Best & Worst of Seahawks vs. Patriots
WORST PREGAME DECISION: Seattle won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Patriots responded by driving 75 yards in nine plays on their first possession, capped by LeGarrette Blount’s 1-yard touchdown run.
BEST PIGGYBACK RIDE: Rob Gronkowski carried Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner several yards at the tail end of a 22-yard completion. That also was the 252nd pass the Patriots had thrown this season without an interception, an NFL record to start a season.
BEST EARLY HOMECOMING: Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, the pride of Needham, kicked a pair of field goals and booted all three kickoffs into the end zone in the first quarter alone.
WORST ATTEMPT TO MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: Tom Brady displayed some nifty moves to get away from the Seahawks pass rush. Brady then tried go for the home run pass to Malcolm Mitchell, but the throw was short and intercepted by DeShawn Shead.
BEST STICK: Earl Thomas had the opportunity, and he seized the moment. Tom Brady’s pass, intended for Rob Gronkowski, was tipped away by Kam Chancellor. As he was deflecting the ball away, Thomas laid the lumber to Gronkowski, knocking the Patriots tight end out of the game for several plays.
BEST DISPLAY OF POWER RUNNING: LeGarrette Blount refused to take no for an answer on the goal line. On first-and-goal from the 1, Blount was stopped at the line of scrimmage but kept on churning. He muscled through Ahtyba Rubin, Frank Clark and Bobby Wagner and into the end zone for a touchdown.
BEST TIME TO DISPLAY A PASS RUSH: The Patriots finally got to the elusive Russell Wilson late in the third quarter on back-to-back plays inside the 5. First it was Trey Flowers dropping the Seahawks quarterback for an 8-yard loss. One play later, Shea McClellin and Chris Long pressured Wilson into an intentional grounding, forcing them to settle for a 41-yard field goal.
WORST TIME TO GET MANHANDLED: With the Patriots facing a third-and-goal from the 7, left tackle Nate Solder couldn’t contain Frank Clark. The defensive end won the battle, dropping Tom Brady for a 7-yard loss back to the 12. Stephen Gostkowski salvaged the situation somewhat by kicking a 30-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 24-22 lead with 12:55 left in regulation.
WORST SITUATION TO GET ANTSY: The Seahawks were looking at a third down from just inside the Patriots 1 when Jimmy Graham messed up. The veteran tight end jumped offside, moving the ball back to the 5. As he did three times earlier in the game, Steven Hauschka bailed Seattle out, nailing a short field goal.
BEST HOMETOWN BOUNCE: Cyrus Jones returned a kickoff 45 yards but coughed the ball up. Fortunately for the Patriots, Nate Ebner was Johnny on the spot and recovered the fumble at the 43.
WORST GAMBLE: Leading 31-24 with 4:24 remaining, the Seahawks opted to go for two points, hoping to make it a two-possession game. Russell Wilson, however, could not connect with his favorite receiver, Doug Baldwin.