The New England Patriots lost in heartbreaking fashion by a final of 35-30 to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The game came down to one final play from the one-yard-line where Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was stopped at the goal-line. Newton had a career night throwing for 30 completions on 44 attempts for 397 yards. Newton also threw for one touchdown and ran for two more.
Newton wasn’t the only one with a career day on Sunday. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson become only the second player to throw five touchdown passes against a Bill Belichick coached team since Drew Brees in 2009. Wilson had a handful of incredible throws including a 64-yard touchdown to DK Metcalf. Metcalf made the play with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore on his hip.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman was instrumental to the Patriots’ passing game. Edelman set a career-high in receiving yards with 179. The veteran was running noticeably deeper routes than normal. The 34-year-old wideout has made a name for himself running short crossing patterns, a staple of the Patriots offense under Brady. But Sunday night saw Edelman stretching the field vertically. Edelman’s average yards per reception on Sunday was 22.4 compared to his career average of 11. The connection that Tom Brady and Julian Edelman had led the Patriots to three Super Bowl wins; Newton and Edelman seem to be forging a similar connection.
The game got off to a great start for the Patriots. Wilson’s first pass was tipped off the hands of tight end Greg Olsen and intercepted and returned for a touchdown by safety Devin McCourty. The Patriots defensive captain paid tribute to running back James White with his celebration. White was inactive Sunday due to his parent’s tragic involvement in a car accident.
After the interception, the Patriots defense had far less success against Wilson. The Seattle quarterback threw his second incompletion of the game with 1:56 left in the second quarter. The first half was back and forth and ended knotted up at 14-14.
The Patriots came out firing to start the third. Newton connected with Edelman on a third-and-10 and then converted again on third down throwing a perfect pass to Jakobi Meyers. Newton then launched a long ball to Edelman to set the Pats up in the red zone. The drive sputtered inside the Seattle 10 and a Jamaal Adams sack on Newton forced a Nick Folk field goal.
Those were the last points the Patriots would score in the third quarter. Seattle’s offense got into a rhythm and Wilson played flawlessly. Another deep touchdown gave Seattle a lead of 21-17.
New England looked like they could answer with points of their own. Newton had his offense driving when he was picked by Quinton Dunbar. Seattle converted the turnover into six when Freddie Swain was left wide-open on a blown coverage making it 28-17.
Newton rebounded from his earlier mistake and began the Patriots’ next series with a 49-yard shot to Edelman. Edelman stretched out and made an incredible diving catch. Newton connected with tight end Ryan Izzo and then ran for another 6 yards on his own. Newton looked to be setting up for his second 1-yard rushing TD of the night but instead dropped a pass over the top of Seattle’s goal-line defense to fullback Jakob Johnson. The Pats attempted a two-point conversion to make it a three-point game but failed, leaving the score at 28-23.
Wilson once again made a play when it mattered, connecting with running back Chris Carson for a long touchdown. Wilson was hit on the throw but still managed to float the ball perfectly to Carson on a wheel route. The Seahawks now led 35-23 with 4:32 remaining in the game.
Newton engineered the Pats next drive using both his legs and arm. The former MVP moved the ball methodically down the field before connecting deep to Edelman to the Seattle 1-yard line. Newton promptly punched in the touchdown for his second rushing score of the game. The Pats were now in a one-score game with 2:16 left to play.
The Patriots defense needed to force a three-and-out to give Newton and the offense a chance. On third-and-1 Wilson tried a deep pass to Tyler Lockett but overthrew him. The Patriots got the ball on their own 19 with 1:42 and two timeouts.
Newton relied on N’Keal Harry and his own running ability to bring New England to the Seattle 36 yard-line. The Patriots got the ball to the Seattle 13 yard-line on an illegal contact penalty and a pass to Edelman. The Patriots used their final timeout on a pass caught by Harry on the 1-yard line. With three seconds remaining and one yard to go the Patriots attempted the same run play with Newton that had worked for two previous scores. This time Seattle countered and upended Newton as he attempted to jump for the goal-line.
The loss is the first as a Patriot for Newton. He said he has to be better at the end of games and that the team put themselves in the position to win adding, “you’ve got to finish.”
Head coach Bill Belichick seemed relatively pleased with his team’s performance. He didn’t seem to have any regrets with his final play call, noting that the Seahawks made the play when they had to.
“We competed hard. We did a lot of things well. We just came up a little bit short.”
The sour end to an entertaining game has many fans optimistic for a season that some viewed as a rebuild just weeks ago. The Patriots will look to improve to 2-1 next Sunday, Sept. 27. They will welcome the Las Vegas Raiders to Gillette Stadium at 1 p.m.