Patriots vs. Seahawks

Patriots vs. Seahawks: It All Comes Down to This

Since 2008, every matchup between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks have quite literally followed the same script. Both teams play outstanding on offense, they throw a couple of punches on defense, and then one eventually finds a way to get ahead for good in the fourth quarter. While the Patriots were lucky to be on the winning side of things in their only Super Bowl against each other, the Seahawks have found ways to get the job done between September and December. Now that both will go head to head in the second week of the 2024 regular season, there is no doubt that this will once again be a down-to-the-wire matchup, all coming down to that final drive or play. Both teams might have a brand new head coach, but plenty of veteran experience and the depth needed to make some noise in their respective conferences. Let’s take a look at five of those games that kept every Patriots fan on the edge of their seats.

Patriots vs. Seahawks: It All Comes Down to This

 

5. Matt Cassel Does Enough Against Seneca Wallace

In 2008, both the Patriots and Seahawks were without their starting quarterbacks. Tom Brady tore his ACL in the first game of the season and Matt Hasselbeck missed this Week 14 matchup due to a knee injury. Therefore, everybody was getting their popcorn ready to see the glorious quarterback duel between Matt Cassel and Seneca Wallace. Surprisingly, however, both teams were on totally different paths. Even with the reigning MVP injured, the Patriots entered this game 7-5 with a real chance of making the postseason, thanks to a strong supporting cast on offense and a still consistent defense. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Seahawks, who were on a five-game losing streak at 2-10. From New England’s perspective, it was a total trap game.

For the first fifty-seven minutes, the Seahawks were leading thanks to a surprisingly potent offense. With the running game shut down, Wallace lit up Bill Belichick‘s defense in the air, throwing for just over 200 yards and three touchdown passes, with just eight incompletions to his name. It was also the game where former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch rubbed it in against his former team by totaling eighty-eight yards on just four catches, while also scoring two touchdowns. As for the Patriots offense, they were doing whatever they can to trim their deficit, but Seattle would respond every single time. However, the one time that Seattle stalled out in the fourth quarter, it was go time.

With just under nine minutes remaining, Cassel got the ball in his hands at his own twenty-nine yard line and took close to six minutes off the clock. One twenty-five yard completion to Wes Welker got New England close to the end zone, and on fourth down at the one yard line, Sammy Morris punched it in for the go-ahead touchdown. Welker capped off an outstanding twelve-reception performance by giving New England an extra two points, and they were now leading 24-21 with plenty of time left on the clock. Now it was time for Wallace to pick up where he left off, but not even three seconds into a drop back in the pocket, safety Brandon Meriweather came up with an impressive strip sack that was recovered by the Patriots. Because the Seahawks had no more timeouts, Matt Cassel kneeled the ball three straight times and New England barely escaped the West Coast with a victory.

The Patriots went on to win their final three games to end the season 11-5, but unfortunately, they were eliminated from playoff contention via tiebreaker. As for the Seahawks, they finished that year 4-12, and it was the end of the Mike Holmgren era in Seattle as a result. This game might have been surprisingly close for New England, but this was the first of many to come against this specific opponent.

4. You Mad Bro?

From 2013 to 2014, the Seahawks were the envy of the NFC thanks to their lights-out defense, commonly known as the Legion of Boom. The day where they got their respect was on October 14, 2012. It was a home game against the Patriots, who were just coming off yet another Super Bowl appearance in their historic dynastic age. Both teams entered this contest at 3-2, one of them expected to get back to the postseason while the other wanted to shock the world by any means necessary. However, the experience that New England had proved to be too much for the Seahawks right away.

