle never adjusted their defensive game plan. They were going to give the Patriots everything and anything underneath, but were not going to allow Brady to beat them deep; unfortunately for Seattle that plan backfired.
A nine play 68 yard drive, not only ate up close to five minutes, but it left the Seahawks defense gasping for air, as Brady found Danny Amendola in the end zone for the score. After Seattle went threw and out on it's next possession, Brady drove the Patriots down field again, on another lengthy drive that felt eerily reminiscent to the drive Joe Montana led against Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII. Brady was 9-for-9 on the Pats final drive of the day, with every single plass being a short underneath check down.
While Brady's integrity regarding deflategate should be questioned, you can't take away the fact he had a great Super Bowl against, what was supposed to be a shutdown defense.
But at the end of the night, all anyone was talking about was the opportunity that Seattle had. The Seahwks could have changed everything in that game if they only did the smart thing and run the football. This is a play, a moment, a game that will haunt this franchise forever.