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Game Observations: Pats fall one play short to Seahawks

The Patriots dropped their first game of the 2020 season but showed plenty of fight down to the wire. 


The Patriots desperate comeback fell just short to the Seahawks for their first loss of the 2020 season, but there is plenty for New England to take away and build from after a thrilling back-and-forth game. As expected, it was another final-play classic between the Pats and Seahawks and, despite a near flawless performance from Russell Wilson, New England showed remarkable fight down to the very end, a trademark of the last two decades.

Cam Newton ran for two touchdowns and threw another, while throwing for almost 400 yards, showing the 2020 Patriots won't be a one-dimensional running team with no passing attack. That was the major positive takeaway from the effort and reason for hope that this team could be headed toward good things.

Feel-good losses aren't something New England fans are used to, but this one falls into that bucket. Here's what stood out from a fantastic football game!

-The Patriots got off to an ideal start with Devin McCourty grabbing a deflected pass on the third play of the game that he took to the end zone for a defensive score and an early 7-0 lead. It was a great way to get things going for the Patriots, but the Seahawks had little problem moving the ball after getting a second chance, marching down the field with a balanced attack that had the Pats on their heels and getting into the end zone to tie the game. It was a 13-play drive that took up 8:12 of clock and New England struggled to find any answers to the Seahawks attack.

-The Patriots first offensive possession didn't come until late in the first quarter but they found some success, connecting with Damiere Byrd for two first downs. Byrd wasn't targeted in Week 1 but made an immediate contribution on sideline comeback routes.

-N'Keal Harry faced a lot of criticism this week for his fumble out of the end zone against the Dolphins, but came through with one of the best plays of his young career on a fourth-down conversion in Seattle territory. Harry sustained a monster hit but held on to the ball and the resulting penalty tacked on 15 yards and put safety Quandre Diggs out of the game with a disqualification.

-New England would re-take the lead, once again using Cam Newton's legs to convert inside the red zone. Stopped short once, Newton kept the next goal-line carry, easily taking it in for the 14-7 lead. It was a remarkable answer by the Patriots, producing their own long drive (12 plays, 72 yards, 6:18) and this time using the pass to keep drives alive unlike they had to last week. Again, Harry's catch was a critical play. This was already Newton's third rushing touchdown of the young season.

-Seattle started all the way out at their own 48 for their third drive with a strong kickoff return by Travis Homer, but they'd shoot themselves in the foot with two false start penalties. On third-and-three, Chase Winovich, Derek Rivers and Kyle Dugger would all meet at Wilson the backfield, taking the quarterback down and forcing a punt. New England's well-schemed pressure never gave the Seahawks a chance, with Dugger and Rivers splitting the sack, the first half-sack of Dugger's career. The Patriots bounced back well on the drive. Rivers had the team's only sack against Miami as well and added to his team-leading total.

-The Patriots would go three-and-out on their next possession, lucky to avoid a near pick-six of their own. A third-and-nine read option was stopped just short, but was another reminder of how Cam Newton is a threat to run on any down and distance and the team is not afraid to lean on him.

-The Seahawks would tie the game up in just three plays on their next possession, capped off by a 54-yard touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf over a trailing Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore got a hand in as Metcalf was catching the ball but the receiver was just too strong and held on to take it in for the score. Wilson got the pass off just in time of the closing pressure and it was almost a bit underthrown, allowing Gilmore to catch up, but once again the Patriots got an up-close look at the best deep ball thrower in the league. It appeared New England's gameplan was to force Wilson to check down underneath, but they couldn't stop him here despite having two players very close to breaking it up.

-Nick Folk would miss his second field goal of the season after a nice little drive for the Patriots offense that saw significant contributions from Rex Burkhead, including two catches that went for 37 yards. Folk's miss from 51 yards out was a disappointing reminder of the questions at kicker and for the second time in two games the position cost them points. The eight-play drive was a nice response despite the disappointing end.

-Jonathan Jones would pick up a holding penalty on a 3rd-and-19 that gave Seattle a first down instead of forcing them to punt, but a Seahawks holding penalty followed by a jailbreak pass rush on the ensuing play, which was finished off by Shilique Calhoun and kept Seattle from getting into scoring position before the half. The Patriots defense had their first-half struggles against Wilson, but made enough plays to hold a 14-14 tie at half time. It was Calhoun's first full sack in his four-plus year career.

