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Subject: DDF Replay: 2014 NFL Season, Super Bowl 49 rss

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Andrew S. Fischer
United States
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A few days ago, a friend and I wrapped up our DDF replay of the 2014 NFL season. Most of the season was played computer vs. computer, but all the playoff games were played human vs. human. Interestingly, the Super Bowl combatants turned out to be New England and Seattle, the same as in the real-life matchup. At the end of the DDF season, the Patriots had finished 11-5 and the Seahawks 13-3.

Seattle (SEA) kicked off and New England (NE) went three and out. A great punt and a missed fair catch put SEA on its 13-yard line, whereupon SEA moved swiftly downfield in nine plays, capping the drive with a 7-yard end run for a touchdown. A highlight of the drive was a short pass which broke for over 20 additional yards after the catch, 32 in all. SEA 7, NE 0.

NE did a bit better on its next drive, gaining a first down, but QB Tom Brady was obviously off his game, completing just 1 of 4 during the series. A 59-yard punt and a SEA fair catch set up the 'Hawks at their 8-yard line this time, and QB Russell Wilson missed on two passes and scrambled out of the pocket for just 4 yards. Three and out. A 46-yard punt was returned nicely for 14, and NE took over at the SEA 44.

NE drove to the SEA 25 in six plays, with all 19 yards gained on the ground. Brady went 0 for 2 on this drive, under consistent pressure from the SEA pass rush. The 43-yard field goal attempt was good, and the score was now 7-3 SEA.

NE's kickoff was returned by SEA to its 29-yard line. After two plays the quarter ended, and SEA faced a 3rd and 5 at its own 36. A surprise off tackle run plus a NE holding penalty netted 10 yards and a SEA first down. After a SEA illegal motion penalty, Wilson went long -- and connected for a 59-yard touchdown. Score: SEA 14, NE 3.

After a kickoff and touchback, NE picked up two first downs in seven plays, including a 26-yard pass downfield, but the Pats still had to punt with 4th and 11 at the SEA 43-yard line. After a three and out SEA also punted, but at this point in the game it was clear that SEA could move the ball a lot better than its opponent.

After picking up one first down, NE failed on a fourth and 3 at the SEA 40, turning the ball over on downs. After three plays, 10 yards and a first down at midfield, Wilson went deep downfield and was intercepted, with NE returning it big time -- 60 yards down to the SEA 13. Despite NE's sudden new life, the offense could only manage a field goal after three plays from scrimmage. SEA 14, NE 6.

SEA started on its 23 this time, and on its first play an innocent-looking sweep turned into a 77-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch which put a shocking end to NE's solid performance against SEA's run game. Point good. SEA 21, NE 6.

With 1:40 left in the half, NE moved 40 yards but turned the ball over on downs for the second time just as the gun sounded. It looked pretty bleak for NE. Its defense wasn't doing well and Brady was getting banged up. However, things would change in the second half.

In the third quarter, both defenses dominated, yielding a total of just four first downs, zero points and forcing seven punts. At the start of the fourth quarter, NE had the ball at midfield after a 17-yard Brady completion downfield. Two more followed in succession for 40 yards and the Pats had first and goal at the SEA 10-yard line. Three plays later, a 5-yard pass cut SEA's lead to 21-13 with 12:10 left in the game.

At its 22, Wilson tried a long pass, only to be intercepted a second time. NE had the ball back at SEA's 45 and plenty of time, but after picking up a first down Brady was sacked twice and NE punted. From its 16-yard line SEA drove to the NE 25 in seven plays, and on third and 1 chose to try a 43-yard field goal. With a little over four minutes left in the game, it was a good bet to close the door on NE, who would then need a TD, 2-point conversion and a field goal to tie the game. Unfortunately, placekicker Hauschka (11 of 17 during the regular season over 40 yards) missed.

NE took over at its 33, and in eleven plays a vintage Tom Brady drove his team to 6 points with a 4-yard pass, with 40 seconds left in the game. SEA 21, NE 19. Now Brady had to find a way to make a 2-point conversion against the toughest defense in the league to tie the score. He did, with a short pass, sending the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time ever. Needless to say, the stadium went wild.