Even though Seattle threw a couple of punches early, the Patriots scored on four of their first six possessions and cruised out to a comfortable 20-10 lead early in the third quarter. Tom Brady was talking trash to the young Seahawks secondary and told them to meet up with him after the game, which ended up being a very rare mistake on the GOAT’s part. On his next two possessions, Brady threw a couple of interceptions to not just any Seattle defenders, but the two that headlined the entire Legion of Boom: Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. The worst part about those turnovers was that both of them took place in Seattle territories, meaning that the Patriots could have blown this game out of the park, but they failed to capitalize on their opportunities. But even then, the Seahawks offense led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson could not get any points off of those turnovers, and the Patriots were still up by thirteen in the fourth quarter. All New England had to do was get a couple of more stops and have at least one more scoring possession, and they will improve to 4-2. That was not what happened at all.

Many will remember this as the “You Mad Bro?” game thanks to the incredible meme that Richard Sherman and Tom Brady created at the end, but this was also the afternoon where the legend of Russell Wilson was born. One play after the Patriots increased their lead to 23-10, Wilson threw a rocket towards the middle of the field to Golden Tate, and his 51 yard reception got the Seahawks all the way inside the red zone. Faced with a fourth and three at the ten yard line, he threw a touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards, and now it was only a one-score game. The Patriots offense stalled out on their next two drives, and Russell Wilson got the ball back with a chance to pull off a defining upset. With 1:27 remaining, Wilson launched another moon ball down the middle of the field, and Sidney Rice got past the defender for the go-ahead 46 yard touchdown! That ended up being the third touchdown pass thrown by the rookie quarterback, and the world made sure he got all the flowers that he deserved.

The Patriots fell to 3-3 after the defeat, but then proceeded to go 9-1 the rest of the way and clinch yet another AFC East title, but unfortunately came up short at home in the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Seahawks, meanwhile, were now a legitimate team that needed to be feared thanks to an absurdly powerful defense and an electric offense. They finished that 2012 season 11-5 as the fifth seed in the NFC, but they also unfortunately did not win the Super Bowl that season. After nearly coming back from a 27-7 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round, the Seahawks broke at the worst possible time and just did not have enough to win the game. However, it was only just the beginning for what was a fun period of football for that franchise.

3. Malcolm Butler Saves the Day

Two years after that remarkable comeback in 2012, both New England and Seattle faced off against each other in Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, Arizona. While the Patriots were trying to win their first championship since 2004, the Seahawks were the defending world champions, who had demolished the Denver Broncos 43-8 to claim their first ever Lombardi Trophy. By that point, Brady and Belichick knew that this team was nowhere near to be taken lightly, so everybody was in gear for a very entertaining Super Bowl. So many legacies were on the line in this win-or-go home contest, and if the Patriots lost yet another championship, then the dynasty would officially be pronounced as dead and another one would take form in the West Coast.

So much happened in this Super Bowl so it would only be right to make a very long story short. Both the Patriots and Seahawks walked into the locker room tied at fourteen at halftime, but Seattle managed to take a ten point lead heading into the fourth quarter. At the time, nobody had been able to come back from a ten point deficit to win the Super Bowl, and one quarterback was about to change that. Brady at that point had thrown a couple of touchdown passes to keep the Patriots alive, but also threw two interceptions that set his team back. However, he came alive in the fourth quarter and put the team on his back. On two straight possessions, he picked apart the Legion of Boom secondary down the length of the field, and scored fourteen unanswered points to give New England a four-point lead. However, everybody saw this movie before. Wilson got the ball with all three timeouts in his pocket, over two minutes of clock, and needed to score a touchdown to win the game. Heck, the Seahawks did the exact same thing two weeks prior, when he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers in overtime.

Sure enough, the Seahawks were quickly marching down the field, chewing up lots of yardage in a very quick amount of time. In less than a minute, they were already in Patriots territory, but one ridiculous play looked like it was going to end the game once and for all. With 1:14 left to go, Wilson launched a deep ball towards the right side of the ball to Kearse. Tightly contested by Malcolm Butler, the ball bounced around for a few seconds, before it miraculously landed in the hands of the wide receiver without ever touching the ground.

