For two weeks, the pre-Super Bowl coverage has been nothing but "Deflate Gate". Tom Brady and Bill Belichick legacies were both hanging in the balance, which I thought was silly of the media to portray, while the Patriots' franchise were once again being labled cheaters. Now I always thought SpyGate and the "tuck rule" were far much worse than DeflateGate, but for some reason, the media couldn't let the idea of slightly deflated footballs go. Of course those countless hours of negative press, turned the Pats into public enemy #1, many people wishing for them to lose badly.
It's funny how things always work out for the Patriots. It seems like the opposing team at some point during the game make it easier for them to win. You figure the Ravens gave up two 14-point leads and that controversial decision by Joe Flacco late in the 4th quarter helped advance the Pats to the AFC Championship. Just like how the Ravens used a bad call on 2nd down, so did the Seahawks.
Interception were the results of both situation but I don't think you can find a bigger one than Malcom Butler's game-saving pick. Butler, an undrafted rookie free agent, let his instincts take over, jumping the slant route. He attended West Alabama University and is from the great state of Mississippi. Prior to his historical play, he was the victim of another great play, Jermaine Kearse reception to put them inside the 5 yard line, which was also historical. Butler may not have won Super Bowl MVP but he definitely made the biggest play of not only the game but the season.
Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time in his career. He did a great job against the LOB, throwing for 358 yards and completing 74% of his passes on 50 attempts. This wasn't a perfect game for Brady because he did throw two interceptions but he bounced back from both of them. Even though I do not like the Patriots, I am a fan of Tom Brady. When you think about how he has managed to consistently be one of the best QBs in the league, with little help, in a 15-year career, being a 6th round, it's hard to believe. His 4th quarter TD to Danny Amendola, that cut the Seahwaks 10 point lead to 3, surpassed Joe Montana Super Bowl record of 11 TDs, making him the new record holder with 12.
I am very surprised that the dink-n-dunk style of the Patriots worked as well as it did. I actually thought the Legion of Boom would thrive against this offense but Brady found a weak spot after Jeremy Lane left the game with a broken wrist. Lane's replacement, Tharold Simon, was the chink in the LOB's armor Brady needed. I can't think of one positive play Simon made but I do remember Brady picking on him for the entire game. Julian Edelman had himself a great game, catching 9 passes for 109 yards, also the go-ahead TD reception. It's hard to say that the LOB was unprepared for this game, but I don't think they had an answer for the short passes and crossing routes. The Seahawks defensive line managed to get to Brady but it wasn't enough to rattle him.
In the first half, the Seahawks were the ones playing catch-up, answering every big play the Patriots mad with their own but that TD before the half gave them added momentum. Entering the 4th quarter, the Seahawks had a 10 point lead, 24-14. Russell Wilson started off slow but ended finishing with good number, 241 yards, 2 TDs, and a 110 QB rating. Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis really made Russell work, unfortunately didn't apply enough pressure, which gave Russell added time to make a play. Marshawn also had a solid game, rushing for 104 yards on 24 carries. The one thing I love about Marshawn is that he don't lose yards. You rarely see him tackled in the backfield. Even with contact, and there was a lot today, Marshawn still gained positive yards.
The 4th quarter is where Brady restored his legacy. He was 14-16 in the fourth quarter, throwing for 117 yards and 2 TDs. On the go-ahead drive, he was a perfect 9-9 for 57 yards. And you have to give credit to the Patriots' defense, who got Brady the ball back after giving up 10 points in the 3rd quarter. I have to admit this was one of the better team efforts I have seen in a Super Bowl, similar to the Seahawks last year.
Now lets get to the play that everyone will be talking about for the next 20 years. 2nd & Goal on the 1 yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Seahawks have 1 timeout and on the previous play, Marshawn just gained 4 yards. Everyone in the world knew that Marshawn was going to get the ball the for the rest of that drive, but Pete Carroll thought other wise. Pete decided to pass the ball, claiming that it was a "football decision". He explained why he made that costly decision but it's not even worth quoting because we all know Marshawn should have got the ball. If you don't trust that Beastmode, who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns, the best back in the NFL, can't get 1 yard to win the game, who do you trust? This is a prime example of coaches out thinking themselves. Pete Carroll, who has pushed the right buttons the last 3 seasons but not this time, I'm sure he will regret this costly decision.
When we speak about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, I hope everyone can agree that they are the best coach-QB duo to play the game. We all know they have had some added help in the past but I don't think that should overshadow how great they really are. I think the tuck rule was one of the worst calls ever in the history of sports, but the Pats still had to win two more games after that, one of which being a Super Bowl. They have made it to 6 Super Bowls since 2000, this being their 4th victory. I don't blame anyone for not being a fan of them or the Patriots because of their track record, but also because of their track record, you have to respect them. And to think, in week 2 after they were spanked by the Kansas City Chiefs, everyone including me, said the Brady-Belichick era of dominance was over, I guess we owe them an apology.