Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who made the game-saving interception to beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX, got benched Sunday for Super Bowl LII.
After the game, Butler told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “They gave up on me.”
According to ESPN, Butler arrived in Minneapolis on Tuesday — one day after the rest of the team — after being hospitalized by an illness.
Butler missed Thursday’s practice with what the Patriots described as an “illness.” He wound up playing briefly on special teams but did not play defense.
“I ain’t got nothing to say,” Butler said in the Patriots locker room.
After the game, coach Bill Belichick said it wasn’t a disciplinary issue, and that it was football-related.
“We put the best players out there and the game plan out there because we thought it was best to win,” he said.
Butler was said to be emotional during Pink’s singing of the national anthem. A pending free agent, Butler is expected to leave for another team this offseason.
“He’s played a lot of football,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “I know Malcolm wants to be out there. I’m not surprised that he’s emotional.”
In 24 previous postseason games, Stephen Gostkowski had made 32 of 35 field-goal attempts and 75 of 78 extra- point tries. But he missed one of each in the first half.
After hitting a 26-yard field goal, Gostkowski missed the second one from the same distance off the left upright. A bad snap derailed that one. Gostkowski hesitated before finally kicking the ball.
Gostkowski hit a 45-yard field goal later in the second quarter but missed the extra point wide left after James White’s 26-yard touchdown run.
Gronkowski plays big
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who went through the NFL’s concussion protocol after the AFC Championship Game, had another dominant performance, catching nine passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Eight years into his career, Gronkowski has 12 postseason touchdown catches, tied with John Stallworth for second all-time behind Jerry Rice with 22.
White delivers again
After scoring three touchdowns in last year’s Super Bowl victory over Atlanta, White struck again with a 26-yard touchdown TD run in the second quarter. White broke three tackles on the play.
Only Rice (eight) and Emmitt Smith (five) have more Super Bowl touchdowns than White. A former Wisconsin running back, White has seven touchdowns in his past four postseason games.
• Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks, the team’s best deep threat, left the game because of a head injury in the second quarter after taking a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from safety Malcolm Jenkins. Cooks went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark during the regular season and added 100 yards in the AFC title game. He had one catch for 23 yards against the Eagles.
• Tom Brady played the AFC Championship Game with adhesive tape on his right hand after having 12 stitches to repair a cut on the webbing of his thumb. Brady had no tape on the hand for the Super Bowl.