Now the Seahawks were at the five yard line, and all they needed to do was hand off the ball to the best running back in football Marshawn Lynch. They handed it off to Beast Mode on the very next play, but instead of trucking his way into the end zone, he was miraculously tackled at the one yard line by Dont’a Hightower that set up the game-winner. Second down and goal at the one yard line. 99% of those watching knew that the Seahawks were going to run it again, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and head coach Pete Carroll had different plans. Instead of going in shingleback formation, the Seahawks ran the play in shotgun to have Russell Wilson throw the football! Looking for Ricardo Lockette on the slant, undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler read the play like a book and jumped in front of the receiver to make the interception that won the Patriots the Super Bowl! That’s right. Instead of giving the ball to the best running back in the league, the Seahawks threw the football, and it cost them a championship.

Not only did the Patriots win their fourth championship, but they proceeded to make four more conference championship appearances, three more Super Bowl appearances, and they brought home two more Lombardi trophies. Brady and Belichick cemented themselves as the best in their respective positions, and New England kept their dynasty well and alive. The Seahawks, on the other hand, sank further and further. After that heartbreaking defeat, the Seahawks made the playoffs six more times, but never reached another Super Bowl nor a conference championship game. This franchise never recovered from that play at the one yard line, and the legacies of everybody on those wonderful Seahawks teams will forever be blemished, particularly Wilson and Carroll.

2. Russ Redeems Himself

By the time the 2016 season arrived, any matchup between Wilson and Brady was no longer going to be reserved for a regular afternoon television slot. The NFL needed the world to see these two battle it out with one another under the bright lights. Through the first ten weeks of the season, the Patriots entered this Sunday night matchup 7-1, but have not lost a game with Tom Brady as the starting quarterback. After serving a four-game suspension due to his alleged “involvement” in Deflategate, he was not only on a mission to win another championship, but to make the rest of the NFL suffer. Entering this game against the Seahawks, Brady had thrown twelve touchdown passes to zero interceptions, winning all four of his starts. However, his opponent never forgot the pain and misery that they had to go through thanks to him in 2014. The Seahawks entered this game 5-2-1, and while Wilson did not have exactly the stats that Brady put up, he made sure that this game was on his calendar. He had a lot of making up to do for that blunder at the one-yard line, and if there was any chance for ┬áhim to redeem himself, it was on November 13, 2016.

What ensued in Gillette Stadium was as back-and-forth of a matchup as anybody could hope and dream for. There were a total of eight lead changes between two of the best teams in football, and it was because both teams matched up incredibly well with another. Tom Brady might not have thrown a touchdown pass in this game, but he did throw for 316 yards, and actually handed off the ball to his bell-cow running back LeGarrette Blount whenever they got close to the goal-line. Through the first fifty-one minutes of the game, the Seahawks were up 25-24, and the Patriots ended up getting the ball back with a chance to take the lead. Unfortunately, two plays into their next drive, Julian Edelman lost a costly fumble thanks to the strength of Kam Chancellor that set Seattle up in New England territory. This was Russell Wilson’s time to put the dagger into New England’s hearts.

Throughout the entire game, Wilson made little to no mistakes, making smart decisions on every single pass and not giving it back to the opposition. That all culminated at the 4:30 mark in the fourth quarter, when he threw his third touchdown pass of the game, but a failed two-point conversion kept it a one-score game. It was like Super Bowl 49 all over again: New England trailing, Brady gets the ball back with a chance to keep his team alive, the game coming down to the final play. He might have had well over four minutes to tie the game up, but he managed the clock wisely, and he successfully drove his team to the one yard line. Unfortunately, their next four plays did not work out the well everybody hoped. Brady tried running a quarterback sneak twice, but the Seahawks managed to stuff him short of the goal-line, and it was soon fourth and goal. The Patriots knew that throwing a pass was the last thing that they wanted to do, but now that three straight runs were unsuccessful, it was the only thing that they could try at that point. Brady threw a fade in the left corner of the endzone to Rob Gronkowski, and thanks to superb coverage from Chancellor, the pass was overthrown and the Patriots turned it over on downs. The Seahawks held on for the 31-24 victory, and while it might not have been the Super Bowl, they at least got a sympathy victory.

