I’ll post a full column on New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle in Sunday’s Super Bowl 0n MyAJC.com. Until then, here are my three “Short Takes” on the game:
1. Delflate this, everybody: Tom Brady arrived in Arizona as the focal point in an NFL investigation into whether New England intentionally deflated footballs in the AFC title game to the liking of the Patriots’ quarterback. He struggled at times against a Seattle defense, throwing two interceptions and hitting a rut after the Pats had taken a 14-7 lead. But Brady reaffirmed why he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Playing with presumably fully inflated footballs, Brady threw four touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter, to rally New England from a 24-14 deficit. He had a Super Bowl record 37 completions on 50 attempts for 328 yards. Brady has now won four Super Bowls, tying Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana among quarterbacks. He was named the game’s MVP.
2. What were the Seahawks thinking? Seattle trailed 28-24 but had a chance to win the game after a remarkable 33-yard, juggling catch by Jermaine Kearse at the New England five-yard line with 1:03 left. A two-yard run by Marshawn Lynch moved the ball to the three, and the Patriots strangely chose to NOT call time out. But the only dumber decision was then made by Seattle. Instead of giving the ball to Lynch, the Seahawks pulled a Mike Bobo, who didn’t give the ball to Todd Gurley late against South Carolina. Instead of giving the ball to Lynch again, Seattle called for a pass play — a slant to Ricardo Lockette. The pass was picked off at the goal line by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. Ball game. It was a great finish but one that Seattle will regret through this offense. It had a chance to win a second straight Super Bowl.
3. No doubt these were two best teams: Many viewed Seattle as fortunate to make it to the Super Bowl after Green Bay botched a 12-point lead in the final minutes of the NFC championship. But this as tough a team as I’ve ever seen. The Seahawks put things together after a 3-3 start, winning nine of their last 10 games going into the playoffs and needed to make plays late to beat the Packers. On Sunday, their starting secondary was playing with three injured starters (cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas, strong safety Kam Chancellor) and they lost nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane in the first half and defensive end Cliff Avril in the second half (concussion). Still, they battled against Tom Brady and New England. It was a testament to the players, head coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (who’s headed for the Falcons).
•A writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— LIVE: — AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise — MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams — AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster — MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring — MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore — AJC: Is it Tiger time … or is Tiger Woods’ time over? — MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl — AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team — MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons) — AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!) — MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished — AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons — AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?) — MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title — AJC: Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is the norm — MyAJC: Al Horford finally past injuries and frustration with Hawks — AJC: Stall, lie, cheat — it’s the Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed — AJC: DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters — MyAJC: Walsh-Montana still top Belichick-Brady on coach-QB mountain — AJC: Seattle’s Super Bowl only delays Falcons’ hiring of Dan Quinn — AJC: Oddsmaker says Braves’ win total will be ‘low 70s’ (with reader poll) — MyAJC: Braves’ moves carry Coppolella’s fingerprints — AJC: There goes Evan Gattis as Braves take another big hit