I know, you’re thinking that I must be crazy. Nearly all of the experts are picking Seattle to win Super Bowl XLIX. I also continue to hear praise for Seattle’s great comeback against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. It wasn’t so great; they were given a gift. If one of five key plays had ended differently for the Packers, they would be preparing for the ‘Big Game.’ That’s why I believe that New England should be a fourteen point favorite.
After dominating Seattle during the first half of the NFC Championship, Green Bay players and coaches must have been celebrating too soon.
With six minutes and fifty-one seconds left, Green Bay forced Seattle into a ‘third and nineteen’ position. Dom Capers decided to rush only three players, giving Wilson minutes not seconds to throw the ball. He completed a 29 yard pass for a first down. Coaching mistake.
With four minutes and fifty seconds left in the third quarter, the Seahawks turned a fake field goal into seven points as punter Ryan passed to Gilliam in the end zone. This was another coaching mistake; the Packers should have at least considered the possibility. They were simply ‘caught with their pants down.’
A short pass to Quarless by Rodgers would have given the Packers a third down and limiting the time Seattle would have to comeback. It was dropped. Player mistake. The score was 19-7, and there were only five minutes and twenty-six seconds remaining
With just two minutes and nine seconds left in the game, and the Packers leading 19-14, Seattle was forced to attempt an onside kick. A Green Bay player who was intended as a blocker for Jordy Nelson attempted to recover the ball. It went through his hands, hitting his helmet, and the Seahawks recovered. Player error.
Seattle attempted a two point conversion after the ensuing touchdown. Wilson was hit and the ball fluttered high in the air. No Green Bay player made a move to knock it down. The Seahawks were now ahead 22-19. One minute and twenty-five seconds remained. Had they missed the two-point conversion, Green Bay would only need a field goal to win. Player error.
The Packers did make a field goal, tied the game, and lost in overtime, which never should have happened.
Monday morning, thank-you cards were in the mail to Packers’ coaches and players.
If any one of these five serious mistakes had not occurred, Seattle would not have been celebrating. They were outplayed and outcoached for most of the game. The most critical mistake was undoubtedly the choice not to pressure Wilson. Green Bay had forced him into throwing four interceptions. Only rushing three on a third down which may have ended the game was highly questionable. The 29-yard completion allowed Seattle their first score on the fake field goal, and gave them momentum.
The evening game was no contest. Bill Belichick outcoached Chuck Pagano, and Tom Brady proved to be the better quarterback while facing the new star of the Colts, Andrew Luck.
Super Bowl XLIX will likely see the Patriots mimicking the defense which dominated the Seahawk offense. Tom Brady will not have difficulty scoring points against Seattle. Final Score, New England 28, Seattle 13.
By James Turnage