The Patriots fought hard on Sunday night and despite falling behind battled back and came up a yard short in a 35-30 loss to the Seahawks out in Seattle. Here are some thoughts coming off of this one.
1) These match-ups have been unbelievable between these two clubs over the years, with last night’s game being the third straight time where the match-up came down to just one yard. Including Sunday night, it’s been the Patriots who have been on the wrong end of things in those match-ups, although they won the won that mattered. As every Patriots fan remembers, the Seahawks found themselves at the one yard line in one of the most historic moments in Super Bowl history and turned it over when Malcolm Butler pullled off the miracle in Super Bowl XLIX back in 2015. The Patriots merely fell short in two regular season meetings, with last night being the second straight time where Seattle escaped with the win.
Going back to their next meeting, which came during the regular season back in 2016 at Gillette Stadium, the two teams went back and forth all night, with the Patriots battling back after falling behind 31-24 with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. Tom Brady marched them down the field after hitting Malcolm Mitchell, Julian Edelman and ultimately Rob Gronkowski before they ended up within one-yard of pulling off the comeback. Brady tried to connect with Gronk on their final play, but the ball fell to the turf and the comeback bid fell short.
That was a tough night, as some might remember that the veteran tight end reportedly suffered a possible punctured lung, which happened on an earlier play where Seattle defensive back Earl Thomas absolutely drilled him with just over four minutes left in the second quarter. Gronkowski showed his toughness and played on, missing just 10 of 67 snaps while making some key plays down the stretch.
“That was a big hit for sure; probably one of the hardest I’ve got hit in my career,” said Gronkowski after the game. “[It was] by a good player; a good fast player who’s like a missile. It was a good, clean hit. Nothing against it.”
Fast-forward to last night and it’s just crazy that it came down to just one yard yet again in their third straight meeting. This time, it was Cam Newton who couldn’t quite finish the comeback bid after getting upended on the final play of the game for a 1-yard loss. Newton did about all he could, throwing for nearly 400-yards as both clubs went blow for blow but it was Seattle who again came away with the victory.
2) Speaking of Newton, this game gave us a glimpse of the fact that it’s not just his legs that make him dangerous. He proved Sunday night that he certainly has the ability to keep the team in the game with his arm. He completed 30-of-44 for 397-yards and a touchdown, including a perfect 6-of-6 on third down. His lone miscue of the night was an interception in the third quarter where he threw a bit too far inside on a sideline throw and was picked off. That ended up being the difference because Russell Wilson took Seattle down the field and scored on the ensuing drive.
It’s tough. As good as Newton was, he needed to be absolutely perfect because Wilson ultimately was. The Seahawks QB made his one mistake in the first series of the game, which saw him get picked off thanks to the football glancing off his receiver’s hands into the alert arms of Devin McCourty. McCourty took the ball 43-yards the other way for the touchdown and gave the Patriots the early 7-0 lead.
But Wilson was flawless from there. He missed just 7 passes all night and finished 21-of-28 for 288-yards and 5 touchdowns. He was so good that the Seahawks didn’t face a third down once during the third quarter, and faced just three in the final quarter as Seattle scored three touchdowns in the second half.
Yet, Newton did about as much as anyone could have hoped. Despite the interception, he was 23-of-33 (70%) for 312-yards and a touchdown in the final two quarters, including 4-of-6 in the red zone. It was Edelman and N’Keal Harry who carried much of the load for New England as they kept fighting back, with Edelman catching 171 of his 176 yards over that span. Newton saw his number get called on the final play of the game but was upended for a 1-yard loss, which kept them from finishing off what would have been an unbelievable road win. Still, he deserves credit for a solid effort on a night where he faced an opposing QB who simply made a few more plays.
Either way, anyone who had doubts about Newton got a glimpse of what he’s capable of. With quite a bit of football left to be played, it’s definitely something for him to build off of.
Despite the loss, Newton did everything he could Sunday night.
3) After last week’s outing, N’Keal Harry was in need of a good performance to help put his fumble behind him and he certainly came up with one.
Harry finished the night with 8 receptions for 72-yards, including receptions of 13, 17 and 12 yards on the final drive of the game that put the Patriots in position to nearly pull off the win. It’s obvious that both he and Newton have built quite a bond thus far and we’re seeing that begin to pay dividends, especially given his struggles last season where he and Brady weren’t ever able to really get onto the same page. He looks like a completely different player and he’s already shown a tremendous amount of growth in just two games.
It’s been a pretty good start for the former first-round pick, who was terrific down the stretch. Like Newton, it’s games like these where you can sometimes build off of them and it will hopefully lead to good things from him over the course of the rest of the season.
4) Watching Stephon Gilmore and DK Metcalf go at it Sunday night was fun to watch, albeit a little painful given the final outcome.
The two players went back and forth all night and unfortunately it was Metcalf who came out on top in this one. He caught just four passes all night, but it was a 54-yard touchdown bomb from Wilson that ended up being one of the key plays of the game. Unfortunately for Gilmore, there was little he could do on that one as he was in position to make a play but Wilson dropped it perfectly over Metcalf’s shoulder and just out in front, which was just too far out of the veteran defensive back’s reach.
The number one match up of the night is without a doubt DK Metcalf vs. Stephon Gilmore.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 21, 2020
It was fun to watch, although it would have been nice to see the outcome turn out a little differently. Again, it’s hard to defend a perfectly thrown football so give Gilmore credit for what otherwise was a pretty good job on his part against a pretty good player.
5) Finally, it can’t be said enough how terrific Julian Edelman continues to be. The veteran receiver finished the night with a Herculean effort, catching 8 passes for 179-yards, all but one of which moved the chains.
His biggest catch of the night came late in the third quarter. After the Seahawks had just scored another touchdown to go up 28-17, Newton went deep to Edelman on the first play of the drive from their own 23-yard line. Edelman ran it down and fully-extended himself for an incredible catch that went for 49-yards. That put them into Seahawks territory and 5 plays later, Newton found Jakob Johnson from 1-yard out for the touchdown to put them back within striking distance at 28-23.
Edelman also came up with an 18-yard grab on their final drive, which took them down to the Seahawks 13-yard line, which Harry followed up with his 12-yard reception to get the Patriots down to the Seattle one-yard line. Prior to that play he had a shot at catching the game winner, but Newton threw it high and he wasn’t quite able to come down with it.
Overall, it was an incredible effort by a player who took some horrific shots in this game and was clearly hampered by his sore knee. He’s as tough as it gets and he remains a key player in an offense that will need all the help they can get in the weeks ahead. Hopefully, for Edelman’s sake, he can get healthy because they definitely need him.
While it didn’t turn out the way they might have hoped, the Patriots should still feel pretty good about this one as they return to New England. At 1-1, they’re still in decent shape and they’ll now spend the week getting ready for a visit from the Raiders next Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Season