Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
So maybe the commercials were down a bit this year and the halftime show didn’t rock quite as hard as some of the better ones, but for once the game lived up to all the expectations. You had momentum swings, rallies, comebacks, unlikely heroes, and capped the evening with a colossally controversial play call and a brawl. In the end the Patriots walked away with a fourth ring and the Seahawks were left at the altar in much the same way they stranded the Packers there in the NFC championship game a fortnight ago.
Extra points: Tom Brady (37-50-328-4-2) managed to throw 50 passes and yet still avoid challenging Richard Sherman. Working the edges of the field with precision, Brady leaned heavily on Julian Edelman (9-109-1) and Shane Vereen (11-64, 4-13 rushing), with only occasional contributions from Rob Gronkowski (6-68-1), Danny Amendola (5-48-1), and Brandon LaFell (4-29-1). Perhaps the most surprising contribution (or lack thereof) came from LeGarrette Blount (14-40), as the Patriots’ offense again rested squarely on Brady’s arm. And, despite the early picks, once again when the spotlight was brightest Brady delivered the goods.
Blount’s under contract for next season, unlike Vereen (or Stevan Ridley), but even if the Patriots let both walk they’ll find another alternative—James White, perhaps? The receiving corps still lacks sex appeal, but Edelman remains a PPR monster and LaFell a TD-heavy value contributor. And Gronk is… well, Gronk. So long as Brady is running the show, there’s plenty of fantasy value on the New England roster; the trick is knowing where to find it week-to-week.
For the first 59 minutes the story of the offense was Marshawn Lynch (24-102-1), who was almost single-handedly carrying the Seattle offense. Then, of course, the misguided decision on second-and-goal with the Seahawks three feet from a repeat to eschew Beast Mode and throw the football. Granted, it took a great defensive play by the Patriots but as the immortal Woody Hayes said, when you throw the football only three things can happen and two of them are bad. It was essentially the only mistake Russell Wilson (12-21-247-2-1, 3-39 rushing) made all game, but it was a doozy. Wilson benefitted from the emergence of Chris Matthews (4-109-1), who as you may have heard during the broadcast was working in a Foot Locker when the Seahawks gave him a call. Matthews’ contributions were key, as Doug Baldwin (1-3-1) was virtually nonexistent and Jermaine Kearse (3-45) offset a serious case of the dropsies with one amazing on-his-back catch that very nearly joined that of David Tyree in NFL lore.
Word broke during Super Bowl week that the Seahawks were about to offer Lynch a contract extension. His value to the team is obvious, which should scuttle the release or retirement talk, but it also begs the question: if he’s that valuable, why not give him the football with the title on the line? Seattle also can’t bank on Mathews—who was the top offensive rookie in the CFL a couple seasons ago, so he didn’t exactly come out of nowhere—as the solution for their devoid-of-star-power receiving corps. Expect that need to be addressed in the offseason, a move that can only help Wilson more consistently deliver on his fantasy potential.