Patriots win Super Bowl thriller
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rallied to edge Seattle 28-24 in Super Bowl 49, scuttling the Seahawks' bid for a second straight NFL championship in dramatic style.
With their fourth Super Bowl triumph -- and first in a decade -- the Patriots reconfirmed their status as the league's dominant team of the 21st century, a mantle they aren't prepared to hand over to the Seahawks just yet.
"Whatever it takes," said Brady, whose three-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman gave the Patriots a lead they wouldn't relinquish with 2:02 remaining.
"We were playing a great defense and they're a great team. Took everything all the way to the last play.
"I'm just proud of our effort and our determination," added Brady, whose team recovered from a lackluster start to the season and dealt all week with suggestions they purposely under-inflated footballs used in a playoff win over Indianapolis.
The Patriots rallied from a 24-14 third-quarter deficit, becoming the first team in Super Bowl history to trail by double digits in the second half and win the game.
Rookie Malcolm Butler's goal-line interception of a pass by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson with 20 seconds left preserved the victory in a title showdown that lived up to its billing as a clash of titans.
Brady threw two of his four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally the Pats against the most feared defensive unit in the league.
Brady joined boyhood idol Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins, having also led New England to the title after the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons.
He set the record for most career Super Bowl touchdown passes, taking his tally to 13 to surpass the 11 of Montana, and matched Montana with his third Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award.
The Seahawks, who rallied in the final minutes of the National Conference final to book their return to the Super Bowl, looked like they might pull off another miracle.
Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch with a 31-yard pass to put the Seahawks in Patriots territory.
Then Jermaine Kearse came up with a stunning catch as he fell to the turf, corralling a ball that had appeared to have been certainly deflected out of his reach.
That put Seattle on the 5-yard line. Lynch was stopped just short of the goal line on the ensuing play, but the Seahawks didn't go to their superstar running back on the next play.
Instead, Wilson attempted a short pass to Ricardo Lockette that Butler seized to end Seattle's hopes.
"I just guessed and went and made a play," said Butler. "It's crazy man."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it was his decision not to run the ball, saying he thought the match-ups were wrong.
"It's a miraculous play that kid made to get in front of that route," Carroll said. "I hate that we have to live with that because we did everything right to win the football game."
The Patriots wasted a first-quarter scoring chance when Brady was picked off near Seattle's goal line, but went up 7-0 with a methodical 65-yard scoring drive capped by Brady's 11-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell.
Wilson and the Seahawks offense, meanwhile, got off to a stuttering start, finally firing when Wilson connected with Kearse on a six-yarder, followed by a deep ball down the sideline to little used receiver Chris Matthews -- who made the first catch of his NFL career.
The Pats struck back with an 80-yard, eight-play drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski with 31 seconds remaining in the first half.
But Wilson piloted the Seahawks 80 yards in 29 seconds and hit Matthews with an 11-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-14 at the break.
The Seahawks took their first lead on Stephen Hauschka's 27-yard field goal in the third quarter and pushed the lead to 24-14 after capitalizing on another Brady interception to score.
Brady answered with a 68-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, cutting the deficit to 24-21.
"Hard work pays off," Amendola said. "All the work pays off. All the work we've put in all year, all the adversity, dealing with everything that we have, it's paying off and it's the best feeling in the world."