Second and goal from the one yard-line, 26 seconds remain, Seahawks, down 28-24. Every football player, or former player, dreams about the moment you drive down the field, needing a touchdown to win the game. Before we get to that point, we need to discuss the drama that led up to this moment.
In the first quarter it looked like a low scoring affair as nobody could put points on the board. 0-0 at the end of the first. In the second quarter the Patriots received a punt with 13:57 left in the quarter. They Staged a 9 play, 65 yard drive and scored the games first points by way of a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Brandon LaFell for an 11 yard score. 7-0.
The Seahawks would punt, then force the Patriots to punt. Seattle would come back with a eight play, 70 yard drive that took 4:51 off the clock. The drive ended when Marshawn Lynch ran it in from three yards out and it was all tied up at 7.
The Patriots got the ball with 2:16 left until the half. First play of the drive, Brady hits wide receiver Danny Amendola for an 11 yard gain. After the two minute warning, Legarrette Blount took a hand off for 9 yards and the Patriots were dealing. The drive ended in a New England touchdown after Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 22 yard touchdown. 14-7 New England.
The Seahawks would get the ball with 31 seconds left in the half. After a 19 yard run by running back Robert Turbin, they call a time out. Later in the drive, Wilson hits wide reciever Ricardo Lockette deep to the left for a 23 yard gain, and set Seattle up at the 11 yardline with just 6 seconds until half. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll would make the first big decision of the game. Six seconds is enough time to run about one play, and if it doesn’t last six seconds, it’ll be close. After both teams call a timeout, he sends Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense onto the field and is going for the touchdown to tie the game up at 14 before half. Russell Wilson drops back, looks to the left, and that’s where he delivers a perfectly placed ball to widereciever Chris Matthews for an eleven yard score to end the half. And for just the third time in NFL history, the Super Bowl was tied up at the half.
After the smoke cleared from all of Katy Perry’s fireworks (and a shark that didn’t know what was happening), Seattle recieved the second half kickoff and drove 7 plays, 72 yards for a drive that ended in a field goal. Even though it was only a field goal, you could feel the momentum start to switch towards Seattle’s side. And that it did after the next Patriots possession ended with Brady’s second interception of the game after six plays. The Seahawks capitalized on the opportunity when Russell Wilson hits widereciever Doug Baldwin for a three yard touchdown. After the third quarter, the Seahawks were 15 minutes away from repeating as Super Bowl champions, 24-14.
The first score of the final quarter of the NFL season came from Tom Brady and the Patriots, as they drove 9 plays, 68 yards and Brady found Amendola for a touchdown. 24-21. After a Seattle punt, the Patriots looked to take control of the game. Down by three, the Patriots showed the will of a champion. 10 plays later, Brady found Julian Edelman for a three yard score with just 2:02 remaining. Russell Wilson would have the chance to immortalize himself, that of those who have drove down the field to score a game winning touchdown. Terry Bradhsaw, Joe Montana, Tom Brady (twice), Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
First play on the drive to immortality, Wilson hits Marshawn Lynch on a wheel route and Lynch stumbles down to the the 49 yardline. The next two passes were incomplete. But what followed would have fans stunned and jaw dropping moments. After an eleven yard gain, Wilson throws a pass to Jermaine Kearse, after it was tipped by a Patriot defender, Kearse fell to the ground, hits off his leg, and bobbles it 4 times before reeling in a catch that has football fans asking, Odell who? Ball at the 5 , handoff to Lynch, who gets down to the 1 yard-line. So here we are, second and goal from the one yard-line, 26 seconds remain, Seahawks, down 28-24. Every football player, or former player, dreams about the moment you drive down the field, needing a touchdown to win the game. The Patriots look to be playing the run, Lynch, who is by many, declared the best back in football. Wilson drops back looks right, where Ricardo Lockette is running a quick slant to the right, 9 times out of 10 this play ends in a touchdown. Unfortunately, this was the 10th time. Undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler steps in front of the pass and picks it off. Just like that, Season, game, Super Bowl, over. The Patriots win, 28-24.
To all those who say it was a stupid decision, you might or might not watch a lot of football, but that play works 9 times out 10. It was just the one time it didn’t. Pete Carroll had my favorite quote after the game, “I can take a punch to the mouth.” And with that, Seattle is already the favorites to win the super bowl next year.