Christian Cieri -Illustrator

What a game it turned out to be! This year’s Super Bowl was expected to be a classic east vs. west battle, but nobody could have predicted the edge-of-your-seat thrill that this game dished out. Both the Seahawks and Patriots have been incredibly successful in the recent era. If the Pats are well-known for cheating, they’re even better known for winning. New England has established a clear-cut dynasty and including 2015, have appeared in a whopping five Super Bowls since 2004. The Seahawks, though not having much hype or fanbase until recently, have become a recent playoff regular.  Their status as a powerhouse in the NFC comes hand in hand with their Super Bowl victory last year.

There was much excitement buzzing after the fashion in which each team won their respective conference championships. The Seahawks pulled out an unbelievable last-minute comeback to reach overtime, complete with a recovered onside kick and scoring the tying points as the clock ran down. They stole the overtime win from Green Bay to secure a return ticket to the biggest stage on Earth.

The Patriots obliterated their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts. Analysts predicted a Patriot victory, but they speculated Andy Luck and Co. might put up more of a fight. After a definitive victory, the Pats found themselves as the main topic on Sports Center, not for the crushing win, but for the scandal that accompanied.  We’ve all heard about far too much about “DeflateGate;” The story of 11 out of 12 under-inflated Patriots footballs followed New England all the way from the conference championship to Super Bowl weekend.

After two long weeks of Marshawn Lynch ducking the media, the big game began. It started with a very quick, scoreless first quarter. Although both teams are specifically known for their great offenses and star quarterbacks, the Pats and Seahawks were living up to the saying, “Defense wins championships.” Both teams defenses were ranked in the top 10 in the NFL this season, and it showed.

In the second quarter, the Pats took the first lead of the game with a touchdown pass from Brady to Brandon LaFell.  They couldn’t enjoy the lead for very long, for the Seattle quickly responded to even the scoreboard. This left the Pats with an even two minutes on the clock. As New England was the most efficient team in the league at scoring with two minutes or less, it isn’t all that surprising that they marched down the field for six.  What is more shocking is that Seahawks were able to utilize the 31 seconds that the Pats left them. Both the Seahawks and Patriots were incredibly efficient moving down the field, averaging over 5.5 yards per play in the half.

After all the sharks were put away and Katy Perry landed, the second half began. The third quarter did not play out the same as the first half. Rather than continuing to go score for score, the Seahawks jumped out to a 10 point lead following a field goal and a Russell Wilson touchdown. At this point, it seemed that the Seahawks may run away with it just as they had done last year against the Broncos. Brady, however, had other intentions.  The Patriots strung together a series of drives with astounding accuracy.  They scored two unanswered touchdowns giving them a four-point lead with two minutes remaining in the game.

The Seahawks had the opportunity to win the game, but they needed a touchdown. In one of the craziest catches since David Tyree’s helmet catch, the Seahawks were granted a miracle. Seattle wide receiver Jermaine Kearse bobbled a deep bomb downfield, the ball bounced off his legs and bounced back into the air, where Kearse was able to gain possession. This incredibly lucky turn of events managed to land them on the Patriots one-yard-line with less than a minute to go.

It was second down and a single yard to the game-winning touchdown, Patriot fans couldn’t look as the victory visibly sliped away.  Rather than run the ball with arguably the most effective running back on short yardage situations, the Seahawks attempted what will be considered one of the most controversial play calls for this season. They chose to pass the ball and not give it to Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch.  Wilson’s pass was intercepted by rookie safety Malcolm Butler to save the Super Bowl for the Pats.  He picked a huge moment to record his first career interception when he saved New England from a seemingly definitive loss.

Who is to blame for the loss? Most likely, Pete Carroll’s play call, but at this point we can only speculate. While it is easy to look back at the last offensive play the Seahawks called and criticize it, it really was not that far out of the ordinary. Of the Seahawks’ red zone TDs for the season, 43% have come off of passing plays. But, one would think with three full downs, Lynch would have been able to power through for the win.

Eber is a member of

the class of 2017.

Kuhrt is a member of

the class of 2017.

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