What We Learned - In the First Half  

 

Seven takeaways from the first half of Super Bowl XLIX

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Seattle Seahawks have looked like the inferior team for the second straight game. But as we learned in the NFC Championship, they are tough to put away.

The Patriots and Seahawks are tied at halftime 14-14 in Super Bowl XLIX, and the Seahawks have to be thrilled considering how the game started. At one point in the first half, Tom Brady had 14 completions and Russell Wilson had one pass attempt. And yet the Seahawks hung right in the game by playing fantastic situational football. Here's what else we learned:

1. Tom Brady has played a smart, controlled game for the most part. He has 27 pass attempts, which is often an entire game for Russell Wilson. But Brady's ugly interception in the end zone to Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane was a huge turning point. Every point is precious in the Super Bowl, and Brady gave away three points with a panicked throw under pressure to no one.

2. Lane appeared to break his arm on the play, and that was a big factor in future drives. Brady picked on Tharold Simon, Lane's replacement, to great effect on future drives.

3. Wilson didn't have his first completion until under six minutes left in the half. And then the Seahawks scored two touchdowns in the final 2:30 of the second quarter, with a quick Patriots touchdown sandwiched in between. New England cornerback Logan Ryan did a terrible job giving too much cushion to Chris Matthews on Seattle's score with only two seconds left in the half.

4. Fortune favors the bold. Great job by Pete Carroll going for the touchdown to end the half.

"Of course you take a shot there. That's what we do, man," Carroll said to receiver Doug Baldwin on the way to the Seahawks locker room, as heard by NFL Media's John Marvel.

5. Matthews didn't have a catch in his NFL career before the Super Bowl. Now he has a 44-yard leaping grab and the touchdown to end the half. The Patriots trust their cornerbacks to win one-on-one matchups, but Ryan is losing his right now.

6. The Patriots' game plan mostly worked in the first half. But they have to work a lot harder than Seattle because they aren't a big-play offense. Seattle has just as many throws over 20 yards despite throwing 20 fewer attempts.

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