Two touchdown passes from Tom Brady and a five-play 80-yard drive capped by receiver Chris Matthews 11-yard touchdown grab have the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks tied 14-14 at halftime of Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Patriots were expected to struggled against Seattle’s mighty defense, but went 5-for-8 on third down plays, with Brady going 20-for-27 for 177 yards and two scores, first to receiver Brandon LaFell and to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson hit Matthews, who tied the game with by leaping above the defense for an 11-yard goal line snag with two second left in the half.
Overcoming an interception on the New England’s first drive, Brady hit LaFell for an 11-yard touchdown with 9:47 left in the second quarter, and Gronkowski handed the Patriots the lead with a 22-yard reception with 31 second remaining in the half.
Much of Brady’s strikes went to receiver Danny Amendola and running back Shane Vereen. Amendola caught four balls for 44 yards, and Vereen racked up 42 yards on seven catches, and New England focused its aerial attack on intermediate throws. Julian Edelman has been a hot target, as well, as the Patriots offense has looked to exploit the matchup of Edelman against linebacker Bobby Wagner.
The Seattle offense couldn’t muster much momentum, but they made plays throughout the half. Totaling 167 yards, Wilson put together one solid, eight-play, 70-yard drive, capped by a barreling three-yard touchdown rush by running back Marshawn Lynch to tie the game with 2:26 left in the half.
Lynch finished the half with 45 yards on 12 carries, and while he’s been the most consistent threat for Seattle, Matthews came up with the play that might’ve saved the game.
Wilson also fired a 44-yard, diving sideline strike to Matthews that set up Lynch’s run. After 24 minutes, Wilson has completed just four passes for 84 yards, but has rushed for 24 yards.
Perhaps the most pivotal play of the game was the Seahawks' defense coming up with aturnover deep in their own territory. Brady’s interception came on the Patriots first drive near the Seattle goal line. Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane intercepted a pass intended for Gronkowski, and Lane left the game due to injury. Lane is not expected to return.