When the Patriots ran:
LeGarrette Blount was at times outstanding against the stout Seahawks defense. He got off the strong start with runs of 5, 7 and 5 yards on his first three attempts. He also found the end zone three times, once with a nifty 13-yard jaunt around left end and the final one coming on a play in which he carried several defenders down the line before dragging them into the end zone. But after those first three carries and when he wasn't scoring he didn't find much running room. He racked up 21 carries on the night but managed only 69 yards, which translates to a less-than-stellar 3.3-yard average. Despite the drop in production, the three touchdowns – he now has an NFL-best 12 on the season – almost earned him the edge in this matchup but he failed to find the end zone on second-and-goal from the 1 in the final seconds as the Patriots were trying to tie the game. His attempt to go over the top failed and adding in Tom Brady's failed sneaks on first and third downs on that sequence the Seahawks come away with the advantage as New England finished with 81 yards on 28 carries for a 2.9-yard average.
When the Patriots passed:
Brady wasn't as sharp as he has been but that's really an indication of just how great he was in his first four games. He completed 23 of 32 passes for 316 yards – production most quarterbacks would be more than satisfied with – but he threw his first pick of the season and failed to register a single touchdown pass. He also wasn't under as much duress against Seattle as he has been in most of his starts yet still couldn't seem to find his rhythm. But Brady was still pretty good against an excellent secondary, consistently finding favorable matchups throughout. Martellus Bennett registered his third 100-yard game of the season, finishing with seven catches for 102 yards. Julian Edelman had a pair of huge receptions – a 33-yarder on third-and-25 on the last play of the third quarter and a 30-yarder on third-and-10 in the final drive. He wound up with seven grabs for 99 yards. But he also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter that allowed Seattle to take a touchdown lead. Rob Gronkowski was a bit quiet as he drew Kam Chancellor in coverage and the two staged an entertaining battle. Gronk has three catches for 56 yards including a fantastic 26-yarder to move the ball to the Seahawks 2 on the final drive. Overall the passing game was good but not as efficient as it has been.
When the Seahawks ran:
Considering how much Seattle has struggled to run the ball all season the visitors earned a slight edge in this matchup. The Seahawks entered the game near the bottom of the league in rushing but enjoyed a reasonably productive first half on the ground behind rookie C.J. Prosise. He carried eight times for 40 yards (5-yard average) before the break and allowed the Seahawks to remain balanced. The Patriots got things straightened out at halftime, however, and Prosise carried nine times for just 26 yards after intermission. He averaged a respectable 3.9 yards per attempt with 17 carries for 66 yards, but he, too, was stymied at the goal line on a series in which Seattle had to settle for a field goal. Overall Seattle ran the ball 24 times (excluding Russell Wilson's two sneaks to run out the clock) for 96 yards for a 4.3-yard average, which Seattle was likely happy with. The Patriots adjustments in the second half – eight of Seattle's 11 runs were inefficient – made this a coin flip.
When the Seahawks passed:
Wilson was outstanding in this game from start to finish. He entered the field for the first time already trailing 7-0 an promptly marched his team into field goal range. He never let up from there, leading Seattle to seven scoring drives ranging from 48 to 75 yards, lighting up the Patriots overmatched defense along the way. He completed 25 of 37 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns – all to Doug Baldwin. Baldwin had six catches for 59 yards among the three TDs and twice inexplicably found himself wide open in the end zone. The first of those came at the end of the first half when Patrick Chung and the cornerbacks appeared to suffer from some miscommunication and he capped off a 75-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown with just six seconds left. He capped the scoring when he ran uncovered down the seam for a 15-yard score in the fourth quarter. Wilson was Brady-like in his ability to find the right matchup. Early he used Tyler Lockett (three catches, 72 yards plus a drawn pass interference penalty) working against Justin Coleman. Later he mixed in Paul Richardson (two catches, 52 yards) for key pickups. Prosise also was a factor in the passing game with seven receptions for 87 yards including a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter. Wilson had completions of 39, 38, 36 and 24 yards as he riddled the Patriots mix of man and zone coverages throughout.
This matchup was fairly even as well and some good fortune allowed the Patriots to maintain a slim advantage, although there were some mistakes as well. Seattle's Steven Hauschka had a PAT blocked by Shea McClellin early, and that proved to be a valuable point as the Seahawks wound up going for two late in an effort to make it a two-score game. Without the block, a Hauschka kick after the last touchdown would have made it a 9-point game. Hauschka did connect on all four of his field goals. Stephen Gostkowski was also perfect on his kicks, connecting on all three PATs plus a 30-yard field goal. But he did send his first kickoff out of bounds to give Seattle possession at the 40, and later his squib kick was returned 32 yards to the 37 by Lockett. Cyrus Jones turned in a big play that almost turned bad in a hurry. After Hauschka's final field goal, Jones returned the ensuing kick 43 yards across midfield but before fumbling. Fortunately Nate Ebner came to the rescue and the Patriots took over at Seattle's 43 down just 1. Coleman also had a clip that negated a 21-yard Jones punt return, so the edge here isn't all that significant.