The Seattle Seahawks climbed out of a 20-3 deficit but could not reach the top as the Patriots once again made plays when they had to, the biggest an acrobatic catch by Bethel Johnson late in the game to set up a Corey Dillon touchdown giving New England an insurmountable 10-point cushion and its 20th straight win.
"It was a good win for our football team today," head coach Bill Belichick said. "I told the players I was really proud of how they played. I thought they played a real physical game. I thought the players played hard."
New England jumped out to the early lead by picking off Matt Hasselbeck twice and taking advantage both times. The fast start by the Patriots forced Seattle into pass mode throughout the game and Hasselbeck wound up with 349 yards passing, completing 27 of 50 attempts. Koren Robinson had a big game receiving with 9 for 150 yards.
For the Patriots offense, Tom Brady was 19 of 30 for 231 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Corey Dillon had a strong game with 105 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns.
"Corey played well," Belichick said. "He ran hard. He really gives us a good dimension offensively, in terms of balance and the ability to run the ball with power and to be able to make some yards outside. He's elusive out there and he can also push the pile. He played well today."
Seattle got off to a rough start on its first series. Hasselbeck converted on two straight third down situations, a third and 14 and a third and 4, but on his third chance, a third and seven from the Patriots 41, things didn't turn out so well. Richard Seymour got a hand on the pass and McGinest came down with the deflection, taking it 27 yards to the Seattle 26. After a 9 yard pass to Patten, Dillon ran the ball four straight times, the fourth a 1-yard touchdown up the middle to open the scoring.
The results for Hasselbeck were the same on his second chance. After two straight false start penalties put Seattle in a third and 11, Ty Law dove in front of a pass intended for Darrell Jackson along the left sideline. The interception was Law's 36th of his Patriots career, tying him for the franchise lead with Raymond Clayborn.
New England took over at the Seattle 46 but this time Seattle's defense stiffened after the Patriots got inside the 25. Vinatieri came on for a 40-yard field goal attempt and was on the mark.
At the end of the first quarter, New England had its offense first and 10 at midfield with the score still 10-0. It got there after Givens spun his way to a 17-yard catch and run. Three more plays for first downs followed, a 12-yarder to Patten, a 15-yard run by Dillon and a 10-yard pass to Faulk.
From the 13, Dillon ran up the middle for 7 yards as the Patriots offensive line, through three drives, were doing an excellent job clearing lanes and protecting Brady.
On second and three from the six, Brady found Patten who easily sidestepped his defender and walked into the end zone.
"We have a pretty good offense," Dillon said. "If we just go out there and execute what Coach Weiss wants, we'll come up with some big plays."
Seattle slowed the bleeding when it finally put a scoring drive together on its next series. The big play came when Darrell Jackson somehow was left wide open and Hasselbeck hit him for a 37-yard completion to the Patriots 18. But the Seahawks could muster only 4 more yards and Josh Brown came on for a 33-yard attempt which he made.
The Patriots extended a drive 12 plays that ended with a 39-yard field goal to make the score 20-3.
During the drive, Dan Klecko caught his first NFL pass, a 11-yarder on third and 4. David Patten converted a third and 13 play with a nice 19-yard catch along the sideline earlier in the drive.
Seattle showed it could move the ball between the 20s on the Patriots defense, scoring on its second straight possession, but once near the red zone, the Patriots would not budge. The best Seattle could do was a Brown 40-yard field goal to close out the first half scoring.
The Seahawks managed to hold New England three and out to open the second half and then proceeded to again drive downfield. But like the two times before when they threatened, three points was all that culminated from the work as Brown connected on 28-yard field goal to make the score 20-9.
Neither team added anything to that score through three quarters. A Mike Vrabel sack of Hasselbeck killed a Seahawks drive while a tripping penalty on Matt Light essentially did the same to a Patriots series.
As the fourth quarter began, Brady looked at an open field on third and seven and decided to run. He was rocked by Michael Boulware after gaining enough for the first and Brady's helmet, and more importantly, the ball came loose.
Seattle recovered the fumble around midfield but the Patriots defense made quick work of the Seahawks opportunity, quickly getting Brady back on the field in three plays and a punt. But another three plays later, the ball was right back in Seattle's hands as Brady looked to Givens on third and 6 and was intercepted by Boulware.
Starting at the New England 45, Seattle finally found the end zone and climbed back into this one. Hasselbeck found Robinson for 22 yards followed by an Alexander run for 13 yards. Two plays later, Alexander was in for the score.
Seattle made the 2-point conversion to close within a field goal at 20-17 with just over 11 minutes to play.
One had to wonder after the pick and the pop by Boulware, if Brady was feeling any ill-effects. That question was quickly answered when the offense came out gunning on its next series.
Brady hit Graham for gains of 11 and 24, Patten for 12 and Faulk for 14. The drive ended at the Seahawks 12 with a 30-yard Vinatieri field goal to make the score 23-17.
A wild Seahawks drive followed with more flags flying than a Fourth of July parade. Once Seattle managed to get down to the Patriots 26 after starting on its own 26, both teams began to break down.
The first mistake was an unnecessary roughing penalty on Rosevelt Colvin who bowled over a Seattle lineman about to be flagged for a false start.
That brought the ball down to the 13. Hasselbeck was then flagged for intentionally grounding. Vrabel followed that up with an offsides call. At this point the line of scrimmage was the 20-yard line where Seattle was third and 17. An 8-yard completion to Jeramy Stevens created a fourth and 9 and Seattle elected to go for the 31-yard field goal which Brown hit.
Up three, the Patriots needed to get its offense on track as Seattle was almost guaranteed to get the ball back as only the longest of drives would kill the clock. But a third and seven jeopardized New England's plans until Bethel Johnson perhaps came up with the play of the game.
Brady took the snap and spun and rolled left. He looked downfield and heaved the ball. Johnson was past his defender but still had some ground to make up to catch the ball. He extended his body mid-air and made an amazing catch, falling to the ground hard. Mike Holmgren challenged the play, hoping the ball had come loose on impact, but the call stood and New England was first and 10 at the Seattle 12. The play went for 48 yards.
"I thought he made a great catch," Belichick said. "That was a huge play. It changed the field position and put us in position to run the clock out."
A 3-yard run by Dillon brought matters to the two-minute warning. His 9-yard touchdown run after both teams came back from the break sealed the game for New England at 30-20.
"We stick together, it's always somebody making the play," Law said. "We're a team out there, and we play together. When you get an opportunity for a play to come your way, you have to make it. And we've been fortunate enough to do that so far."
Seattle attempted to get a late touchdown but a goal line stand with no time left on the clock by the Patriots defense put an exclamation point on the day for New England.
"It was a tough ballgame," Rodney Harrison said. "We knew coming in that they're probably one of the toughest teams we would fact this year, and it was going to be a challenge. But we stuck up and met that challenge."
Patriots.com reporter Frank Tadych contributed to this report.