Super Bowl XLIX: How Patriots match up vs. Seahawks
The Seahawks came back from a 16-0 deficit to beat the Packers in overtime Sunday, securing their second consecutive Super Bowl berth. New England had an easier time advancing, dismantling Andrew Luck and Indianapolis, 45-7, Sunday in Foxborough. It is the Patriots’ third Super Bowl appearance since the 2007 playoffs and their first since losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
Now, the Patriots will face the defending champions in Super Bowl XLIX, making it the teams’ first matchup in two years.
The last time they met
The game on Oct. 14, 2012, in Seattle ended in favor of the Seahawks, 24-23, and with Richard Sherman chasing Tom Brady off the field to get a word in. Brady threw two interceptions, one to Sherman and one to Earl Thomas. Sherman was jawing with the quarterback throughout the game.
“Every TV timeout, I went up and said it right to [Brady]: ‘Please keep trying me. I’m going to take it from you.’ That was when they were winning,” Sherman said after the game. “He just gave me that look and said, ‘Oh, I’ll see you after game.’ Well, I made sure I saw him after the game.”
Then Sherman tweeted this after the game, taunting the quarterback, before later deleting it.
He also said this of the Patriots at the time: “We’re built for a heavyweight fight. I don’t think they’re built for a heavyweight fight.”
Brady’s response: “I don’t think anything’s decided here in the sixth week of the year, or how capable you are of winning big games. That’s to be determined in January, and it’s only October, so we’re just going to keep trying to get better.”
Brady complimented the cornerback and defense the following week in a radio interview.
“He’s a very good player and I have a lot of respect for that defense and certainly that secondary,” Brady told Jim Gray on Dial Global Sports. “They play very well together. My dad taught me at a young age to play with class and respect and give my opponents respect, and certainly I have a lot of respect for the Seahawks.”
Neither team rushed for more than 100 yards — Seattle had 85 yards, New England had 87 — but Russell Wilson and Tom Brady combined to throw for 671 yards. But Wilson didn’t throw an interception to his three touchdown passes, though the Patriots ran 30 more plays (85) than the Seahawks (55).
Seahawks in the playoffs
Seattle, the No. 1 seed out of the NFC, won its two previous playoff games by a combined score of 59-39, averaging 372.5 yards of offense. Wilson and the offense were shut out in the first half against the Packers in the NFC Championship, and turned the ball over five times, including four interceptions by the former third-round pick.
Running back Marshawn Lynch was relatively quiet against the Panthers in the divisional round, held without a touchdown, before carrying the load for the Seahawks against the Packers, recording one touchdown and more than 150 yards.
The defense has allowed 334.0 yards in its two previous outings, including 133.5 yards a game on the ground. It held Carolina and Green Bay to a combined 12-of-30 on third down and sacked Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers seven times. After Sunday’s five-turnover outing, the Seahawks are at an even 0 turnover margin — Carolina committed three turnovers, Green Bay two — and Newton and Rodgers combined for 401 passing yards.
Patriots in the playoffs
Baltimore posed more of a challenge to New England in the divisional round than Indianapolis ever did in Sunday’s AFC Championship. The Patriots dominated time of possession against the Colts — 37:49 to 22:11 — but didn’t do so against the Ravens — 27:21 to 32:39. A big reason for that was the Patriots ground game, and LeGarrette Blount, coming alive in the AFC Championship.
Tom Brady completed 66.2 percent of his passes in the two wins for 628 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. Rob Gronkowski was held without a catch in the first half against the Colts, but has a combined 10 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense held Andrew Luck to just 126 yards, two interceptions, and no touchdowns, though Joe Flacco threw for 292 yards, four touchdowns, and two picks in the divisional round. The run defense clamped down, not allowing a run over 20 yards in either game, and was even more stout against Indianapolis Sunday. The Patriots haven’t recorded a postseason sack thus far, but have 11 passes defended, nine quarterback hits, and four interceptions.