Seahawks have sour meeting of last game with Patriots
Memories, sweet and sour.
The last time the Seahawks and Patriots were on the same field, Malcolm Butler was making a Super Bowl-saving play for New England. His goal-line interception robbed Seattle of a rare second straight NFL crown and gave Tom Brady his record-tying fourth in the Super Bowl era.
They meet in Foxborough with both in solid position to chase another championship, the Patriots (7-1) more so than the Seahawks (5-21).
Butler certainly doesn’t mind seeing highlights of his interception, something NBC can’t avoid showing Sunday night.
“You know, it always does whenever I think back on it,” Butler says of smiling at the remembrance. “But that’s not going to help us win this game. This is bigger than me. It’s about this team. And that play will not help us Sunday night. So we got to be ready to play.”
Since Tom Brady returned from his four-game suspension, he’s been as ready as at any time of his Hall of Fame-caliber career. He recalls the 2015 Super Bowl as being “in a tough spot against a great, great football team and we pulled it out.”
“It took every blade of grass on that field to keep them from scoring. In 2014, they were an incredible team.”
Seattle isn’t incredible right now , but the Seahawks tend to build throughout the season. A win at New England will be a major step in that process.
“Everything that you go through gives you a chance to learn, so we certainly go back and watch all that stuff and how they looked at us and how we looked at them,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says of that bitter Super Bowl loss. “Just like we looked at all the rest of the games, we pay a lot of attention to what’s going on now and some of the names and the faces are the same, but quite a few of them aren’t. We have to figure all that out.”
The action began Thursday night with Baltimore’s 28-7 victory over Cleveland that left the winless Browns at a historic low point in franchise history.
Cleveland (0-10) has opened a season with 10 consecutive losses for the first time since joining the NFL in 1950. The Browns have lost 11 straight on the road since winning in Baltimore in October 2015.
Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes for Baltimore (5-4).
Off this week are Detroit (5-4), Buffalo (4-5), Indianapolis (4-5) and Oakland (7-0).
Kansas City (6-2) at Carolina (3-5)
Sure, the Panthers have a much inferior record to the Chiefs. And KC has won 16 of its last 18 regular-season matches.
Yet there’s a feeling that the Panthers are beginning to get things in order with two straight wins. If they can avoid turnovers — the Chiefs are an NFL-best plus-13 in turnover margin and lead the league in takeaways with 20 — they could still get in the playoff mix.
“The season’s not over yet. You’re speaking as if this is a wash season,” Cam Newton told reporters this week. “We’re right where we want to be. We’re in a position to compete and challenge teams and they know that.”
Dallas (7-1) at Pittsburgh (4-4)
The Cowboys seek an eighth straight victory, which would tie their 1977 team for the longest single-season winning streak in club history. That team won the Super Bowl. This one has gained at least 400 yards in a franchise-record six consecutive games.
Players to watch are two of the game’s best targets. Dallas tight end Jason Witten needs five receptions to pass Andre Johnson for ninth on all-time list (1,062). Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is 12 receptions from passing Heath Miller for second on the franchise list (592).
Atlanta (6-3) at Philadelphia (4-4)
A big assignment for the slumping Eagles, who have dropped three straight to Atlanta. Philly’s secondary has been a sieve — Eli Manning tore it up for four TDs last week — and now it takes on Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the NFL’s second-ranked offense.
Also ominous for the hosts is that the Falcons have found a pass rush. But the Eagles have scored 20plus points in 10 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Minnesota (5-3) at Washington (4-3-1)
Although they don’t meet up that often, this is one of the NFL’s best and tightest series, tied 12-12.
It’s also a matchup of Minnesota’s strong defense, ranked third, and Washington’s No. 4 offense.
The issues for the Vikings, losers of three in a row, are when they have the ball or when they are kicking it. The offense has stagnated with the line a jumbled mess and no rushing attack, and ranks at the bottom. Blair Walsh is having a mysteriously poor place-kicking season.
Washington surely will miss standout LT Trent Williams, who begins serving a four-game suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Denver (6-3) at New Orleans (4-4)
Another top defense — Denver is fourth overall, No. 1 against the pass — going up against a dangerous offense. Drew Brees, having another sensational season, leads the NFLs’ best passing attack.
“You look at it, and you’re like, ‘another top offense,”’ Broncos linebacker Shane Ray says. “But it’s another opportunity to be great. It’s another opportunity to go out and compete against someone that is looked at as the best. It’s a challenge we want every week.”
New Orleans rekindled its running game a week ago against San Francisco, rushing for a season-high 248 yards. Mark Ingram rushed for 158 yards, including a career-long 75yard TD.
New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., in 2015.