Grading the Game: Seahawks’ goal-line interception overshadows solid performances vs. Patriots
If it was the most stunning win in Seattle history that got them to the Super Bowl, it’s the most shocking loss in Seattle history that cost them. A yard away from a second straight Super Bowl title, Russell Wilson threw one of the most inexplicable interceptions in NFL history.
Seattle Times staff reporter
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The most stunning victory in Seahawks’ history got them to the Super Bowl.
The most shocking defeat in Seahawks’ history cost them the trophy.
A yard away from a second consecutive Super Bowl title, Russell Wilson threw one of the most inexplicable interceptions in NFL history, an attempted pass to Ricardo Lockette that was picked off by Malcolm Butler at the goal line.
That allowed the Patriots to take a 28-24 victory and send the Seahawks into a long, tough offseason filled with second-guessing.
For now, a few quick grades:
The final interception changes the perception of everything.
Until then, Wilson was poised to pull off one of the bigger comebacks in Super Bowl history and potentially earn MVP honors.
Wilson and the entire Seattle passing game again started slowly.
Wilson didn’t throw a pass in the first quarter and didn’t have his first completion until less than six minutes were left in the first half. But as he’s often done, once he got going he heated up quickly, finishing the first half 4 for 7 for 84 yards and a passer rating of 139.3.
He led two more scoring drives to start the second half, when Seattle seemed on the verge of a rout.
As for the final play, Seattle coaches said Wilson could not have audibled out of the final play, and also said Wilson threw it to the best spot. It’s the call more than the execution that figures to go down in infamy.
Marshawn Lynch had another great day and everyone forever will wonder why he didn’t get the ball from the 1-yard line.
Lynch finished with 102 yards and 4.3 yards per carry and also had the 31-yard catch to spark the ill-fated final drive.
Robert Turbin excelled in his usual role as the tailback in Seattle’s two-minute offense.
Ultimately one of the most memorable days in team history with Chris Matthews’ early heroics and Jermaine Kearse’s late amazing catch.
But it went for naught due to the final interception. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Lockette could have fought harder for the ball.
Matthews had a big first half but was quieter in the second when the Patriots put Brandon Browner on him. And Kearse also had a drop that killed a drive at a time when Seattle seemed ready to run away with it.
The protection was solid for most of the game, with a couple of Wilson’s sacks coming when he had time but couldn’t find anyone open.
Seattle, though, had trouble in a few short-yardage situations, notably when Lynch was stuffed on a third-and-one on the first possession of the third quarter.
Still, Seattle averaged 5.6 yards per rush and had 162 yards on the ground.
Had Seattle won, everyone would be singing the praises of Michael Bennett, who was a dominating presence throughout and finished with four quarterback hits. One helped force Tom Brady’s first interception in the end zone.
Kevin Williams and Tony McDaniel also had nice games against the run as the Patriots rushed for just 57 overall and 2.9 per carry.
Defensive end Cliff Avril left with a concussion in the third quarter, though, and that might have caught up to the Seahawks as the pass rush seemed to disappear late.
It’ll be forgotten that Seattle gave up 28 points and four touchdown passes, with the Seattle linebackers getting beaten on a few key pass plays.
Most notable, K.J. Wright was beaten for a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski in the first half as the Patriots appeared to try to exploit the times he got matched up against linebackers.
This wasn’t the best day for the Legion of Boom as Brady completed a Super Bowl record 37 passes out of 50 attempts for 328 yards and four touchdowns. Injuries might have played a role as Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas were all banged up.
For most of the game, fairly uneventful with lots of fair catches and touchbacks. Jon Ryan had a 39-yard punt to give the Patriots the ball at their own 36 with 6:52 to play.