Keep On Keepin On
Pats Win 20th In A Row
by Chris Timoney, Patriots Insider
PHOTO: New England Patriots wide receiver David Patten (86) side steps Seattle Seahawks corner back Ken Lucas (21) as Patten heads for the end zone during second quarter action of their NFL game Sunday afternoon Oct. 17, 2004 in Foxboro Mass. (AP Photo/)
A team considered by many to be one of the NFCs finest and a Super Bowl contender, the Seattle Seahawks walked off the field at Gillette Stadium Sunday just like the 19 previous teams who faced the Patriots...in defeat.
In what was billed as a week 5 marquee matchup in the NFL the New England Patriots extended their consecutive game winning streak to 20 by downing the Seahawks 30-20. The win moves this recent edition of the Patriots into another chapter of NFL history. New England has now tied the 1933-34 Chicago Bears for consecutive regular season wins at 17.
Although the victory moves New England to 5-0 on the season and keeps them tied with the New York Jets for first place in the AFC East, coach Bill Belichick remained the same. Calmly praising his players in post-game comments, Belichick was quick to call out himself when referencing some defensive moments in the secondary. Bad coaching, period , said Belichick, Guys are wide open...I screwed it up...Players played well, bad coaching decisions.
Despite Belichicks own personal critique of his defensive play calling, it was the Patriots defense which set up New Englands early lead. Moving into Patriots territory, Seattle had the ball and seemed to be in control on the opening drive of the game. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck rebounded from an opening play sack by linebacker Willie McGinest and completed passes for 36 yards taking the Seahawks to the New England 41 yard line.
On third and 7 defensive tackle Richard Seymour pressured the pocket and tipped Hasselbecks pass attempt. The tipped ball was hauled in by McGinest who returned the ball 27 yards to the Seattle 26 yard line.
From there Brady & Co. made swift work of the Seattle defense. After completing to David Patten for 9 yards to the 17 on a quick pass on the line of scrimmage, off-season acquisition Corey Dillon took over. On second and 1 Dillon ran to the right tackle for 9 yards setting up a 1st and goal situation from the 9 yard line. Dillon would then run for 7 yards to the 2. Two plays later on third and goal Dillon barreled through the line into the endzone and the Pats were up 7-0 early.Minutes later another Hasselbeck miscue set up the Patriots second scoring opportunity. With the Patriots blitzing, Hasselbeck (27-50 for 349 yds.)felt the pressure and began to scramble. Trying to hit Darrell Jackson near midfield Hasselbeck threw his second interception of the game to Ty Law.
Taking over at the Seattle 43 the Patriots were set up for another attack run. On 3rd and 4 Tom Brady(19-30 for 231 yds., 1TD, 1INT) hit Kevin Faulk over the middle for 14 yards for the first down at the Seattle 23. A 1 yard Dillon run was all the offense New England could muster on the rest of the drive before giving way to Adam Vinatieri for a 40 yard field goal. The kick gave New England a 1st quarter 10-0 lead.
Solid coverage in the secondary and once again, like was the case for the Bills and Dolphins, penalties prevented the Seahawks from getting things going. A pass interference on wide receiver Koren Robinson (9 catches for 150 yds.) put the Seahawks in a first and 20 situation.
Four plays later they punted and New England again had possession. Again the defending champs wasted no time moving the ball. With the ball on their own 33 and time running out in the first quarter Brady connected with David Givens for 17 yards to the 50 yard line on first down. Once the second quarter began the Patriots march continued. A five play pattern of pass-run-pass-run-pass moved the ball 50 yards in 2:24 and resulted in a 6 yard touchdown pass from Brady to Patten. Just like that New England was running away with the game up 17-0 early in the second quarter.
With the game on the way to a blowout Seattles offense finally woke up, somewhat, on the ensuing drive. A few completions by Hasselbeck and runs by Shaun Alexander and Mack Strong brought Seattle down to the Patriots 15 yard line. New Englands stingy defense held the visitors to a Josh Brown field goal as Seattle got on the scoreboard at 17-3 with 9:39 remaining in the half.
The remainder of the first half became an exchange of field goals as Seattle tried to keep pace and remain in the game. Vinatieri connected from 39 yards out for his second field goal of the day putting the Pats up 20-3 with just over 3 minutes left in the half. Seattle countered just before the half on a 40 yarder by Josh Brown and headed into the locker room at the half down 20-6.