SEA won the toss and its offense took the field after a touchback. After eight plays the team had a first and goal at the NE 4-yard line. Wilson had completed six of six passes, all shorts and screens, and five of them added solid post-catch yardage resulting in gains of 10 yards or more. It looked like a quick exit for NE, but an end run was shut down for 0 yards, then an illegal motion penalty and an incomplete pass made it 3rd and goal from the 9. Wilson tried a QB draw but was 4 yards short. A SEA field goal from 22 yards provided some consolation. SEA 24, NE 21.

NE took over at its 20, needing a field goal to stay in the game. On a fourth and five on its own 25 yard-line, NE failed to convert -- but a holding penalty on SEA kept the drive alive. Brady mixed runs and passes for another 20 yards, and on 3rd and 1 SEA was tagged with a personal foul to put the ball on SEA's 32. Four plays later, on fourth down and 1 yard to go, a 41-yard field goal tied the game with just over a minute left in the overtime period. SEA 24, NE 24.

SEA essentially "ran" out the quarter while hoping to break a couple of short passes, then was forced to kick to NE to start double-overtime. All the momentum was NE's, once again at its 20-yard line after a touchback.

Unfortunately, RB LeGarrette Blount was stoned on a sweep for an 8-yard loss on first down, a short pass was held to 0 yards, and Brady's fifth straight incomplete bomb forced a punt. The punt was a booming 58-yarder, and a pointless holding penalty on the fair catch pushed SEA back to its 20 yard-line.

A QB draw play clicked for 15 yards on SEA's second down, then six passes (including a 23-yarder) and a pair of runs saw SEA at NE's 24-yard line with a fourth and eight. The field goal team trotted out to attempt a game-clinching 42-yarder, but Hauschka missed again.

NE took over with great field position, and immediately enjoyed a 13-yard pass interference penalty by SEA. A first down delayed run lost 4 yards, but a nice catch and run on a short pass picked up 13 yards, setting up a third and 1. Eschewing the run, Brady took a short drop, but SEA's defensive line got to him for the fifth time on the day, a 9-yard sack, before he could even think about throwing the ball. It was the biggest play of the game. NE's punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback.

With almost six minutes left in the second overtime period, SEA deftly mixed runs and passes against an exhausted Patriot defense. And it was NE's turn to commit bad penalties -- a pass interference call 36 yards downfield, and a holding call which set up SEA at the NE 2-yard line. The Patriots didn't quit, however. It took SEA three running plays to get those final two yards, as Wilson's 1-yard touchdown ended what will surely be remembered as the longest and most exciting Super Bowl ever played.


Team 1 2 3 4 OT F
2014 SEA 7 14 0 0 9 30
2014 NE 3 3 0 15 3 24

Total Net Yds 533 333
Total Plays 86 92
Avg. Gain 6.2 3.6

Net Yards Rushing 189 78
Rushes 34 32
Avg. Gain 5.6 2.4
Long 77 8
TDs 3 0

Net Yards Passing 344 255
Comp-Att-Int 35-50-2 28-55-0
Avg. Gain 6.6 4.3
Long 59 26
TDs 1 2
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-17 5-34

First Downs 27 24
Rushing 8 5
Passing 18 15
Penalty 1 4

Punts-Avg. 6-42.2 9-45.4
Inside 20 0 6

Return Yards 68 99
Punt Rets-Yards 1-9 2-19
Kick Rets-Yards 3-59 1-20
INT Rets - Yards 0-0 2-60
TDs 0 0

Field Goals Made-Att 1-3 3-3

Third Down Eff 7-17 10-25
Fourth Down Eff 0-0 1-3

Penalties-Yards 10-73 5-53
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Time of Possession 46:00 43:50

---------------- Quarter 1 ----------------
07:00 SEA 7 yd. run TD 7 - 0

13:50 NE 43 yd. attempt FG 7 - 3

---------------- Quarter 2 ----------------
00:20 SEA 59 yd. pass TD 14 - 3

13:00 NE 29 yd. attempt FG 14 - 6

13:20 SEA 77 yd. run TD 21 - 6

---------------- Quarter 4 ----------------
02:40 NE 5 yd. pass TD 21 - 13

14:20 NE 2 yd. pass TD 21 - 21

---------------- Quarter 5 ----------------
06:40 SEA 22 yd. attempt FG 24 - 21

13:50 NE 41 yd. attempt FG 24 - 24

---------------- Quarter OT ----------------
14:50 SEA 1 yd. run TD 30 - 24
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