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Yes, Malcolm Butler sealed the win for the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.  But if not for a great play by Brandon Browner, Butler never would have had a chance to be the hero.

With less than a minute remaining in the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks lined up in a three-wide-receiver set at the 1-yard line. To the right of quarterback Russell Wilson, Ricardo Lockette stood nearly directly behind another wide receiver, Jermaine Kearse, a yard back and on Kearse’s outside shoulder — an alignment commonly used on pick plays.

New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner stood across the line of scrimmage from Kearse, a couple of yards in front of Malcolm Butler, who was tasked with guarding Lockette.

For Seattle, the concept was simple. Kearse would run what is known as a clear-out route: With Browner and Butler aligned so close together (in response to the way the Seahawks’ receivers were set), Kearse’s job was to make Browner backpedal. That would block Butler from cutting across the field to cover Lockette, who was to run a slant to the inside.

You can read the full article here.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Schematically, the Seahawks made two mistakes on this critical play. The biggest mistake of course, was not running the ball. But this inside slant pattern in traffic to an inexperienced receiver just wasn’t a smart move in this particular situation. Another pattern would have been better, or even giving Wilson a running option, would have given Seattle a greater chance of success.

    Hoping Seattle would win, but New England proved to be the better team Sunday night. There were countless opportunities for the Seahawks to win both offensively and defensively, and they couldn’t get it done. A legendary defense just doesn’t surrender a ten point fourth quarter lead in the Super Bowl.

    As fans, our favorite teams have all suffered tough losses in big games. While there are valid questions about the play call, Butler and Browner deserve credit for their actions as well. Don’t think it’s a smart idea for Seahawk fans to bring up the idea of luck, crapshoot, or lottery when talking about the playoffs. Appreciate the excellent season, and hope Seattle makes the improvements needed to win the final game next season. As fans, we can’t have it both ways. When your team wins playoff games, the word luck or small sample size doesn’t come up by those fans, so it can’t be an issue when the outcome goes the other way.

    • Ty

      I’m not so sure if New England “proved” to be the better team. DVOA says that Seattle outplayed New England, and GameScripts would probably have it very close. Also, it didn’t help that Jeremy Lane and Cliff Avril went down on defense. Once Avril went down, Seattle’s pass rush was non-existant. Even good teams need some sort of luck to go their way (in this case, Seattle wasn’t so lucky with injuries, and New England, for the most part, was).

      Regardless, it was a great game.

      • sacramento gold miners

        On field performance is the only proof we have in determining who is the better team, and the scoreboard favored New England after time ran out. We’re not going to see the Super Bowl(or playoffs) morph into a best of three format. No statistical category can possibly challenge the scoreboard, often the team with the better stats loses.

        Luck cuts both ways, and the real champion is able to overcome injuries to personnel during the game. Had Seattle done more offensively in the fourth quarter, made a key catch earlier, or not been forced to settle for a FG, we’re probably talking about a different ballgame even before the terrible final call. The Hawks also received some luck on that catch inside the ten two plays before.

        It should also be noted Seattle had many events go their way against Green Bay the week before, it’s just the nature of football. Have to give the Patriots their due as the best team for the 2014 season, they proved it on the field of competition.

  • Anthony

    Its this simple: what magnifies it as the worst call in history:

    Fine. If you want to run a pick/clear out play, do it. …..BUT, you do NOT run a pick against the biggest corner (Browner) in football. The ONLY way that pick route had a shot was if Revis was on Kearse. TEN out of TEN times Browner would jam and push back Kearse. To big. To strong. You run picks when a receiver can run through a corner!!!! Not only was it an awful play, they didnt even consider the match up!!!!