The New England Patriots were the team to beat – and technically still are – but the Seattle Seahawks knocked them down a peg.
The Seahawks won the game fair and square, but much of the 31-24 result is attributable to New England losing the game. Don’t think too far into that last sentence. There were multiple opportunities for the Patriots to take the game and start to control the momentum, but they ultimately failed.
In a rematch of Super Bowl XLIX, it was the Seahawks who held strong on the goal line to beat the Patriots 31-24. pic.twitter.com/tAZxG66AXD
— ESPN (@espn) November 14, 2016
Tom Brady had a great game relative to the average NFL quarterback, but an awful game relative to the average 2016 Tom Brady. Sure, he threw for 316 yards on 23/32 attempts, but he also threw an interception and no touchdowns. Brady plays to win, and by Brady standards he didn’t play Sunday. Overall, Brady moved the ball fairly well but LeGarrette Blount carried the NFL offense with 3 TDs when needed.
Russell Wilson, on the other hand, threw for 348 yards on 25/37 attempts and 3 TDs and 0 interceptions. Doug Baldwin just managed to be in the right place at the right time and catch some impressive throws for 3 TDs. The Wilson-Baldwin connection heated up and hopefully for the Seahawks that continues.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) November 14, 2016
For example, Pete Carroll’s ballsy decision to go for two after Seattle’s final touchdown could have gone down in history as another poor offensive blunder comparable to their decision to not run the ball at the 1-yard line at Super Bowl XLIX, albeit far less costly.
This mistake was coincidentally against the New England Patriots, handing them the championship.
— Finish Line (@FinishLine) November 14, 2016
Back into focus, the Patriots were put within one touchdown and managed to take the ball to the Seahawks goal-line, yet were unable to turn their aggressive last-minute attempts into a touchdown. It was partially due to the Seahawks’ defense, but this was not the fired-up Patriots offense that we’re used to glorifying.
Seahawks dump an L on the Patriots! https://t.co/AKLDk4BP1h
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 14, 2016
The game ended on what was yet another controversial Seattle ref call (or no-call) for pass interference against Rob Gronkowski in the endzone.
It always seems that the Seahawks end up getting the good side of the refereeing, most notably when the Falcons were robbed of a victory against them in Week 6. There was also a lot of speculation that the Patriots are still susceptible to commissioner Roger Goodell’s wrath since they managed to go 3-1 during Tom Brady’s ‘Deflate-gate’ ban and then crush every other team like usual business.
Those theories are conspiratorial at best, and from the looks of the play the refs were more right than they were wrong. Resetting the Patriots for a couple more offensive plays would easily send the game into overtime, and Seattle would have been cheated.
At the end of the day, Seattle got some light-hearted revenge after gifting the Patriots victory at Super Bowl XLIX. You can be sure 65-year-old Pete Carroll went into that locker room jumping for joy, but as significant as beating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium is, it’s no Super Bowl.
Not only did Seattle upset the best team in the NFL, they did it in the Patriots’ backyard. If there is a team in the NFL that could beat the Patriots, it was the Seattle Seahawks. They are now 6-2-1, and will continue their rampage on the Northeast against the Philadelphia Eagles next week.
The Patriots will get to blow off some steam against the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday. New England is going to give Colin Kaepernick the butt-whooping of the week, and then will move on to very winnable games against the Jets, Rams, Ravens, Broncos, Jets again, and Dolphins. I expect them to go undefeated for this string of games, with maybe an upset at Denver and Miami.
After hosting Philly, the Seahawks move on to the Buccaneers, Panthers, Packers and Rams – a run of fixtures that could put them on course for a Super Bowl rematch with the Pats in February.