Deja vu all over again. This time it was the Seahawks (6-2-1) who stonewalled the Patriots (7-2) at the goal line with seconds remaining. Seattle’s goal-line stand with less than a minute to go secured a back-and-forth 31-24 victory in New England in Week 10.
1. All night long, the Patriots went to LeGarrette Blount in the red zone — three times, in fact — but when the game was on the line, New England abandoned their power back. (Sound familiar?) Down seven with 43 seconds left, Tom Brady attempted his patented goal-line dive from the 2-yard line, but came up short. Blount was stuffed on the next play before Brady recovered his own fumble on third down.
After a five-yard Seahawks penalty took the ball back to the 1-yard line, New England flexed out of a power formation, in which Rob Gronkowski acted as the fullback, and attempted a fade to Gronk who was single-covered by safety Kam Chancellor by the far pylon. Gronk got locked with the Pro Bowl safety and was never able to make a legitimate attempt on the ball. Josh McDaniels, meet Darrell Bevell.
2. New England was able to drive down and nearly tie the ballgame without risking the result on a two-point conversion because Pete Carroll did the Patriots that favor. Following Doug Baldwin‘s final touchdown, with Seattle up seven, the Seahawks skipper went in for the kill and attempted a two-pointer to make it a two-score game. An incomplete pass followed — Seattle doesn’t have much luck passing near the goal line — and the Pats almost stormed down the field to tie. Coaches and their two-point conversions: a tricky romance.
3. Christine Michael‘s loss is C.J. Prosise‘s gain. The latter, a rookie out of Notre Dame, was Russell Wilson‘s go-to-target on the evening, reeling in seven catches for 87 yards and handling starting running back duties (17 car, 66 yards). Prosise played wide receiver and safety in college and his ball skills showed in the slot, where he ran wheels, rubs and everything in between. When Michael and Thomas Rawls are fully healthy, it’ll be interesting to see whether Prosise remains a fixture in the game plan.
4. After going five games without recording a touchdown catch, Baldwin secured a hat trick with three scoring grabs. Go figure.
5. In his return from a groin injury, Chancellor ended up making Seattle’s two biggest stops of the game. Before the safety stopped Gronk at the goal line, he forced a key fumble on Julian Edelman in the middle of the field after Seattle went up one point in the fourth quarter. The strip halted a string of possessions when both teams were scoring at will and allowed the Seahawks to go up a touchdown ahead of New England’s final march. The absence of Michael Bennett still hinders what Seattle wants to do on defense, but the return of Chancellor paid dividends out of the gate.
6. Once again, the Patriots failed to develop much of a pass rush, allowing Wilson (348 yards, 3 TD) to dance, bide time and hit big plays downfield. Aside from one-man wrecking machine Trey Flowers, who has recorded four sacks in two games, New England’s pressure up front lagged in key moments, leading to breakdowns in the secondary.
7. We know the infamous goal-line pick to end Super Bowl XLIX haunts Bevell’s dreams, but was it affecting his play-calling? Four Seattle red-zone trips ended in field goals, including two that stalled inside the five. The absence of a power running game paired with a general fear of going over the middle kept the Seahawks from hitting paydirt on more than one occasion.
8. This is the first season that New England has lost at least twice at home since 2012.