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Halftime analysis: Patriots 14, Seahawks 14

02.01.15 at 8:04 pm ET
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GLENDALE, Ariz. –€” Two quarters are in the books here at University of Phoenix Stadium, and the game is tied at 14.

Tom Brady is 20-for-27 for 177 yards, with two touchdowns and one pick. LeGarrette Blount had 10 carries for 37 yards and Danny Amendola had four catches for 44 yards, while Rob Gronkowski had three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Russell Wilson is 4-for-7 for 84 yards and a touchdown. In addition, Marshawn Lynch had 12 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown and Chris Matthews had two catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. Brady now has 51 career postseason touchdown passes, the most in NFL history.

Here are a few quick notes:

— The high point of the first half for the New England offense came early in the second quarter. That’€™s when Brady pout together a masterful nine-play, 65-yard drive that took 4:10 and ended with a neat little in-cut to Brandon LaFell that went for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 with 9:47 left in the first half. The play opened up after Brady executed a perfect play-action fake to Blount that froze the secondary. A really well-executed sequence that led to a score for the Patriots.

— New England added to that with a really sharp drive at the end of the first half. Following a second-quarter score by the Seahawks, Brady guided the Patriots on an eight-play, 80-yard drive that took 1:45 and ended with a 22-yard floater from Brady to Gronkowski to make it 14-7 with 31 seconds left in the second quarter. Twenty-six of the yards on the drive came from Shane Vereen, including a 16-yard pass play to the back that got the Patriots down to the Seattle 27-yard line.

— Wilson didn’€™t attempt a single pass until the 14:21 mark of the second quarter. Part of that was situational, but at the same time, there was some terrific work in coverage by the New England secondary, which fundamentally shut everything down. The Seahawks were left to rely on their ground game, and while it was one of the best in the league over the course of the regular season, Lynch and the Seahawks struggled to find consistency running the ball in the early going. (It also appeared that Jamie Collins was working as a spy on Wilson, at least in a part-time role.)

— €” The Seahawks were able to get something going offensively late in the second quarter when Wilson found little used Mathews for a 44-yard gain that jumpstarted the Seattle offense. It was an impressive pass play where Wilson went over the top at the expense of cornerback Kyle Arrington on a really nice pass down the right side of the field. Three plays later, the Seahawks punched in their first touchdown of the evening, a 3-yard touchdown run from Lynch with 2:16 left in the half to make it 7-7. Lynch accounted for 25 of the 70 yards on that drive for the Seahawks.

— The low point of the first half for the New England offense came in the first quarter, when it wasted a great chance at putting some points on the board with a Brady pick. The Patriots got into the red zone with a really impressive drive that feature some nice balance, including good work by Blount and Vereen, each of whom picked up a first down on the drive. (The series went 13 plays and 58 yards in all.) Then came an awful misfire on the part of the quarterback, who was picked off by Jeremy Lane on the goal line on a ball intended for Edelman. (Lane was carted off with what the team called an arm injury ‘€” he was listed as questionable to return, but given the way the injury looked, it’€™s safe to say he’€™s done for the evening.)

–€” The low point of the first half for the defense came at the end of the second quarter when Wilson hit Matthews again on an 11-yard pass play with two seconds left in the half to tie the game at 14. It was a bold move on the part of the Seahawks to go for the end zone instead of going for a field goal and it paid off as Wilson and Matthews connected at the expense of Logan Ryan.

— The Patriots did not appear to suffer any injuries in the first half.

Read More: Super Bowl XLIX,

Tom Brady on NBC: All Deflategate facts will come out after Super Bowl

02.01.15 at 4:45 pm ET
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Speaking on the NBC pregame show in an interview taped earlier in the week, Tom Brady sat down with Bob Costas where he was asked a few questions on Deflategate.

“I’ve talked about that in the past, and I don’t want that to continue to be a story this particular game,” said Brady. “All the facts will come out after the Super Bowl. However the facts come out that will be news to me as well. That process will all take place at some point. I am excited about the Super Bowl and that is where my focus is.