That ended up being the last time the Patriots lost another game that season, as they rattled off ten straight victories, including yet another Super Bowl championship. This was when they famously came back from a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to deliver a fifth Lombardi to Gillette Stadium, and where Tom Brady was officially crowned as the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. The Seahawks also had a successful season with another NFC West Title and a playoff appearance at 10-5-1, but ended up losing to those same Falcons in the Divisional Round.

1. The Uno Reverse in 2020

In the latest matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks, everything completely changed for both franchises. Tom Brady left as a free agent during the offseason, the only remaining piece from the Legion of Boom that was still a starter was Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson no longer had Marshawn Lynch or Doug Baldwin in his offense. The new starting quarterback for the Patriots was Cam Newton, who had just as much to prove if not more than Wilson, especially since he was coming off of a season-ending foot injury that caused him to get released by the Carolina Panthers. Many pundits and experts thought that without Brady, the Patriots would no longer return to their winning ways, but this Sunday night game in the second week of the 2020 season ended up being one of the best games of that entire season.

The Patriots defense set the tone on just the third play of the game. On a wide open pass attempt to tight end Greg Olsen, the ball went through his hands and easily grasped by Devin McCourty, who immediately took it all the way back to the house for a pick six. If anybody thought that this would be the play that would lose the Seahawks the game, they would be sadly mistaken. After that turnover, Russell Wilson then went on to complete twenty more passes for 279 yards, while also throwing five touchdown passes in the process. Many thought that he should have been the leading candidate for MVP because of his outstanding performance, and if it was not for everything that he did on the offensive side of the ball, then the Seahawks had no chance of winning at home on Sunday night. However, Cam Newton had just as strong of a performance. Nobody thought that he was going to throw for close to 400 yards and score three times on his own, nor did anybody expect Julian Edelman to catch eight passes for 179 yards. Yet, he did just as much as Russell Wilson to put the team on his back and lead them to victory. However, for as prolific as both of them were that night, only one of them had to win. Fortunately, Cam had a chance to close the deal and get the job done.

With 1:42 left on the clock and two timeouts, the Patriots needed a touchdown to win and get off to a surprising 2-0 start. Sure enough, Newton marched his team down the field and managed to get to, guess where, the one yard line! Three seconds left, a touchdown to win the game, only one play to win the game. There were three choices that New England could choose from. They could run a quarterback sweep, which worked out super well for them the entire night. They could have Cam run a sneak up the middle and use his strength to fight his way into the endzone. The last was that they could throw the football, which seemed to work out so well for both teams in the past. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels went with the quarterback sweep up the left side, but the Seahawks knew what was coming before the ball was snapped, and Seattle stuffed the quarterback short of the line. The Patriots came up just short once again 35-30, and while there was a lot of false hope at that point in the season, they just failed to get it done when it mattered most.

The Seahawks finished that 2020 season 12-4 with another NFC West title, and Wilson put up some of the best numbers in his career, but they were one-and-done against the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card. The Patriots, unfortunately, never made it back to the playoffs. They finished that 2020 season 7-9 with a very subpar offense and an injured defense, and Newton would not start another game for the Patriots once it concluded.

Fast forward to 2024 and both teams are heading into totally different eras. Pete Carroll is no longer coaching Seattle, Bill Belichick is not running things in New England, and each team is trying to get off to the freshest start possible. Just because one of them might have the better talent on paper, it does not mean that this will be a complete cakewalk for that one team. History has proved that between the Patriots and Seahawks, the winner of this game will be determined on that final snap of the game, especially if it is somehow at the one yard line. Either Geno Smith is going to keep his Cinderella story alive and help the Seahawks remain a quality playoff contender, or the Patriots are going to bring a lot more juice and intensity at home that will give the organization and their fanbase a sense of pride and optimism that nobody felt in a very long time. In other words, Seattle is either going to run the ball at the one yard line, or the Patriots are going to jump in front of the play for the game-winning interception.

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