Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
MISSISSIPPI NATIVE SEALS IT
Two plays after being the victim of one of the craziest catches in NFL history, undrafted rookie Malcom Butler got his redemption.
With 26 seconds left on the clock, the Vicksburg, Mississippi, native jumped in front Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette to intercept Russell Wilson’s pass, clinching a 28-24 win for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots came back in the fourth quarter after trailing 24-14 to score 14 unanswered points. The Super Bowl XLIX victory now gives Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their fourth Super Bowl ring.
With the win, Brady, who was also named Super Bowl MVP for the third time, tied Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to hoist the Lombardi Trophy four times.
Despite throwing two interceptions, Brady led the Patriots throughout the game, throwing for 328 yards and four touchdowns. Four Patriots’ receivers, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell each caught one touchdown.
Much was made about the Seahawks’ defense and the vaunted Legion of Boom before the game, but the Patriots devised a brilliant game plan to consistently find the holes in the defense. Most of the game, Edelman and Amendola ran option routes that dictated where they would run based on the Seattle defense.
Despite boasting the presumptive best secondary, the Seahawks were exploited time and time again over the middle and in the flats, avoiding Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell. The fourth member of the Legion of Boom, Kam Chancellor, was consistently attacked and abused by the Patriots offense, mainly by Gronkowski.
Seahawks receiver Chris Matthews came into the game without a single reception in the NFL, but lit up the Patriots to the tune of 109 yards on four catches and a touchdown.
However, no other Seattle receiver had more than 59 receiving yards or more than three catches. On Super Bowl Sunday, it was the Patriots secondary that won the game.
The Patriots got on the board first with LaFell catching an 11-yard strike from Brady with just under ten minutes to play in the first half. Seattle responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch right before the two minute warning.
But Brady answered right back, orchestrating a masterful drive. The Patriots went 80 yards in under two minutes, capped off by a 22-yard touchdown grab by Gronkowski, giving the Patriots a 14-7 lead that they expected to take into halftime.
But Russell Wilson was not to be outdone. He led the Seahawks on an 80-yard touchdown drive of its own that only took 29 seconds. The score knotted up at 14-14 heading into the half.
While the game will go down as one of the most exhilarating Super Bowls in NFL history, Katy Perry’s halftime show will go down with the same fate. She performed with Lenny Kravitz as expected, but gave the crowd a surprise when Missy Elliot came out of hiding to perform by her side.
After receiving the kickoff following halftime, the Seahawks took the lead for the first time in the game with a Stephen Hauschka 27-yard field goal. Brady was intercepted on the Patriots’ ensuing drive and it gave Wilson and the Seahawks excellent field position with a chance to take control of the game.
That is exactly what they did as Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a crossing route, leaving Darrelle Revis behind, for a 3-yard score to give the Seahawks a 24-14 lead with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
After each offense had their next two possessions result in punts, Brady went to work and took over the game. Facing a 2nd down and goal, he found Amendola in the back of the end zone to pull within three points, with 7:54 remaining.
The New England defense forced the Seahawks to punt on the ensuing drive, giving Brady ample enough time to orchestrate one of his patented game-winning drives, trailing just 24-21.
And of course, he delivered with a Brady-esque performance. He completed all eight of his passes for 65 yards on the drive with his final attempt finding Edelman in the end zone to give the Patriots the 28-24 lead. Edelman beat Seattle cornerback Tharold Simon on a picture perfect whip route that left him all alone, giving Brady the easiest clutch throw of his career.
But Seattle got one last chance as they got the ball back with 2:02 on the clock and 80 yards to go. After converting on a 3rd and 10, Wilson launched the ball deep down the right sideline, but Butler made a great leaping play to bat the ball out of Jermaine Kearse’s hands.
However, the ball happened to hit Kearse in the leg on the way down (as he was laying on the ground) and bounce right into his arms for a 33-yard completion. After a 4-yard run by Lynch, the Seahawks faced 2nd and goal from the New England 1-yard line and a chance to win the game.
Then Butler got his redemption, sealing the game.
The ending of the game was marred by an immature brawl that ensued after Brady kneeled to run out the clock. Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was ejected for instigating the fight by charging at Gronkowski with bad intentions.
Super Bowl XLIX will definitely go down as one of the most exciting and intense games in NFL history and cemented the Brady-Belichick legacy.