SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Super Bowl XLIX features two of the smarter coaches in the NFL. Pete Carroll replaced the legendary Bill Parcells in 1997 and lasted three seasons with the New England Patriots. He was replaced by their current coach, Bill Belichick, in 2000. And while they share certain aspects of their NFL lives in common, they go about deploying their team very differently.
First and 10
Seattle boasted the best rushing attack in the league, so it is no surprise that they run 59 percent of the time on first and ten, more than either the Patriots or the league as a whole. Despite the focus on the run, they pick up almost the same amount of yards and first downs per play as the Patriots. However, that comes at the price of turning the ball over more than three times as frequently as New England.
Second and short (three yards or less)
Again, Seattle focuses on running the football, with 75 percent of their plays coming on the ground, mostly in the form of Marshawn Lynch. Lynch averages 4.6 yards in these situations, and helps the Seahawks pick up a first down half the time, so it is hard to argue with the results.
The Patriots, on the other hand, go with a more balanced attack, rushing the football on 56.4 percent of these plays. When they do put the ball in the air, tight end Rob Gronkowski has caught five of his six targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. And tight ends have given the Seahawks trouble in terms of scoring.
Second and long (eight yards or more)
This is where Tom Brady starts slinging the football. Belichick and his coaches call for a pass more than two thirds of the time (69.5 percent) but get the first down close to the league average.
The Seahawks also look toward the air, but not as much. They run the ball 46.7 percent of the time when the league average is 33.7 percent. However, Lynch isn’t just used in Beast Mode: he has been targeted 12 times in these situations and made 10 catches for 85 yards and a score.
Third down and short (three yards or less)
During third and short, the Patriots are as balanced as they get. They have run 78 plays during the regular season and have an even 50/50 split between run and pass. Gronkowski is the most likely target here, catching seven of his nine targets (team high).
The Seahawks again rely heavily on the running game (66.7 rush percentage), giving Lynch 19 of the 34 carries. Six of those have come in the red zone, and Lynch has scored on three of those.
Third down and long (eight yards or more)
Russell Wilson gets the call for Seattle, passing on 79.4 percent of plays where they need eight or more yards on third down. Doug Baldwin is his go-to receiver, catching 15 of 19 targets for 255 yards. No other receiver was targeted more than nine times.
If the Seahawks do run the ball, it is more likely to be Wilson (11 carries) than Lynch (seven carries). Wilson has also been more productive on those runs.
Tom Brady passes the ball almost eight out of every 10 opportunities (79.8 percent) and spreads the ball around quite a bit.
Patriots running back Shane Vereen is key in these situations, catching all five of his targets and averaging almost eight yards a carry (7.7 yards per attempt).