“I think there was an energy drain with my emotions and feelings being involved early in the week. You have to be able to move past those things and compartmentalize those things and be mentally tough out there to move through.”

Brady is aware of the past history with the Patriots and Spygate, but said he is focused on the Super Bowl and wants all the facts to come out before commenting on the matter.

“I’d like to just wait for the facts to come out before talking about any of those things,” Brady said. “In some ways to make judgements on things I know nothing about is not really fair to whatever the process ends up being. We’re under tough scrutiny. We’ve won a lot of games and people are very critical of what we do.

“They are critical of what a lot of teams do. That is part of being in this profession, you have to take the good with the bad. I’m OK with it. Our team is OK with it. We’ve had great focus this week and hopefully our best is going to come through Sunday night. That is where our focus is going to me.”

The quarterback said he can understand why he’s been under a lot of scrutiny, but says those people don’t know his beliefs and what he’s all about.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and when you play for one NFL team, there are 31 other NFL teams out there and they are probably not much of a fan of you,” he said. “If people what to feel the way they feel, I have no problem, with that. They are certainly entitled to those beliefs and those feelings. I realize it’s not about me, not a lot of people know who I am and what I am about. The people that do, they do know what I am about and what I stand for.”

“Absolutely. I can understand why people feel that way,” he added. “There is an investigation going on. I am sure all those things will come out. It’s been a lot of speculation and that’s what led to my hurt feelings. Hopefully the facts come out and we understand whatever happened, happened and it is not going to affect this game and we can move forward.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady,

RB Jonas Gray among inactives for Patriots in Super Bowl matchup with Seahawks

02.01.15 at 4:39 pm ET
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GLENDALE, Ariz. –€” The Patriots announced the following players were inactive for Sunday’€™s Super Bowl matchup with the Seahawks: running backs Jonas Gray and James White; wide receivers Brian Tyms and Josh Boyce; offensive lineman Jordan Devey and defensive linemen Zach Moore and Joe Vellano.

No real surprises here, at least from a personnel standpoint, as all appear to be healthy scratches. One thing to look for is the fact that offensive lineman Cameron Fleming is active and ready to go ahead of someone like Tyms –€” it could be a sign that the Patriots are inclined to go with more of a run-heavy set with six offensive linemen as needed.

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Read More: Jonas Gray, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX

Setting the Super Bowl scene in Glendale: Patriots look for first Super Bowl title in 10 years vs. Seahawks

02.01.15 at 1:12 pm ET
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The stage is set for the Patriots and Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz. (Mike Petraglia/

The stage is set for the Patriots and Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz. (Mike Petraglia/

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As was the case seven years ago, when the Patriots last took the field here at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather won’t be an issue as the retractable roof is expected to be closed for Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks. Weather outside would be ideal for a football game as the forecast is calling for sunshine and 67 degrees. The weather is a nice reward for those in town after one of the wettest weeks in years in Phoenix.

The game will be played on the natural grass surface that has been grown outdoors and rolled in for the game.

The Patriots only other experience in the building came on Feb. 3, 2008 when the Giants beat the Patriots, 17-14, to win Super Bowl XLII and end the Patriots’ bid at a perfect season.

The Patriots enter the game with a chance to join the Giants and Packers as franchises with four Super Bowl titles. Pittsburgh has won six, while Dallas and San Francisco have won five apiece.

The Patriots are also trying to avoid making some dubious history. If they lose, they will match the Broncos for the most losses (5) in the big game. Currently, the Bills, Vikings and Patriots are just behind the Broncos with four Super Bowl losses. Of course, the Patriots are the only ones with four losses that have actually won a Super Bowl.

The Patriots are 3-4 in their seven previous trips while the Bills and Vikings are each 0-4.

