The New England Patriots did not play their best football, but they still had a shot to steal a win from the Seattle Seahawks: it all came down to one play from the 1-yard line with three seconds to go. The Patriots were unable to make it, and now fall to 1-1 on the season. With that being said, let’s recap an entertaining prime time battle between two of the best teams in the league.
Patriots (1-1) 30 : 35 Seahawks (2-0)
The Patriots started the game on defense after winning the coin toss, and immediately made a statement play. While the unit did allow one first down, safety Devin McCourty intercepted a tipped passing attempt by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on just the third play of the game — taking it back 43 yards for a touchdown. [Patriots 7 : 0 Seahawks]
While McCourty’s interception ended Seattle’s first drive rather quickly, the home team did show some solid rhythm on the very next possession: Wilson and company marched 75 yards in 13 plays against the Patriots’ zone defense behind a healthy mix of running and passing. The series ended with the first offensive score of the day when Wilson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett were able to beat Jason McCourty for a 4-yard scoring pass. [Patriots 7 : 7 Seahawks]
New England’s first offensive series also saw the team move the ball well. While the running game played a smaller role than it did last week, the passing game was on point: Cam Newton connected with Damiere Byrd twice — including on 3rd-and-7 for 14 yards — and also hit N’Keal Harry for 13 on 4th-and-3. The latter play saw Harry absorb a hard helmet-to-helmet hit but stay in the game. Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, on the other hand, was disqualified for unnecessary roughness.
The second quarter opened with Newton taking over. After taking the football to the 1-yard line on the first play, he scored on the next to give the Patriots the lead again — capping a 12-play, 72-yard series in perfect fashion. [Patriots 14 : 7 Seahawks]
While the Seahawks started the next drive at their own 43-yard line thanks to a 44-yard kickoff return, they were unable to take advantage of their solid field position. Two false start penalties put the team behind the sticks before Chase Winovich and Derek Rivers forced a punt by taking down Russell Wilson for a 2-yard loss on 3rd-and-3 at the New England 40.
The Patriots’ ensuing series, however, did not last long: after three plays and nine total yards, punter Jake Bailey had to come onto the field to kick the ball to Seattle again.
The ensuing possession did not last much longer, but ended a lot differently: on the fourth play of the series, Wilson connected with wide receiver DK Metcalf on a 54-yard touchdown pass. The second-year wide receiver was able to get behind Stephon Gilmore, and hold onto the football even as the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year was trying to knock the football loose again. [Patriots 14 : 14 Seahawks]
New England’s next drive looked more promising again. With Cam Newton and Rex Burkhead connecting twice for a combined 37 yards, the Patriots were able to drive into Seattle territory rather easily. However, the drive eventually stalled when Burkhead was tackled for a loss on a 3rd-and-8. To make matters worse, kicker Nick Folk was unable to make the ensuing 51-yard field goal attempt by missing it wide to the left.
Once again, however, Seattle failed to take advantage. While the team did hold the ball for nine plays and three-and-a-half minutes, it was unable to gain any substantial yardage — in part because of penalties, in part due to an 11-yard sack by Patriots linebacker Shilique Calhoun. The drive eventually ended with a punt before New England knelt out the half with under 30 seconds to go and the ball inside its own 2-yard line.
After deferring in the first half, the Patriots started the second with the football — and they produced a strong series. With the passing game taking on a more prominent role, including on successful third down passes to Julian Edelman and Jakobi Meyers, the team drove 68 yards in 12 plays to take the lead again: while Newton was tackled short of the end zone on a 3rd-and-goal rushing attack, Nick Folk’s 25-yard field goal was good and put New England up again. [Patriots 17 : 14 Seahawks]
The Seahawks answered the Patriots’ scoring drive with one of their own. In just six plays, Russell Wilson led his offense on a 75-yard march that ended with another deep touchdown pass. This time, David Moore was able to get the better of Jason McCourty on an outstanding 38-yard touchdown reception. [Patriots 17 : 21 Seahawks]
New England’s next series again started promising, with the team developing some rhythm in the passing game and getting top-three wideouts Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd involved. Byrd was also the intended target on the final play of the drive — one that ended with the game’s second turnover: Newton tried hitting his former Carolina teammate on a short out-route, but Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar undercut the route for an easy interception.
As opposed to previous drives starting in good field position, Seattle was able to capitalize this time around. The team marched 52 yards in just five plays after Newton’s interception, with the final 21 coming in the form of a touchdown pass from Wilson to rookie wide receiver Freddie Swain. [Patriots 17 : 28 Seahawks]
With time winding down in the third quarter, the Patriots needed to start moving the ball through the air and they did waste no time. The first play of the drive saw Newton and Edelman connect on a 49-yard deep pass, followed by a 16-yarder to Ryan Izzo to put the team into the red zone.
Following a Newton run to convert a 3rd-and-1, the first-year Patriot hooked up with fullback Jakob Johnson to bring New England within five points. [Patriots 23 : 28 Seahawks]
As well as New England moved the football during its touchdown drive, the team failed to find the same success on the ensuing two-point attempt: Newton tried to make his way into the end zone but was tackled almost immediately by Seahawks safety Jamal Adams.
After giving up touchdowns on each of its last two drives, the Patriots defense held Seattle to just three plays before the team had to punt the football again.
New England faired only marginally better on its next series, however. The team gained a first down when Newton and Damiere Byrd connected for a 20-yard gain on 3rd-and-10, but was unable to keep the drive alive when it faced another third down just three plays later: a pitch to Rex Burkhead on 3rd-and-4 resulted in a 4-yard loss and ultimately a punt.
With nine minutes left in the final period, the Patriots were still in a good situation despite having to kick the football away and trailing by five points. All they needed was another stop by one of the NFL’s best defenses — one it could not get: Wilson and company again marched down the field behind a healthy mix of passing and running, while also taking four-and-a-half minutes off the clock. The drive ended with yet another touchdown pass, Wilson’s fifth of the day. This time, he connected with running back Chris Carson from 18 yards out. [Patriots 23 : 35 Seahawks]
With time in short supply, the Patriots again drove down the field quickly: the team moved 75 yards in seven plays but took only 2:16 off the clock. While a 33-yard pass from Newton to Edelman was the biggest play of the series, the quarterback himself capped the drive with a 1-yard scoring run to bring his team into one-score territory again. [Patriots 30 : 35 Seahawks]
The Patriots defense had its issues all night long, but when it needed a stop it delivered: the Seahawks were able to burn just 30 seconds off the clock after Newton’s touchdown, going three-and-out and punting the ball back to New England.
With 1:42 left in the game and starting at its own 19-yard line, the Patriots offense delivered another strong series. Cam Newton carrying the football as well as passes to Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry put the team in a position to take the lead on the final play of the day: after a 12-yard catch by Harry New England up on the 1-yard line, the team’s jumbo package failed to generate enough of a push to get Newton across the goal line.