GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) – The New England Patriots are once again Super Bowl champions.
New England defeated Seattle Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Super Bowl XLIX.
Photo Gallery: Super Bowl XLIX
For quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, it’s their fourth Super Bowl win since they joined the Patriots in 2000, but their first since 2004.
Belichick was asked if he felt he would ever raise another Lombardi Trophy, given the decade drought.
“Sure did,” Belichick replied. “We got a great team. We got a lot of great players. They played well again tonight… I’m so proud of all these players. I love these guys.”
Brady was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, the third time he’s won the award.
Brady threw two interceptions in the game, but finished with four touchdowns on 37-for-50 passing for 328 yards. Two of his touchdown passes came in the final eight minutes of the game, hitting Danny Amendola from four yards out to make it 24-21 Seattle with 7:55 left. Then with just 2:02 left in the game, Brady found Julian Edelman from three yards out to put New England on top 28-24.
“It wasn’t the way we drew it up. Certainly, throwing a couple of picks didn’t help,” Brady said after the game. “It was a lot of mental toughness. Our team has had it all year. We never doubted each other, so that’s what it took. That was a great football team we beat. I’m just so happy for our team.”
Edelman finished with nine receptions for 109 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
“Tom’s the best ever,” the receiver said after the win.
Photo Gallery: Patriots Celebrate
Seattle got the ball back one more time and drove down to the New England one-yard line with under 30 seconds to play. But Russell Wilson was picked off by undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler over the middle to end Seattle’s threat.
The Patriots entered Sunday’s game after enduring two weeks of scrutiny for their use of underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game, though a report Sunday morning shed new light on “DeflateGate.” NFL.com reported that only one of the 11 footballs was a full 2 PSI under the required level, as opposed to all 11, as was initially reported by ESPN and subsequently kicked off a two-week media frenzy.
Despite the controversy and the accusations, the Patriots came together to put forth a winning effort against the NFC’s top-ranked team.
For Brady and Belichick, it’s been a long journey to capture Super Bowl No. 4. They lost Super Bowl XLII to the Giants in this very same building, losing their bid to complete a perfect 19-0 season in the process, and they lost again to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
Sunday’s game headed to halftime tied 14-14, after the Seahawks drove 80 yards in just 29 seconds. Prior to that play, the Seahawks had gained just 87 yards in the previous 29 minutes. Brady went 20-for-27 for 177 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but he was picked off at the goal line by Jeremy Lane in the first quarter, a pass which took away a scoring opportunity for the Patriots.
Russell Wilson threw just seven passes in the first half, but he made them count, completing four of them for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The Seahawks opened up a 10-point lead in the third quarter, with a short field goal following a Brady interception and a touchdown catch by Doug Baldwin. But Brady and Julian Edelman engineered a long scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter, ending with a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola to cut the lead to three points with 7:55 left to play.
Brady led a masterful scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, hitting Edelman for a three-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 28-24 lead with 2:02 left to play.
The win caps off a season that looked destined for failure after one month. The Patriots were flatted on a Monday night in Kansas City, 41-14, dropping their record to 2-2 and sending much of New England into a full-on panic. But the Patriots came out the following Sunday on national TV, on a short week, and steamrolled the 3-0 Bengals in a 43-17 blowout. It ended up being the first in a seven-game win streak, as they went 10-1 from Weeks 4-16, securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC in the process.
Their season again appeared to be on the brink of termination in the divisional round, when the Ravens twice opened up 14-point leads at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots rallied from both and again rallied from a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter to eke out a win, before blowing out the Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
With heavy snow expected in Massachusetts, the Patriots won’t return home until Monday night. But whenever they get back to Gillette, a championship celebration awaits.