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Tom Brady, Patriots receivers never let up

Tom Brady won his third Super Bowl MVP honor and his fourth Lombardi Trophy Sunday niGetty Images

In order to be able to knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who have one of the all-time best defenses, the Patriots’ offense had to do something special. Leave it to iconic quarterback Tom Brady (37 of 50 for 328 yards, four TDs, twoINTs) to do his part by earning his record-tying third Super Bowl MVP award as New England survived, 28-24, vs. Seattle in one of the more exciting Super Bowls ever. It is the first Super Bowl title in 10 years for the Patriots (fourthoverall) and it further solidifies Brady’s case as the best quarterback in NFL history, right up there with his boyhood hero -49ers star Joe Montana.

It goes without saying that New England wouldn’t have broken its painful title drought without rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler’s unbelievable last-second interception in the end zone but I’m just focusing on the offense that was able to outscore Seattle 14-0 in the fourth quarter (tying the largest comeback in Super Bowl history). Interestingly enough, at age 37 Brady was still able to conjure up one of his better performances by going back to a staple of the Patriots’ glory days: passing the ball to the open receiver rather than forcing the ball to one specific guy. LeGarrette Blount (14 carries, 40 yards) and the rushing attack never really got in gear so New England was forced to rely almost solely on Brady’s prowess through the air in the second half.

Seven different Patriots caught passes led by Julian Edelman (9 catches, 109 yards), Rob Gronkowski (6 catches, 68 yards), Shane Vereen (11 catches, 64 yards) and Danny Amendola (5 catches, 48 yards). All four of New England’s touchdowns came via the air: an 11-yard touchdown catch by LaFell and 22-yard touchdown grab by Gronk both in the second quarter; 4-yard touchdown catch by Amendola and 3-yard touchdown catch by Edelman that proved to be the winning score in the fourth quarter.

Brady wasn’t perfect by any means as he threw a terrible red-zone interception in the first quarter to cornerback Jeremy Lane. The third quarter pick by Bobby Wagner wasn’t quite as bad as the middle linebacker made a great play to reach in front of Gronkowski and intercept it. New England was only forced to punt four times in the entire game and perhaps the most impressive feature of every scoring drive is that they all lasted at least eight plays and covered 64-plus yards. Brady’s longest completion of the game was only 23 yards (to Edelman) which shows you how New England attacked Seattle’s defense: with short to intermediate passes that moved the chains (25 total firstdowns, 21 on passes). The Patriots ran 19 more plays than the Seahawks (72-53) and had the ball for over seven and a half more minutes (33:46-26:14).

 
 
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