Seahawks roar back in fourth quarter, stun Patriots 24-23


Seahawks roar back in fourth quarter, stun Patriots 24-23

It was a classic demonstration of poise under pressure by one quarterback, and crumbling in the spotlight by another. Just what you'd expect when Russell Wilson faces Tom Brady.

But you'd have lost a lot of money betting on which was which Sunday in Seattle.

Wilson -- after a sterling first quarter and a humbling second and third -- was perfect in the fourth. Brady, meanwhile, could only lead the Pats to one touchdown in six trips to the red zone, threw two second-half interceptions, and failed on two attempts to close out the game in the last seven minutes.

And that gave Wilson -- aided by an absolutely pathetic Patriots secondary, which put in possibly its worst effort of the season -- the opportunity to drive the Seahawks to two touchdowns in the final 9 minutes and 22 seconds, giving Seattle the 24-23 upset over New England.

On his last three drives, Wilson passed for 109 of his 293 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice -- who was all alone behind the New England safeties -- with 1:18 to play for the game-winning TD.

"This," former Patriots defensive standout Ty Law after the game, "has to be the worst secondary in football."

Hard to argue.

Wilson was unstoppable -- at least by this defense -- in the first quarter. He had four completions of 22 yards or longer, hit 7 of his first 8 attempts for 131 yards, and had Seattle in front, 10-7, after the first 15 minutes.

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”