Coming out of halftime the Patriots had possession, but quickly relinquished it after going 3 and out. Seattle took advantage of New Englands out-of-the-locker room shortcomings by driving 73 yards down to the Patriots 10 yard line. On the drive Hasselbeck was able to display the arm that brought him notoriety at BC by throwing for 53 yards before an incomplete pass on 3rd and 4 forced coach Mike Holmgren to again trot out Josh Brown for another field goal attempt. Brown converted the 28 yarder field goal and the Seahawks continued to chip away at the Patriots lead trailing 20-9 with 9 minutes still remaining in the third quarter.
For the remainder of the quarter the teams exchanged punts. At > the start of the fourth quarter New England had possession just over midfield in Seattle territory. On third and 7 Brady scrambled out of the pocket in an effort to make the first down. Just as he approached the first down marker Brady was hit hard by Michael Boulware, knocking off Bradys helmet and jarring the ball loose. The fumble was recovered by defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and Seattle took over on their own 42.
The Seahawks were unable to make anything happen after the turnover, but minutes later with the Patriots on their own 32 Brady dropped back to pass on third down and had all day in the pocket. The extra time in the pocket worked against Brady as he under threw to David Givens on the left sideline and was picked off by Michael Boulware at the 45 yard line.
Hasselbeck wasted little time in getting his team towards the endzone as he completed to Koren Robinson for 23 yards down to the New England 22. An Alexander run for 13 yards brought the ball to the 9 yard line and set up a first and goal for the Seahawks. After Hasselbeck was sacked by Jarvis Green, Alexander ran by an overpursuing Rodney Harrison for the touchdown.
Down by 5 Holmgren made the decision to go for the two point conversion. On the attempt Hasselbeck found Jeremy Stevens and Seattle trailed by only a field goal, 20-17, with just over eleven minutes to go.
On the next drive New England answered Seattles late game efforts by driving 68 yards to the Seahawks 12 yard line. On the drive Brady completed a key 3rd and 10 pass to tight end Daniel Graham over the middle to keep the Pats in business. The Patriots fell short of the endzone and settled for Vinatieris third field goal of the day, a 30 yard kick that pushed New England out to a 23-17 lead with 6:43 remaining in the game.
With time a factor Seattle took possession on their own 26. A second and 7 pass play to Shaun Alexander from midfield for 24 yards moved Seattle deep into Patriots territory. An unnecessary roughness call on safety Rodney Harrison put the Seahawks in the red zone on the 13.
With momentum going their way it looked as though Seattle had a good chance of ending New Englands winning streak. Yet, much like in the early part of the game Seattle did themselves in with penalties. Matt Hasselbeck was called for intentional grounding on a 2nd and 12 play from the 15. The penalty moved Seattle back to the 25 yard line and a few plays later Josh Brown kicked his fourth field goal of the day and again the Seahawks were within 3 points at 23-20 with 3:05 remaining in the game.
Seattles late game surge and new found excitement was quickly squashed when on 3rd and 7 from their own 40 Tom Brady rolled out to the left and hit a streaking Bethel Johnson down field for 48 yards to the 12 yard line. The catch, Johnsons only of the day, was easily the play of the day as Johnson stretched out in midair to perfectly coral the ball for the reception.Holmgren challenged the play, but after review the officials confirmed the catch and New England was set up to keep their streak alive. I THINK he made a great catch, said Holmgren, unsure of the call by the officials.
Two plays later behind great blocking on the right side Dillon scored his second touchdown of the day and the Patriots lead 30-20 with just under 2 minutes to go. Dillons run was more than enough to secure the 20th victory in a row for the Patriots.
Seattle did make it down to the 1 yard line at the end of the game but failed to score and flew back to Seattle with a 3-2 record, momentarily tied for first in the NFC West as they await the outcome of St. Louis Monday night game against the Buccaneers.
Dillons 105 yards rushing was his 30th career 100 yard game. Daniel Grahams streak of games with a touchdown reception ends at 5. Seattle was only 1 for 5 in the red zone and 1 of 2 in goal-to-go situations. WR Koren Robinson entered the game leading the league in dropped passes(8) and had 2 in the game. A Patriots victory over the Jets next weekend would break the record of consecutive regular season wins(17).
Chris Timoney provides the weekly recap for each Patriots game here on the Patriots Insider. You can find Chris in the forums on PatriotsInsider.com
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