Oct. 17, 2004.
That is the last time the New England Patriots hosted the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium.
A 27-year-old Tom Brady went 19-of-30 passing for 231 yards, a touchdown to David Patten and an interception to Seattle linebacker Michael Boulware that day. Corey Dillon, meanwhile, led New England’s ground game with 23 carries for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And on the defensive side of the ball, eventual Patriots Hall of Famers in Willie McGinest and Ty Law both picked off Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who threw for 349 yards on 50 attempts and was sacked twice.
The encounter went down to the wire.
As the Patriots held a 20-9 lead to open the final frame, Brady scrambled across the line of scrimmage and was met six yards downfield by Boulware. The result of the impact jarred the ball – as well as Brady’s helmet – loose for Seahawks defensive tackle Rocky Bernard to recover.
“That was disappointing because I had the first down,” Brady told reporters afterwards. “I was fine, not much in that head to rattle around.”
Seattle rattled off 11 unanswered points from there, ultimately cutting the game to 23-20 with under three minutes remaining. But the Patriots would soon answer as Brady hit a diving Bethel Johnson on a third-and-7 rollout.
The catch would be the first and only one of the day for Johnson, a speedy 2003 second-round pick from Texas A&M who’d been inactive the week prior.
It gained 48 yards.
“He made a great catch,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in his postgame press conference. “That was a huge play. It changed field position and put us in position to run the clock out.”
Dillon ran in from nine yards out only two plays later. The veteran running back’s second TD of the day turned the three-point lead into a 10-point one with just over a minute remaining.
Seattle would counter with a 12-play drive. The effort, though, ended without points as the fourth quarter reached triple zeros. And in turn, the game hit the books as a 30-20 victory for the Patriots, who improved to 5-0 and notched their 20th consecutive victory on their journey to Super Bowl XXXIX.
The likes of Dan Klecko and Rabih Abdullah were among the eight Patriots to catch passes from Brady that afternoon. Koren Robinson, meanwhile, led the Seahawks through the air with 150 yards on nine receptions, and future NFL MVP Shaun Alexander got into the end zone and collected 77 yards on 16 carries.
Needless to say it’s been a while since Seattle – a team that’s faced the Patriots three times since 2004, including Super Bowl XLIX – headed to Foxborough.
This Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET will mark the next time. Twelve years removed the last.