Malcolm Butler jumps route, leaps into New England Patriots history

Peter King, MMQB:
Pacific Northwest: What are we doing throwing at the 1 with three shots to let Marshawn Lynch win the game?!

New England: Great play by a guy we never heard of! What a journey for Malcolm Butler. A year ago, he’s playing Shorter and Stillman and West Georgia and Florida Tech as a corner for the NCAA Division II West Alabama Tigers. Now he’s handing a fourth Super Bowl, and first in 10 years, to one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and one of the greatest coaches.

If you haven't heard of him before, you have now. Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. just redid his 2014 NFL draft board. The undrafted Butler was not even in the Top 90 players for New England when the Patriots started training camp. A bright spot for Malcolm was having his picture taken in an exhibition game against the Washington Redskins beside CB Darrelle Revis.

Using sparingly in the New England secondary for the season would be an understatement. Malcolm Butler was on the field for only 190 snaps in 18 games. He did not leave his seat on the sidelines two weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC first round matchup. It seems to reason that Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll did not change his game plan when Malcolm Butler was on the field.

With first and 10 from the Seattle 20, Russell Wilson's pass intended for WR Ricardo Lockette falls incomplete at the Seattle 45 yard line. Lockette lay on the field unable to grab the Wilson toss. The Patriots received a huge break from the officials when no flag was thrown on the play as CB Malcolm Butler had clipped the feet of Lockette as he broke free. There were still seven minutes and 48 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.

On the final Seattle drive, QB Russell Wilson fixated on the Patriots' rookie CB. The first down pass intended for WR Jermaine Kearse was broken up by Butler. Three plays later, the long Russell Wilson pass on the right sideline was tipped by Malcolm. A miraculous catch by WR Jermaine Kearse on the tipped ball as he lay sprawled on the turf moved the ball 33 yards to the New England five yard line. As Bill Belichick had mentioned, "it is a 60 minute game. Adjust. Correct problems and get them fixed."

“I knew they were going to throw it,” said Butler. “From preparation, I remembered the formation they were in and I knew they were doing a pick route.”
Why not just hand it off to RB Marshawn Lynch with 26 seconds remaining, and one timeout? Who would have thought the Seahawks would get cute and throw a fastball into tight coverage? Number 21 in your program for the Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots, that's who!!!

I was just hoping to make the team.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

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