Thursday, February 5, 2015
Final Super Bowl 49 thoughts
By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)
Some interesting final Super Bowl thoughts (Patriots 28, Seahawks 24)
PATRIOTS’ MISTAKE RIGHT BEFORE THE HALF
While it’s hard to believe that Seattle was able to go 80 yards in 31 seconds to score a touchdown before the half (and since Pete Carroll would be later rightfully killed for a dumb call on Seattle’s last possession, give him some credit for this one), the Patriots had it in their power to stop this touchdown (up 14-7 at the time).
It says here that Bill Belichick should have ordered all defensive backs on the field to mug (if necessary) any wide receiver who could catch the ball in the end zone. It would have been fascinating if, for example, an intentional pass interference was made on that TD throw (to the unheralded Chris Matthews, see below), to see whether Carroll would have gone for it on the final play of the first half or whether he would have kicked the field goal to be down 14-10.
Had Seattle won the game (as virtually everybody thought they would after the latest “Miracle Catch” against the Patriots) by a score of 31-28, some intelligent football people would have looked back at this four-point differential (TD v. FG) as the difference in the game. While we will never know, it says here that Carroll would have kicked the field goal had there been pass interference in the end zone right before the half.
This might be the only way to beat the Patriots. It was clear, if you followed the Patriots this season, that the plan was to have their excellent corners take Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse out of the game, allowing seven or even eight in the box to contain Marshawn Lynch. And that’s exactly what happened. Baldwin had one reception (that three yard TD where he had Revis run into the official in the end zone) and Kearse had three receptions for 45 yards (33 of which came on the Miracle Catch late in the game). In addition, tight end Luke Willson was totally shut out.
Which paved the way for Chris Matthews, a relative unknown until Sunday (although he did recover that huge onside kick against Green Bay in the NFC Championship game). Maybe the Seahawks had seen how Green Bay had beaten the Patriots (with Aaron Rodgers completing passes to receivers way down on the depth chart like Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers).
But with all his usual wide receiver (and tight end) targets taken away, Russell Wilson did well to find Matthews (four receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown). And while Cris Collinsworth mistakenly said that the Patriots switched the 6”3” Brandon Browner over to guard the 6’5” Matthews “early,” the reality was it took the Patriots awhile to make the switch. But Belichick and company are great at taking things away (they didn’t stop Marshawn Lynch (Pete Carroll did that on the final play) but they did contain him).
THE GREAT JULIAN EDELMAN
It was pretty obvious to this writer back in 2009 that Julian Edelman was going to be a very good NFL player. My son and I went to The Linc down in Philly in August of 2009 to watch Tom Brady play his first game back after missing the 2008 season. During that game, Edelman was the best player on the field.
Towards the end of my article on that game (see Kallas Remarks, 8/14/09), I wrote, after discussing his brilliant 75-yard punt return for a touchdown, “I think you’ll be hearing from this kid. He can play.”
Edelman has arguably surpassed Wes Welker as a Patriot. He’s a little bigger, a little stronger, can split out wide and is just as tough. Plus, as we found out in these playoffs, the former Kent State QB can throw the ball. He had an amazing Super Bowl, with his third-and-eleven reception to keep a Patriots TD drive alive (despite taking a tremendous, maybe helmet-to-helmet hit) a key play in this Super Bowl victory.
THE FINAL SEATTLE PLAY
There’s not a whole lot more to add to the throngs of people who have lambasted Pete Carrolll for that pass call down at the goal line which was intercepted by Malcolm Butler to win the Super Bowl for the Patriots. Carroll seemed to think that he might be able to explain it and people would view it as an intelligent call. No such luck, as he will be a punch line for years to come and maybe even a verb (don’t Carroll us next time we are on the goal line).
Despite these supposed stats (Lynch was only 1 for 5 in scoring from the one-yard line) and despite the article written in The Economist (yes, The Economist), this call was one of the dumbest calls ever. If you watched the game, it was amazing how virtually every time Lynch touched the ball he was able to absorb a hit and always go forward. We’ll never know what would have happened, but it’s hard to believe that the Patriots could have kept Lynch out of the end zone for (at least) two more runs from the one.
BUT IF YOU ARE GOING TO PASS IN THAT SITUATION …
If anybody, including Pete Carroll, really, really, REALLY thinks that it was a good idea to throw a pass there, then they made another gargantuan mistake. Since 99.9% of the people probably thought that Lynch was going to run it, if you ARE going to throw it, then you HAVE to go play-action pass.
Again, we’ll never know what would have happened, but you’ve seen it numerous times this season (and seasons past) where the fake is made to the back into the middle of the line and the quarterback goes back to pass and has one (or sometimes two) receiver waving his hands wide-open in the end zone.
To throw it was a terrible idea; to throw it without a fake handoff to Lynch, when everybody (on both sides before the play was called) thought that Lynch would get it, was a huge mistake on top of a huge mistake. It doesn’t seem like anybody asked Pete Carrolll the obvious question (and to his credit, he stood there and answered the same question a number of times): If the same situation arises in next year’s Super Bowl, would you call the same play again?
Good luck answering that question.
FINALLY, WHAT EVERY KID SHOULD BE TOLD …
It’s hard to get many young players in any sport to really focus in practice, to mentally prepare in practice, to understand how important it is to concentrate and work hard in practice. Well, every youth sport coach, as well as high school and college coaches, should immediately put into their respective early season talks to their respective teams the following: a replay of Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl winning interception, along with Butler’s post-game comments.
Butler praised the coaching staff, discussing how he had practiced against that very play, how he was beaten by it in practice and how he recognized the set right away when the Seahawks came out in that double stack to the right. Because of his preparation, Butler was able to anticipate the throw, jump the route and win the Super Bowl.
If you show that play and those comments to young kids, they will see, clear as day, the results of good practice, good preparation and hard work.
You won’t find a better example anywhere.