Seahawks stop Cam Newton, Patriots on final play to win 35-30

Sep 20, 2020, 6:00 PM | Updated: 10:49 pm

The Seahawks’ huge Week 2 battle with the New England Patriots may end up reading like a particularly important chapter in the team’s story of redemption in 2020.

Seahawks 35, Patriots 30: Quick Hits | Instant Reaction | Box score

Seattle got in its own way with penalties, including one that cost it one of its best defensive players for the game. It lost two key players to injuries. And in the end, its defense had to come up with one final play to defeat six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Belichick’s team.

The Seahawks got that play as they sweat out a 35-30 win in their home opener in front of an empty CenturyLink Field.

With 1:42 to go, New England quarterback Cam Newton was given the ball against a Seattle defense running out of gas. Newton led his team all the way down to the 2-yard line, but with time left on the clock for just one last play, the Seahawks knew Newton was going to run it himself. They took care of business with second-year defensive end L.J. Collier flipping Newton for the tackle as time expired.

The shaky defense at the end of the game – New England scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter – potentially overshadows another strong offensive performance by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Wilson had five touchdowns and 288 yards on 21 of 28 passing, and the running game had a huge effort with 154 yards on 30 attempts, led by Chris Carson (17 carries, 72 yards) and Wilson (five for 39).

It was a rocky start for the Seahawks, as the second play from scrimmage was a pass that bounced off of tight end Greg Olsen’s hands and turned into a pick-six for the Patriots. But while the score was tied at halftime, that was at least partially a result of several mistakes by Seattle, and it was apparent the Hawks had more offensive firepower both in the game and compared to their team a year ago.

In the third quarter, the Seahawks took control with a key sack by Jamal Adams, the first interception of the year for new cornerback Quinton Dunbar and two of Wilson’s five TD passes on the night.

New England hung around in the fourth, however, as Seattle’s defense struggled to keep up with the pace it had set earlier in the game.

O’Neil: Seahawks, Patriots add yet another thrilling finish from 1 yard out

The Seahawks move to 2-0 on the season, and it’s clear they’re in the toughest division in football. The four NFC West teams are a combined 7-1 through the first two weeks, with the only loss coming from the San Francisco 49ers falling in Week 1 to the Los Angeles Rams, another NFC West team.

Seattle finished the game without three key members of its defense. Safety Quandre Diggs was ejected in the first quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit, and both nickel cornerback/safety Marquise Blair and defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin appeared to suffer serious knee injuries – Blair in the second quarter and Irvin in the fourth.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the Seahawks’ victory.

First quarter

Seahawks 7, Patriots 7

Well, it could have started better for Seattle.

On just the second play from scrimmage, Wilson threw his first interception of the season, though the ball hit off the hands of Olsen before it landed in the grip of cornerback Devin McCourty. There was nothing but open field in front of McCourty after the pick, and he returned it 43 yards for a touchdown, giving New England an unexpected early 7-0 lead.

To the Seahawks’ credit, that lead didn’t last long.

Wilson and company reeled off a 13-play, 75-yard TD drive that was keyed on by Tyler Lockett, who had three catches for 29 yards, including a 4-yard score. Those receptions helped make up for a 15-yard illegal blindside block penalty Lockett was flagged for during the series.

Other than the interception, Wilson completed every throw he attempted in the first quarter (6 for 7).

There was more bad news to come for Seattle, though. Diggs was ejected from the game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New England receiver N’Keal Harry, leaving the Seahawks without one of their top defensive players for the rest of the night.

The Patriots had the ball inside the red zone on their first offensive series as the quarter ended, and Newton ran it in for a touchdown to make it 14-7 shortly after the second quarter started.

NE – Devin McCourty 43 interception return (Nick Folk kick), 13:48
SEA – Tyler Lockett 4 pass from Russell Wilson (Jason Myers kick), 5:27

Second quarter

Seahawks 14, Patriots 14

The first half was full of mistakes and bad breaks for the Seahawks, so the fact that they took a tie into halftime was actually somewhat of a great sign.

The worst break for Seattle was an apparent knee injury to Blair, which was especially significant because he had just taken over at free safety after Blair’s ejection. It didn’t take long for the Seahawks to rule out Blair, who entered the season as their No. 1 nickel cornerback, for the rest of the game, and while I wouldn’t speculate the exact injury, you can probably draw your own conclusions as to the severity of it.

