This time, it was New England that couldn’t score from the one-yard line. With a remarkable goal-line stand, the Seahawks turned away the Patriots five times inside the two-yard line, including three times from the one, in the final 40 seconds and held on for a seven-lead-change, 31-24 victory Sunday night at Gillette Stadium (box).
The game boiled down to fourth-and-one from the Seattle one with 14 seconds left. The Patriots (7-2), unable to run effectively on four previous attempts to score and force overtime (or win with a two-point conversion), had QB Tom Brady throw to TE Rob Gronkowski, one-on-one with SS Kam Chancellor, just back from injury. Chancellor disrupted the route of Gronkowski, who was too busy shoving back to see the ball said over his head, ending the Pats’ last chance.
With 1:29 to play, Gronkowski nearly reached the end zone when he caught a 26-yard pass from Brady over CB Deshawn Shead at the two-yard line. But then: The Seahawks stuffed Brady, LeGarrette Blount and Brady again for no gain on consecutive plays before thwarting the final pass play.
The Seahawks improved to 6-2-1, maintaining a lead in the NFC West over Arizona, a 23-20 winner over San Francisco Sunday.
Seattle fell behind 7-0 on the first of three Blount TD runs, battled back to lead 19-14 at intermission on a pair of Russell Wilson TD throws to WR Doug Baldwin and two of Stephen Hauschka’s four field goals.
After two more lead changes, and with the Seahawks leading 25-24 following Hauschka’s fourth field goal, Chancellor came up with the first of two decisive plays.
With 8:39 remaining, Brady threw a short pass over the middle to WR Julian Edelman to the Seattle 38. Chancellor rocked Edelman with a violent hit, stripping him of the ball. CB Richard Sherman scooped it up and returned it 14 yards to the New England 48. Eight plays later on third and three at the 15, Wilson sent from an empty formation a looping toss that split two defenders and found Baldwin for the game-winning TD. A controversial try for a two-point conversion failed, but the subsequent goal-line stand rendered it moot.
Wilson completed 25 of 37 for 348 yards and three TDs without an interception for a passer rating of 124.6. The touchdowns, 6, 18 and 15 yards, went to Baldwin, who broke a five-game streak without a TD.
Wilson’s 300-yard game was his second of the season (309 vs. Jets Oct. 2) and the ninth of his career. Wilson has 26 games in his career with three or more touchdown passes and no interceptions. He also has 21 fourth-quarter comeback wins.
The Seahawks entered averaging 3.1 yards per rush, but averaged 3.7 against the Patriots, thanks to rookie RB C.J. Prosise, who finished with 66 yards in the first start of his NFL career. Prosise also caught a team-leading seven passes for 87 yards on seven targets.
Wilson targeted Baldwin eight times and connected on six for 59 yards. Baldwin’s three TDs matched his single-game high. Baldwin’s first TD, in the second quarter, came at the expense of New England CB Malcolm Butler, who made the decisive, goal-line interception in Super Bowl XLIX.
The Patriots largely took TE Jimmy Graham out of the game. Wilson targeted him four times and connected on all for 48 yards. But New England’s focus on Graham opened things up for Baldwin and Prosise.
Beaten badly in time of possession the past few weeks, the Seahawks ran 66 plays to New England’s 62, had a slight edge on the clock (30:25 to 29:35) and outgained the Patriots 420 yards to 385.
Hauschka’s blocked extra point attempt in the second quarter marked the third time this season he has had one snuffed.
Brady entered with the league’s top passer rating — 133.5 — but the Seahawks held him to 90.1 and ended New England’s streak of 258 consecutive passes this season without an interception. Shead got the pick in the second quarter, derailing the Patriots’ chance to tie the 1960 Cleveland Browns for an NFL-record nine consecutive games without an interception.
The Seahawks sacked Brady twice, including once on third down by DE Frank Clark early in the fourth quarter that forced a field goal instead of an opportunity for a touchdown.
FS Earl Thomas led Seattle with nine tackles (six solo) and LB K.J. Wright had eight stops (five solo). Chancellor had eight tackles (four solo). The Seahawks held Brady without a TD pass after he had thrown 12 in his first four games since returning from a suspension.
Although Blount ran for three touchdowns, the Seahwks held the Patriots to 2.9 rushing yards per play.
DE Michael Bennett did not play for the Seahawks (knee), but his brother, Pats TE Martellus Bennett, caught seven balls for 102 yards.
“When it got down to it, when you get a chance to win a game on the one-yard line, there ain’t nothing like it in football. It’s one of the great challenges that a team and a defense gets. And our guys just came through, and hung in there, and just fought for every inch and let us walk away with the win.” — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll
“This is a tough place to play. But we took it one play at a time and made some great plays out there. So many guys made plays for us tonight. That last touchdown catch by Doug Baldwin was pretty special.” — Wilson
“Our execution wasn’t great and they put a lot of pressure on you defensively. They have a lot of good players and they make you earn every yard. They play to the end. They have been in a lot of close games. It came down to a yard at the end and we didn’t get it.” — Brady
The Seahawks improved to 18-10-1 in their past 29 road games dating to 2013 and to 17-3-1 in prime-time under Carroll . . . The Seahawks also improved to 9-8 against the Patriots . . . Wilson has 52 regular-season wins. He moved into third place for most wins by a QB in the first five years of a career (Matt Ryan 56) . . . Seattle’s win was its first at Gillette Stadium . . . The Seahawks extended to 97 their streak of games with a lead, or within one score of the lead, in the fourth quarter
The Seahawks return to CenturyLink Field at 1:25 p.m. Sunday (FOX) to face the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat Atlanta 24-15 Sunday.