And just like that, it was over. The Super Bowl and the 2014 NFL season. Over. And not all in the way expected mere seconds before...
A few days later and I'm still trying to understand what the hell happened!
First things first: this was probably the best Super Bowl since 2000 (when the Rams stopped the Titans' last, desperate lunge to the end zone) was over, ending in completely the opposite fashion of how it looked just one play before.
[Aside: That clip makes me <<sigh>> for poor Steve McNair. RIP]
After some shoddy first quarter play, the Seattle Seahawks had finally taken control of the game, 24-14, heading into the fourth quarter. At that point, I thought the game was over. Michael Bennett had completely taken over the line of scrimmage and the Patriots had no answer for him.
With 12:10 showing on the clock, the Patriots stepped up, 1st-and-10 and promptly gave up a sack. Fast forward two plays later, 3rd-and-14 at their own 28, and Brady comes up with the miracle first down to Julian Edelman for 21 yards. Six plays and a TD later, Brady and the Patriots had cut the lead to a mere three points, with Seattle getting the ball back with less than eight minutes to go.
One solid, long drive to pretty much put it away was all that Seattle needed. Instead, Seattle goes three-and-out. To be fair, on first down, on a throw to Ricardo Lockett, it appears as though the Patriots defender tripped and, from the ground, blatantly reached out and tripped Lockett, preventing him from making a catch (which would have been a first down) and definitely would have been better for stemming the Patriots growing momentum than the three-and-out did.
Patriots get the ball back and, for the second drive in a row, promptly drive down the field again, scoring another touchdown with a mere 2:01 to play.
[It should be noted that early in the game, Seattle CB Jeremy Lane intercepted Brady as the Patriots were driving but on the ensuing run-back was injured and lost for the game -- broke both bones in his wrist -- his absence was felt the entire game and Brady and the Patriots absolutely abused his replacement, Tharold Simon]
On the ensuing kickoff, the Patriots made their first mistake: kicking into the end zone for a touchback, therefore preserving the two minute warning for Seattle, who was down to one timeout.
First play, a beautiful 30-ish yard wheel route pass play from Wilson to #BeastMode. Then an incomplete pass and a four-yard run leaving 3-and-6. Then this:
I guess one question I have about this catch is: how was this any different than the Dez Bryant non-catch in Green Bay in the Divisional Round? I mean, no doubt Dez was bobbling control but the end result was the same as this one -- securely in Bryant's control/possession, having never touched the ground throughout the "process".
Anyway, so this catch set up the Seattle 1-and-goal from the 6, leading to a four-yard #BeastMode rush to inside the one yard line with a little over a minute left.
At this point, probably everyone in the world, including Tom Brady and the Grumble Lord himself, believed that the Patriots would once again fall victim to an insane, unbelievable catch to fall just short in yet another Super Bowl.
I mean in that situation, 2-and-goal, and needing only a few feet to win a second consecutive Super Bowl, you immediately pound #BeastMode, right? And if he doesn't make it, you take your last timeout and try it again, right?
[FWIW, Belichick also made a HUGE error by not calling one of his timeouts immediately after Lynch's first down run. Had he used that timeout, and Lynch scored on the next play, Brady would have had about 50 seconds to get them down to FG range for a tying FG attempt. Very doable for this offense. As it was, by not taking this timeout, Belichick was essentially conceding that Seattle would score and win or not.]
Well instead of #BeastMode leading them to victory in the most perfect way imaginable, we got this gem:
A slant, into the middle of an already condensed field? WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!
Carroll's post-game explanation was basically this: we had a three-WR package in there and they had their goal line defense in so it wasn't a good package for running. We were going to throw the ball and if we scored, great, if not, it will be incomplete, stopping the clock, and we'll run on 3rd and 4th.
Okay, okay. I will say that passing in that situation isn't ipso facto bad but that PARTICULAR pass play was awful. Even if you are going to pass, how about some play action? Or a read option look? Or even a less risky fade to the very corner? The play they ran was already very risky from the beginning, compounded by Lockett not stepping to the ball and Wilson throwing too late and not hard enough = interception by previous no-name/undrafted-rookie-FA Malcolm Butler.
Charm-Slinger = humbled.
The legacies of Brady/Belichick as among the best ever -- if not THE best ever -- at their respective jobs = cemented.
Other Super Bowl Notes:
- Idina Manzel did perfectly fine singing the National Anthem and covered the OVER.
- The double-shot of America the Beautiful followed by the Anthem continues to be unnecessary whenever employed.
- John Legend and Chrissy Tiegan are officially #OVEREXPOSED though that won't prevent me from posting a Yes and Please! picture of the latter!
- The commercials were completely underwhelming, with the general theme of the night's ads trending towards serious, dour, depressing even, instead of what they should be -- you know, funny and/or clever.
- There's a new Carl's Jr. ad girl -- Charlotte McKinney -- and she is a future Yes and Please! Hall of Famer for sure! She's got the same great "assets" of Kate Upton but in a smaller overall package!
- The MVP was, of course, Brady. He now owns all sorts of records for passing in Super Bowls, most of which likely to ever be broken.
- Doug Baldwin scored Seattle's first TD and apparently, in celebration, he committed a DISGUSTING ACT! He spun the ball on the ground, waiting a second, then squatted over it as though pooping on the ball. NBC didn't even show it!!! Predictably, this led to a 15-yard penalty which IS stupid (though penalizing celebrations is even more so) but the type of people who are all up-in-arms about it -- the Peter Kings, and Mike and Mikes of the world come to mind most prominently -- leads me to believe that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it!
- Gronk was pretty unstoppable.
- As was Edelman, though that had to do more with game plan and some uncharacteristically below-average tackling by Seattle on some plays.
- The NFL Honors awards show continues to be dumb and unnecessary in its 4th year, especially without the Super Bowl participants! That said, Seth Meyers did get off one really good zing at Goddell's expense during his opening monologue.
- The halftime show -- headlined by Katy Perry and featuring about 20 seconds of Lenny Kravitz PLUS Missy Elliot (huh?) -- was pretty bland but did have the dancing sharks that have gone completely viral.
- The five modern-era Hall of Famers are: Tim Brown, Jerome Bettis, Junior Seau (RIP), Charles Haley and Will Shields. Still means Marvin Harrison gets left out despite being (to me anyway) better than Tim Brown. I guess HOF voters get to be judge and jury regarding crimes that were never charged, right?