The blow to Blair happened after the Patriots moved into a 14-7 advantage just a few plays in the quarter as Newton plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run to cap off a 12-play, 72-yard drive.

But this is where Seattle seemed to show that for all of the penalties it had made and players it had lost for the day, it at least has more firepower than New England. Then again, that shouldn’t be a surprise when you have players who can do this.

That beauty of a 54-yard touchdown pass saw Wilson drop a perfect throw into the hands of DK Metcalf, getting through the hands of Stephon Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who Metcalf beat on his route.

It doesn’t get much prettier than that.

The Patriots had a chance to move back into the lead on the following series, but Nick Folk was off the mark on a 51-yard field goal attempt.

Seattle had one more offensive series but eventually punted, and Michael Dickson worked his magic with a 54-yard kick that was downed at the 2. Two plays later, the teams hit the break.

At halftime, the Seahawks had committed seven penalties, accounting for 53 yards, and the Patriots had just one for 5 yards. And yet Seattle still was able to keep the score deadlocked.

NE – Cam Newton 1 run (Folk kick), 13:59
SEA – DK Metcalf 54 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 7:06 

Third quarter

Seahawks 28, Patriots 17

Another quarter, another incredible connection between Wilson and one of his receivers.

This time it was David Moore on the catch, hauling in a 38-yard toss that was equally as impressive of a play by both the QB and receiver.

And yes, the officials took a close look at the TD and confirmed that it was indeed on the up and up.

That put Seattle ahead 21-17 just three minutes after New England had to settle for a short field goal following a Jamal Adams sack of Newton, the first of the day for the Seahawks and the second in as many games for Seattle’s new star safety.

Adams wasn’t the only offseason addition to Seattle’s secondary to make a big play in the third. After having a few close calls earlier in the game, Dunbar picked off Newton for his first interception as a Seahawk, giving Seattle the ball at its own 48 with 4:30 left in the quarter.

The Seahawks didn’t waste the opportunity that takeaway presented. Five plays later they were in the end zone, Wilson finding rookie Freddie Swain – who looked like a carbon copy of Seattle’s No. 1 receiver Tyler Lockett on the play – for a 21-yard score, the first of Swain’s NFL career. That put the Hawks up 28-17 with two minutes to go in the frame.

While the passing game accounted for all four Seattle TDs to that point, the running game deserved a lot of credit, as well. The Seahawks had 126 yards on 23 carries in the first three quarters, with running back Chris Carson leading the way with 53 yards in 12 carries. Wilson also had 39 yards on five attempts, including a game-long 21-yard run.

The Patriots, who relied on the run in a Week 1 win over Miami, weren’t having the same kind of success. They had 18 carries for 44 yards in the first three quarters.

NE – Nick Folk 25 FG, 10:16
SEA – David Moore 38 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 7:04
SEA – Freddie Swain 21 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 2:00

Fourth quarter

Seahawks 35, Patriots 30

In the third quarter, the Seahawks started rolling and looked like they were going to coast to a victory.

New England wasn’t going to let it be that easy, however.

The Pats sliced through Seattle’s defense on a six-play, 77-yard drive and got into the end zone on a short pass from Newton to fullback Jakob Johnson, cutting the Seahawks’ lead to just five points (New England attempted a two-point conversion, a Newton run that failed).

When Seattle got the ball back, it was prevented from getting a first down for the first time all night and had to punt for just the third time in the game, giving the Patriots a chance to re-take the lead. The Seahawks’ defense stood tall, however, forcing a punt from the New England 29 after six plays.

Seattle extended its lead with an 18-yard TD pass from Wilson to Carson, but the Patriots hung around with a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off by Newton’s second 1-yard TD run of the night.

The Seahawks left the door open for the Pats, as they punted the ball back to New England inside the final two minutes. Newton led the Patriots all the way to the 2, with Harry making a catch to put them on the doorstep, but he was immediately tackled by Dunbar. And on the final play, it was Collier making the biggest play yet of his young NFL career to seal the narrow victory for Seattle.

NE – Jakob Johnson 1 pass from Newton (run failed), 14:14
SEA – Chris Carson 18 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 4:32
NE – Newton 1 run (Folk kick), 2:16

Follow’s Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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