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Matchup Winners: Brady gets his fourth

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WHEN THE PATRIOTS RAN


The Patriots tried to maintain a semblance of balance but were simply unable to get it done. LeGarrette Blount managed just 40 yards on 14 carries and had just five efficient runs (4 yards or more, first down, touchdown). As a team New England picked up just 57 yards on 21 attempts (2.7-yard average) and never really got anything established in the ground game. Seattle even came up with a huge stop on third-and-one on the first play of the fourth quarter when Blount was buried in the backfield. The late deficit, combined with Blount's inability to get untracked prevented the Patriots from even trying to do anything in the running game down the stretch, but Seattle's front seven had all the answers when it came to stopping the run.  EDGE: SEAHAWKS

WHEN THE SEAHAWKS RAN


Marshawn Lynch is a handful and the Patriots had their troubles stopping him at times. He finished with 102 yards on 24 carries for a 4.3-yard average. He consistently moved the pile and picked up positive yardage even when the Patriots front seemed to have him cornered. Russell Wilson also did damage with his legs, tacking on 39 yards on three carries, two of which were zone reads. Robert Turbin added 21 yards on two carries, with 19 of those yards coming to open a key touchdown drive late in the first half. Seattle finished with 162 yards on 29 carries for a healthy 5.6-yard average. Despite that success when the game was on the line Pete Carroll chose not to give the ball to Lynch and the Patriots managed to escape with the win. But for long stretches of the game Seattle was able to control the tempo behind Beast Mode. EDGE: SEAHAWKS

WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASSED


There were times when the Seahawks secondary and pass rush controlled this match up as well. Tom Brady was hit or hurried on numerous occasions over the first three quarters, and Brady tossed a pair of terrible interceptions as a result. The first halted an early drive at the goal line and the second allowed Seattle to take a two-score lead in the third quarter. But Brady was absolutely perfect when he had to be as he rallied the Patriots to 14 fourth-quarter points and the victory. He finished 37 of 50 for 328 yards with four touchdowns to go with the two picks (101.1 passer rating). He stuck with the game plan of quick, short passes and used Julian Edelman nine catches, 109 yards, 1 TD) and Shane Vereen (11 catches, 64 yards) liberally throughout. Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell also caught touchdowns, but it was Brady who made all the big plays to rally the team to victory.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

WHEN THE SEAHAWKS PASSED


With Lynch setting up the Seahawks with favorable situations Wilson took full advantage by taking several shots downfield. He finished with just 12 completions on 21 attempts but picked up a whopping 247 yards on those throws. He hit Chris Matthews for gains of 45 and 44 yards and Jermaine Kearse for 33 more. Lynch had a 31-yard catch to open Seattle's final drive as Wilson consistently found open receivers downfield and did not miss. Wilson's second touchdown pass, a 3-yarder to Doug Baldwin, gave the Seahawks a 24-14 lead and had Seattle in control. But the Seahawks offense faltered from there to allow the Patriots to mount a comeback, and when they had one final chance to win the game late disaster struck. Carroll's decision to throw the ball on second-and-goal from the 1 with 20 second left backfired as Wilson's quick slant to Ricardo Lockette was picked off by Malcolm Butler. Butler read the play perfectly and jumped the route, spoiling an otherwise brilliant night for Wilson and the Seahawks offense.  EDGE: SEAHAWKS

SPECIAL TEAMS


There weren't a lot of game-changing plays on special teams for either side but Edelman's work in the punt return department allowed the Patriots to get the edge. He averaged 9 yards on his three attempts with a long of 15, and his ability to catch some punts in traffic and pick up positive yards allowed the Patriots to control field position early in the game. Stephen Gostkowski recorded touchbacks on all five of his kickoffs and Ryan Allen averaged 49 yards on his four punts. The Seahawks had a blunder that impacted special teams when Baldwin was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after his touchdown and Steven Hauschka's ensuing kickoff was returned 21 yards by Amendola to the 35. But overall nothing in the kicking game had much of an impact on the result either way.*  *EDGE: PATRIOTS

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