The New England Patriots came back from ten points down in the second half to win the Super Bowl in one of the most dramatic, and wild, finishes in the game’s history.
The victory gives Bill Belichick and Tom Brady four championships, putting the latter in the rarefied air of Bradshaw and Montana and the former alongside Chuck Noll as the only coach to win four Lombardi Trophies.
The Patriots utilized a short-passing game to neutralize the vaunted Seahawks secondary in the first half. Tom Brady accumulated 177 yards on 20 for 27 passing with an endzone interception as the only, albeit big, blemish on his first-half performance. He tossed touchdowns to Brandon LaFell and Rob Gronkowski.
Seattle’s offense struggled, with Russell Wilson enduring two sacks but no completions midway through the second quarter. Then the unheralded Chris Matthews, catching a 44-yard second quarter bomb to set up a Marshawn Lynch touchdown and catching a TD pass with two seconds in the half, provided an unforeseen spark for Seattle.
Carroll’s gutsy call to risk no points for a chance at a touchdown with six ticks left on the first half’s clock catalyzed a momentum shift in a game in which New England had outplayed their opponents up until that point.
The Seahawks marched down the field to start the second half, again aided by a Chris Matthews deep reception against a dwarfed Kyle Arrington. The receiver, working at a Foot Locker last year and without a single regular-season reception, appeared good for the game’s MVP should Seattle have hung on. A New England stand near the goal line forced the Seahawks to settle for three.
A Doug Baldwin 3-yard touchdown reception put the Seahawks ahead 24-14 with 4:54 left in the third. But New England, who looked flat to start the second half, roared back. A Tom Brady to Danny Amendola touchdown pass brought the Patriots to within three.
With 2:02 left on the clock, Brady connected on his fourth touchdown pass to Julian Edelman to put the Pats ahead 28-24.
But Seattle stormed back on the next play from scrimmage, with Russell Wilson hitting a split wide Marshawn Lynch on a 31-yard pass. Seattle’s fortune continued as Jermaine Kearse made a circus catch at the six that dropped jaws in University of Phoenix Stadium. And then, as Seattle appeared poised to win the game on the one-yard line, things fell apart as Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler dramatically picked off a slant over the middle with 20 seconds remaining.
The pass call so close to the goal line, with Marshawn Lynch running so well, likely haunts Pete Carroll and Seattle sports fans for years to come. New England sports fans gain a new hero in local lore in Malcolm Butler.
“I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play,” Butler explained after the game. He noted, “It all comes from preparation.”