“It was a similar ending to the Seattle game,” he said, in reference to Super Bowl XLIX. “The difference in that game, they had to score a touchdown. They were down by four [28-24]. This one, a field goal changed it, which again highlights the importance of the two-point play. Had we not hit that two-point play, then they would have just kneeled on the ball and kicked a field goal at the end.”
“There were so many big plays in that game, just go back through the fourth quarter of the game and really every play is a huge play. A difference in any of those plays in the fourth quarter -- maybe call it from the second half of the fourth quarter on, the last 7-8 minutes -- a change in any one of those plays could have affected the outcome of the game. That just, to me, showed how competitive the game was and how critical every single little thing is -- each play, each player, each call, each situation. It was a great football game. As I said, we were fortunate to make one play more than they did to win. It was a very highly competitive game against a good football team.
“I think, really, the message for us is every play is important. Every situation is important. You just have to be prepared for all of them. You never know which ones are going to come up, but being able to execute under pressure when they do, takes the other 59 minutes and 30 seconds or whatever; I’m not saying it’s meaningless, but it takes all those plays out of the game and now it comes down to just one play, or one situation, or one short period of time, a few seconds, and that determines the outcome of the game. So situational football is so critical at this time of the year.”
Funny that Belichick mentioned Super Bowl XLIX, because when Duron Harmon came down with the ball in the end zone, the first thing I thought of was the Malcolm Butler interception at the end of that game. The Juju Smith-Schuster catch and run sort of reminded me of the Marshawn Lynch wheel route on the Seahawks final drive in that it set the Seahawks up with a shorter field knowing they had about a minute left and a couple time outs.
Additionally, like Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots were down for a large portion of Sunday and scored to take the lead late.
The game on Sunday is easily one of the most memorable Patriots regular season games of all time. It rivals the 2013 game against Denver, 2007 and 2003 against Indianapolis, 1998 against the Jets and so on. I get the feeling when Belichick retires, this game will be one he talks about as one of his best.