GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Patriots and Seahawks played an epic affair Sunday night, with New England holding on for the 28-24 victory on Malcom Butler's interception with 20 seconds to play.
It was an instant classic and yet another Patriot Super Bowl that came down to the wire. New England secured its fourth Lombardi Trophy as Tom Brady took home his third Super Bowl MVP 13 years after his first in the team's surprise 2001 title run.
There were plenty of big plays, surprise stars and mistakes on both sides of the ball. But in the end New England made a few more of those plays to pull out the win and go home happy.
Before turning the page to the Boston Duck Boat parade and the offseason, here are some of the highs and lows in terms of individual performances from Super Bowl XLIX:
Danny Amendola/Julian Edelman – New England's two undersized slot receivers were the centerpiece of the passing attack. Brady spread the ball around underneath, with Edelman (9 receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown) and Amendola (5 for 48 and a touchdown) combined for 14 of Brady's Super Bowl-record 37 receptions. They made yards after the catch and made plays to set up scores, as well as finding the end zone on key touchdowns. The little guys Brady called "pygmies" this preseason came up big in the biggest game.
Tom Brady** – Aside from two really bad throws – that Brady himself called "crappy" plays -- No. 12 was sharp leading a quick, short passing game. Even with the interceptions, Brady came up huge. He set a Super Bowl record with 37 completions on his 50 attempts (74 percent) for 328 yards with four touchdowns to go with the turnovers for a 101.1 rating. Brady was perfect on all seven of his throws on the drive to the game-winning touchdown. Thirteen years after his first Super Bowl MVP Brady earned the honor once again.
Shane Vereen – Much like Edelman and Amendola, Vereen was a key part of the short passing attack. The passing back had a game-high 11 receptions for 64 yards, to go along with four carries for 13 yards. When New England went with its two-minute personnel for the final 10 minutes or so of the game, Vereen was a big part of the attack. The third-down back came up big when needed, including an impressive Kevin Faulk-like one-handed catch.
Kyle Arrington/Logan Ryan – New England's No. 3 and No. 4 cornerbacks were the weak spots in an overall solid coverage effort, especially in the first half. Arrington allowed a big play to Chris Matthews to set up a touchdown, the big receiver's first career reception. Then late in the second quarter Matthews beat Ryan for a game-tying touchdown. Arrington actually had a 15-yard face mask penalty that set Seattle up to take the shot at the touchdown with time winding down in the first half. Matthews then hit another 45-year reception past Arrington on a drive to a field goal to open the second half. Malcolm Butler came on in relief in the second half, at least in part due to the poor play of his veteran teammates.
Run defense – Marshawn Lynch did what he does. He led the Seahawks to 162 yards on the ground and a 5.6-yard average as a team. Lynch did most of the damage with 102 yards on 24 carries (4.2 avg.) with one touchdown. He also put Seattle on the 1-yard line, down 28-20, with a chance to take the lead in the final minute. He never got a chance to punch it in, though, on a day when he broke a lot of tackles of would-be New England defenders. The run defense wasn't horrific, but it certainly allowed Lynch to get his yards.