The right team won, no remaining doubt.
But he was also out-coached. The thought in my mind as the game wound down was why doesn’t Boston call a timeout? It was certain Seattle was about to score. Therefore, although there was virtually no time left, you would think they would want all the time they could grab to run a play or two themselves. However:
Seattle took over at the Patriots’ five with 1:06 remaining. After Jermaine Kearse’s amazing catch, Seattle had wasted a timeout after getting the play in late. So Seattle had first-and-goal with one timeout remaining.
Marshawn Lynch bulled to the one. Most everyone in the stadium expected Beilchick to use one of his two timeouts, to preserve time for a possible last-second drive.
Belichick just stood there, watching the clock run.
What was he thinking?
If he calls timeout, then Seattle has the possibility of running three plays from inside the one, with their whole playbook available to them. They could run it, and if they didn’t score, run it again, knowing they could call timeout to set up a fourth down call if they didn’t score on third down.
By letting the clock run, Belichick prompted Carroll to worry about the clock. After the game, Carroll said he wanted to “waste a play” on second down. What he seemed to be saying was, his intent was to run the ball, but he wanted his second-down play, with time running down, to be a pass play, so if the Seahawks didn’t score, an incompletion would stop the clock and leave him with two plays and one timeout remaining.
Carroll also knew that if he ran on second down, the Patriots would know he would have to throw on third down, and Carroll probably wanted to avoid being that predictable.
Belichick, thinking a few moves ahead, probably anticipated Carroll wanting to pass on second down once the clock ran down, and sent a third cornerback onto the field.
When I talked to Patriots reserve cornerback Malcolm Butler last night, he said he was on the sideline for first down. He ran in when his cornerbacks coach yelled, “Goalline 3-corners.” So the Patriots had five defensive backs on the field for a play against a powerful running back from inside the one. In other words, the Patriots anticipated a pass on second down, even though Carroll was throwing on second down because he didn’t want to face a sure-passing down on third down.
That is million dollar coaching and then some.
And then there’s the most important question of all: Why Does Tom Brady Have a Menorah?
Maybe it was a gift from Brady’s brother-in-law Kevin Youkilis, the Jewish retired Red Sox first baseman who married his sister Julie in 2012. Maybe Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who, along with his late wife Myra, is known for his Jewish philanthropy, sent it over as a housewarming present (Kraft lives around the corner, and according to Leibovich encouraged his “fifth son” to move to the neighborhood). Maybe Gisele just loves Hanukkah.
Or to quote Tom Brady himself:
“We’re not Jewish,” Brady said when I asked him about this. “But I think we’re into everything. . . . I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”