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Patriots Fall Short In Fantastic Finish

Bob George
1 month ago at 1:37 am ET
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Season

Patriots Fall Short In Fantastic FinishJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Images

The Seattle Seahawks are a better team than the New England Patriots, yet the Patriots came up only one yard short in their building.

If any game might invigorate the Patriot fan base despite their team losing, this was it.  Russell Wilson riddled the Patriots for five touchdown passes, the Seahawks averaged 5.1 yards rushing as a team, yet Cam Newton nearly pulled off a Brady-esque miracle comeback.  Despite no 12th man in empty CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks gave the Patriots nearly all they had, and it still came down to a stop at the one-yard line for Seattle to hold on for a 35-30 win on Sunday night.

With three seconds left and the ball at the one-yard line, Newton went to the well once too often, though he is becoming a player where you know he will call his own number and you still can’t stop it.  Newton took off on a left tackle run with Jakob Johnson out in front, but L.J. Collier broke through and upended Newton for a one-yard loss as time expired.  The play call wasn’t bad despite its predictability, but it was literally the best call to make.  Behind Isaiah Wynn and Joe Thuney as well as Johnson, you had to like Newton’s chances.  It simply didn’t work out.

On the way to this wild finish, Wilson had a typical Wilson game.  He finished 21 of 28 passing for 288 yards, five touchdowns, and a 132.2 passer rating.  Two of Wilson’s touchdown passes were of the deep variety, as Wilson was able to hit D.K. Metcalf for 54 yards in the second quarter, and then hit Dsvid Moore for 38 yards in the third quarter.  Wilson also hit Freddie Swain for an 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter for a 21-yard score, and then hit running back Chris Carson for 19 yards in the fourth.

Wilson does this sort of thing often, but Bill Belichick cannot be happy with all these big plays surrendered.  Metcalf ran right by Stephon Gilmore on a right seam route and Wilson laid it right in there over Gilmore’s shoulder.  Moore’s touchdown was a nice touch pass at the pylon with Jason McCourty in tight coverage.  The Swain and Carson touchdowns were blown coverages; the Patriots were confused with Tyler Lockett lining up in the backfield, and Swain ran a crossing route underneath with nobody near him.  Carson was also wide open when Wilson lobbed a scoring toss to him.

Despite this, and despite the success of the Seattle ground game, the Patriots still had a chance to win the game on the final play.  Newton threw the ball incredibly well, hitting on 30 of 44 passes for 397 yards, one touchdown (to Johnson early in the fourth quarter) and a 94.6 passer rating.  Newton also had 47 yards rushing on 11 carries and two touchdowns.  Newton looks every bit in control out there, seemingly more comfortable with the Patriot offense.  Despite having three defensive backs leave due to injury or ejection, the Seahawks still played the Patriots tough on defense and the Patriots still withstood the attack.

Julian Edelman set a career high for receiving yards with 179 yards on eight catches.  N’Keal Harry had a breakout game, catching eight passes for 72 yards and survived a punishing hit by Quandre Diggs in the first quarter, which sent Diggs to an early shower.  Damiere Byrd chipped in with six catches for 72 yards.  Newton looked like he was on the same page with all his receivers, but Harry made some very tough catches and looked like a legit first round pick for the first time in his brief career.

This wouldn’t be a New England-Seattle game without one controversial call by Pete Carroll.  With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, facing third down and one at the Seattle 31, Carroll called for a fade pass to Lockett downfield instead of running Carson or Carlos Hyde to more or less seal the win.  Seattle then punted and almost watched Newton win the game on the final play.

The Patriots caught an early break.  On the third offensive play of the game, Wilson dropped back and tried to hit a left flat pass, but the ball was deflected and Devin McCourty caught the carom and took it back 43 yards for a pick-six and an early 7-0 lead.  Wilson shook it off and led the Seahawks on a 13-play, 75-yard drive.  Most of the first quarter had elapsed before Newton touched the ball for the first time.

Carson led the Seahawks with 72 yards rushing.  Metcalf led the Seahawks with 92 yards receiving.  Lockett led the team with seven catches.

Before the game, the Patriots were jolted with the tragedy that befell James White.  Both of his parents were involved in a traffic accident in Cooper City, Florida, in Broward County just north of Miami.  White’s father died in the crash, while his mother remains in critical condition at an area hospital.  Bob Kraft offered to fly White to Florida in his private plane, but he chose to stay in Seattle and fly home with his teammates.  White was understandably inactive for the game.  In his postgame interview, Wilson paid tribute to White, his former teammate at Wisconsin.  This is the second time within the last week that a Patriot has lost a parent, as Belichick’s mother, Jeannette, died last Monday at age 98 in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Patriots will come home next week to take on the Raiders, now based in Las Vegas.  The Patriots will have a ton of confidence going into this game, and a lot of resolve to not fall below .500 on the season.  The Raiders will christen their new home, Allegiant Stadium, Monday night with the New Orleans Saints coming to town.

Seattle is hard to beat at home, fans or no fans.  Patriot-Seahawk games have become must-see and an epic battle.  You could say that the Patriots should have won, given one chance at the one-yard line.  But in the end, in this year of tremendous transition, the fact that the Patriots came that close to winning is remarkable, and very encouraging going forward.  In two weeks, the Patriots will be at Kansas City, and still another tough road test.

So put this game in the memory banks, move on, and enjoy the rest of this season.  It should be a ton of fun.

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