New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady thought another improbable, impossible catch had once again beaten him in the Super Bowl.
But the Patriots survived Jermaine Kearse’s circus grab at the New England 5, and Brady emerged as MVP of New England’s 28-24 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Brady, who threw for 328 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, tied his boyhood hero Joe Montana with a third Super Bowl MVP award and surpassed Montana with his 13 career Super Bowl touchdown passes.
But Brady had to sweat it out again.
In 2008, it was the unforgettable, 32-yard grab by the New York Giants’ David Tyree — who caught the ball pinned against his helmet — that proved crucial in New England’s 17-14 loss at the University of Phoenix Stadium and spoiled the Patriots’ bid for a perfect 2007 season.
In 2012, it was a 38-yard catch down the sideline by the Giants’ Mario Manningham that kept alive the game-winning drive in the Patriots’ 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
This time, Kearse, lying on the ground, caught a pass that ricocheted off his right hand and left leg and into his grasp with 1:06 remaining. The Seahawks appeared primed to hand the Patriots their third straight Super Bowl loss.
But cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was the victim of the pass to Kearse, intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass intended for Ricardo Lockette in the end zone, preserving Brady’s fourth Super Bowl title in six tries.
“Well, it’s been a long journey,” Brady said. “I’ve been at it for 15 years, and we’ve had a couple of tough losses in this game. “This one came down to the end, and this time, we made the plays.”
Brady went eight for eight on the game-winning drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 2:02 remaining. Edelman caught nine passes for 109 yards.
“I saw Jules … I had an opportunity to move up in the pocket, and Jules had kind of a deep in-cut,” Brady said. “He made a great catch … took a big hit, and that was key to the whole drive.
“A lot guys made great catches. It’s a team effort. There’s never one player. We blocked great all day against a great front, made a lot of great catches and a lot of critical plays in the red zone. I’m just proud of the way we overcame it.”