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Short passing game has Patriots in 14-14 battle

New England turned the clock back a bit to get things moving in the Super Bowl XLIX battle with Seattle.


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- More than a decade after his first Super Bowl appearance leading a New England offense known for its "dink and dunk" passing game, Tom Brady utilized a similar approach in the first half of Super Bowl XLIX against Seattle's vaunted Legion of Boom secondary.

The game plan worked well enough to keep the Patriots even with the Seahawks, 14-14 at halftime.

Brady took full advantage of his underneath matchups with quicker, smaller receivers Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen. The New England quarterback completed 20 of 27 (74 percent) passes in the first half for 177 yards with two touchdowns and one interception – on a really ugly throw at the goal line – for an overall 100.4 passer rating.

Whether it was on the sidelines and making people miss or crossing the field, the smaller Patriots targets found room to work and Brady fed them. That attack was aided even more when Seattle No. 3 cornerback Jeremy Lane left with a broken arm suffered on his interception of Brady late in the first quarter.

Edelman, Amendola and Vereen accounted for 14 of Brady's 20 first-half completion for 127 yards. All three had decent runs after catches. Edelman set up Brandon LaFell's opening touchdown with a 23-yard catch-and-run over the middle. Vereen set up Rob Gronkowski's touchdown late in the half with a 16-yard catch-and-run across the field.

The Patriots quick, short passing game is back in business in the biggest game of the year.. Now it will be interesting to see how Pete Carroll and the Seahawks adjust to the attack heading into the second half of a tie football game.

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