SEATTLE — Cam Newton tried desperately to flip Russell Wilson’s script, but in the end, he got flipped upside down Sunday night.
The Patriots quarterback was upended for a 1-yard loss with no time left as New England’s comeback bid fell just short, with the Seahawks hanging on for 35-30 win in the latest edition of what has become one of the league’s great interconference rivalries.
Newton completions to Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry set New England up at the 1-yard line with three ticks left.
With their jumbo package in, Newton went off left tackle but was submarined by L.J. Collier, ending the Patriots' furious comeback.
"It was a heck of a game,'' said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We did a lot of things well, Seattle was just a little bit better, and deserved to win.''
It doesn’t really matter when, where, or what the stakes are when Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll get their football clubs together, it’s bound to be an instant classic.
With the smoke from the West Coast wildfires cleared out in the Emerald City, Wilson and Newton came out smoldering.
The Seahawks quarterback was at his wizardry best, proving once again that even when there’s no fans in the stands, there’s no place like home for this club.
Wilson threw five touchdown passes, two that flew higher than your average wicked witch on a broom, as Seattle won its 12th straight home opener.
"I’m glad we only have to play him every four years,'' said Belichick. "He’s hard to defend and he hurt us in every way possible tonight.''
Newton, however, nearly spoiled party after it appeared the Patriots were out of it, trailing, 35-23, with 4:32 to go after Wilson’s final scoring strike.
The Patriots, playing with heavy hearts after hearing the news of the death of James White’s father in a Florida car accident, showed great resiliency after falling behind by two scores.
Newton threw for 397 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 47 yards, but more importantly, showed great leadership and decision making, especially in crunch time.
Edelman caught eight passes for a career-high 179 yards, including several clutch catches over the final two drives of the game.
"What a great football player he is,'' said Carroll, shaking his head.
After an early hiccup, Wilson started sizzling, consistently willing his way out of tight spots and launching his gorgeous spirals downfield.
The New England defense, for its part, was doing yeoman’s work in this port city, but as sure as there’s a Starbucks on every corner from Pike Place to Belltown, Wilson was omnipresent, making play after play.
Things started perfectly on the field for the visitors when Devin McCourty returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown for quick 7-0 lead.
Wilson’s throw was a tad high and tipped off the fingers of tight end Greg Olsen — who was never targeted again — before floating into McCourty’s waiting arms and the safety flew untouched into the end zone with a convoy of teammates in tow.
McCourty looked right into the end zone camera and yelled, “2-8 we love you, bro!” to White, his fellow captain.
Wilson regrouped his troops in short order and orchestrated a methodical march in response, hitting Tyler Lockett with a 4-yard bullet to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
Wilson kept the drive alive with one of his patented scrambles, picking up 21 yards when the Patriots secondary had his receivers on lockdown.
The nine-year veteran is a master a demoralizing defenses and with his magical escape acts and this drive was a prime example.
Newton put together a nice response, driving the Patriots 72 yards in a dozen plays, culminating in a 1-yard scoring run by the quarterback.
The drive was highlighted by the best catch of Harry’s career.
On a fourth third and 3, Harry ran a quick slant and caught Newton’s laser before he took a crunching helmet-to-helmet hit from Quandre Diggs. The Seattle safety was penalized and ejected for targeting.
Three plays later Newton waltzed into the end zone before striking his well-known Superman pose.
New England’s defense fed off the momentum and stopped Wilson and the Seahawks on the ensuing drive. The march ended quickly as Seattle was called for a pair of false starts before Derek Rivers and Kyle Dugger combined to sack Wilson on third down.
Seattle tied the game at 14 and again it was a little Wilson wizardry that keyed it.
Labeled the best deep ball thrower in the league by Bill Belichick last week, Wilson proved it, dropping a 54-yard pass perfectly into D.K. Metcalf’s pocket. Gilmore had exquisite coverage on the play and even got a hand in there, but it was just too good a throw.
Another lengthy New England drive stalled, and it was unable to regain the lead when Nick Folk’s 51-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
The Patriot defense stiffened around Wilson on the ensuing drive with Shilique Calhoun dropping the quarterback for an 11-yard sack to end it.
New England took its third lead of the game right out of the second-half gates when it ground out a 68-yard drive on 13 plays, capped by Folk’s 25-yard field for a 17-14 edge.
The Seahawks owned the rest of the quarter.
Wilson again showed off his incredible downfield mastery, connecting with David Moore on a 38-yard touchdown toss.
The pass was good. The catch was better.
Despite being draped by Jason McCourty, Moore rose up, caught the ball, and tapped both feet in before taking out the pylon on his way down.
Newton looked to respond and completed passes to Edelman, Harry, and Damiere Byrd before a second attempt to Byrd was snatched by corner Quinton Dunbar, who dropped a surefire pick-6 in the first half.
Wilson made it really hurt when he drove his club 52 yards in five plays, hitting Freddie Swain for a 21-yard touchdown and a 28-17 lead after three quarters.
Newton’s first TD pass as Patriot to Jakob Johnson brought the Patriots to 28-23, before Wilson hit Chris Carson for his fifth TD of the night.
Newton’s second 1-yard closed the gap to 35-30 and a three-and-out by the Patriots defense set the stage for the final drive that came up just short.
"I could have made it right by bouncing it [outside] . . . just thinking too much,'' said Newton. "The play was there. The play was there all game.''