The Patriots head into this game as healthy as they have been all season, with seven players officially listed as probable for the game, including starting center Bryan Stork, who was upgraded to probable from questionable on Saturday afternoon. The Seahawks have three key injuries worth monitoring in their secondary as Richard Sherman (elbow), Earl Thomas (shoulder) and Kam Chancellor (knee) practiced this week. Sherman and Thomas were banged up in the NFC title game while Chancellor tweaked his knee on Friday. All three are expected to start and play.

Read More: New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX,

Report: Only 1 ball from AFC championship was 2 PSI low, others just ‘a tick’ below regulation

02.01.15 at 12:11 pm ET
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Bill Belichick speaks Monday at the team headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. (Mike Petraglia/

Bill Belichick speaks Monday at the team headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. (Mike Petraglia/

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As the Patriots prepare to take the field for Super Bowl XLIX, they are apparently looking more and more like winners in the Deflategate saga.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, only one of the 12 balls used by the Patriots in the AFC championship was a full 2 PSI below regulation while the other 11 found to be below spec were only “a tick” below regulation.

This news contradicts a report from Chris Mortensen two days after the AFC title game that 11 of the balls were found to be as much as a full 2 PSI below regulation.

There is an ongoing investigation being conducted by Ted Wells into how the balls were handled before the AFC championship game and if there were serious protocol violations by the Patriots. Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounded a confident tone Monday night upon the team’s arrival in Phoenix, expressing his support of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and demanding an apology from the league if the report clears the team.

In his state of the league address on Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell said he’s not drawn any conclusions and will let the report speak for the league.

But the more that comes out, the more it appears the Patriots will be vindicated. Here is more from Rapoport on Sunday morning:

  • Prior to the game, a game-day worker employed by the Patriots, a man described as elderly, took two bags of 12 footballs (one bag from each team) into the restroom near the referees’ room in Gillette Stadium. The man was in the room for 98 seconds. When he exited the room, he took the balls to the field. There is video of the man entering and exiting the bathroom, but it’s unclear if there is a clear shot inside the restroom. Read the rest of this entry »
  • Read More: Deflategate, New England Patriots, roger goodell, Super Bowl XLIX

    Report: Seahawks offer Marshawn Lynch megadeal

    02.01.15 at 11:54 am ET
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    GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Seahawks apparently want to keep Marshawn Lynch around.

    According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the tempestuous running back known for his silent treatment of the media and his crotch-grabbing backward dives into the end zone has been offered a contract by the Seahawks that would make him the second highest running back in the game behind Adrian Peterson.

    The deal is believed to include more than $10 million for Lynch in the 2015 season alone. Lynch currently is slated to make $5 million in 2015, the final year of what originally was a four-year, $31 million deal. The Seahawks believe that Lynch, who has rushed for at least 1,200 yards in each of the past four seasons, has outplayed his contract, sources say. They want to reward him for his work, according to Rapoport.

    The new deal for Lynch has been a topic of discussion between Lynch’s agent Doug Hendrickson and the Seahawks for the last several weeks. He’s the heart-and-soul of their team, which they recognize, and they want him to retire in Seattle.

    What makes this fascinating is that sources close to Lynch have said there’s a very good chance he will retire if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl tonight.

    This is also remarkable for another reason. Midway through the season there were multiple reports that the Seahawks had grown tired of his act and were ready to let him walk away after this season. After his production this season and his performance in the playoffs, the team has apparently had a change of heart.

    Read More: Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks

    Report: Jets, Bills interested in Darrelle Revis

    02.01.15 at 11:11 am ET
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    PHOENIX — The Super Bowl hasn’t begun yet, and there is already discussion as to where Darrelle Revis might play next season.

    The star cornerback has a $20 million team option with New England for next season, and a report came out this week that the team might be interested in paying that, but Sunday morning it was learned that two AFC East teams are also interested in his services.

    According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, both the Jets and Bills are interested in Revis. With this Bills he would reunite with old coach Rex Ryan, and the Jets are already reportedly being investigated for tampering with him last month.

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    Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Darrelle Revis, Super Bowl XLIX,


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