-The Patriots got the ball to start the second half and got two nice third-down throws by Cam Newton to pick up conversions, one to Julian Edelman as Cam escaped the pass rush and a second to Jakobi Meyers, his first catch of the season. Newton then found Edelman for 26 yards, followed by a Burkhead screen for 12 yards that set the Pats up inside the Seattle 10-yard-line. But New England was unable to punch it into the end zone, settling for a 25-yard Folk field goal to take the 17-14 lead. It was the Pats second 12-play drive of the game, part of an effective and balanced attack that moved the ball far better than many might've expected, especially through the air.

-Seattle would make quick work on their next drive to take the lead, with Wilson making a perfect 38-yard connection downfield to David Moore, who managed to stay in bounds for an impressive touchdown catch. It was Wilson's second long touchdown strike of the game as the Patriots defense struggled to make a play on the drive. The Patriots knew exactly what they were getting into with Wilson and they still couldn't stop his deep attack, even when throwing to a depth receiver like Moore who was covered by Jason McCourty.

-Newton would throw his first interception of the year on the next drive as Seattle began to take control of the game late in the third quarter. Newton had been finding some success throwing to Byrd on the outside, but on this one Quinton Dunbar was ready and undercut it for the pick. Despite the 21-17 score, it felt like the Patriots were hanging on by a thread as Seattle took over near midfield.

-Seattle would extend their lead five plays later as Wilson threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game to Freddie Swain who ran into the end zone untouched. In the second half the Patriots defense had no answers for the Seattle's offense as they struggled to get any kind of a positive play or stop.

-The Patriots still wouldn't quit, with Newton throwing a 49-yard pass to Edelman on the first play of the next drive. It was an aggressive downfield throw and a fantastic catch by Edelman, who had to lay out for it, and would spark a score a few plays later as Newton found Jakob Johnson for his first career touchdown catch. It was an impressive and fast response by the Patriots offense, who surprisingly was the most effective side of the ball in the contest. The two-point conversion was snuffed out by Jamal Adams, who was once again Seattle's most active defender on the night.

-That response by the Patriots offense sparked the defensive side, who forced a first-down holding call that backed Seattle up and forced their first punt of the second half. The defense had their struggles in this game but they still managed to put together a fourth-quarter stop that gave the offense a chance to re-take the lead, but the offense couldn't take advantage and was forced to punt after picking up just one first down.

-Seattle would do their best not to give the Patriots another chance, driving down the field and finishing things off with an 18-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 35-23. The Seahawks offense was nearly perfect on the night aside from the pick six, balancing the run and pass, while Wilson was stellar whether he was scrambling, throwing or facing the Patriots blitzes. It looked like it was over at that point, but the Pats weren't quite done yet.

-Again the Patriots showed some fight at the end, driving for another touchdown, powered by a 33-yard catch by Julian Edelman, who set a career high for receiving yardage in a game. Newton would again take it in for his second rushing touchdown of the game to close the score to 35-30. It took just 2:16 for the offense to go 75 yards and close the game back to a one-score lead.

-On the Seahawks next possession it all came down to a final 3rd-and-1 just after the two-minute warning with Seattle poised to close the game out. That alone, to have an opportunity to still win the game, was a remarkable testament to the Patriots perseverance. New England sent the house and this time a bad snap prevented Wilson from making another perfect throw. It gave Newton one more chance, down five with 1:42 left, starting from his own 19. The defense didn't have a great game, but twice they got stops that gave the offense a chance to take back the lead.

-Newton moved the team down the field, with Harry grabbing two catches for 30 yards along the way and then a third clutch catch for 12 yards to get the Patriots down to the one-yard-line and setting up one final climactic play. As expected Cam Newton kept the ball, but was stopped short and the game ended. It was a disappointing finish but the Patriots showed plenty of fight throughout, coming back multiple times when it looked like Seattle was about to run away with the game. The game goes in the L column but overall the effort was a great sign for the team going forward.

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