The Seattle Seahawks were on the brink of winning back-to-back Super Bowls, and then . . .
. . . the unthinkable.
Despite having a second-and-goal opportunity inside the 1-yard line, Seattle – which led the league in rushing and to that point in the game had rushed for 162 yards at 5.6 yards a pop – threw the ball into the teeth of heavy goal-line traffic.
Russell Wilson was picked off by undrafted rookie corner Malcolm Butler, who gave the New England Patriots a 28-24 win and their fourth Super Bowl title in the last 14 years.
The mood in the Seattle locker room after the game was, as one would expect, bleak.
“It wasn’t good,” KOMO-TV Seattle sports director Mike Ferreri said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They looked shocked, especially the way that happened. That tremendous Jermaine Kearse catch and then you have the play. Their bread and butter was running the ball all year, and then they go ahead and try to throw. And by the way, that was the first interception of the entire NFL season thrown from the 1-yard line – and it happens in the last game of the year. They were shocked. They couldn’t quite believe it. There’s nothing more painful in my opinion than a Super Bowl press conference for a losing team. I’ve done it three of the four Super Bowls I’ve been to, and it just wasn’t fun.”
It seems that even Seahawks players were questioning the team’s decision to throw the ball on second down.
“I think Doug Baldwin was talking about it and just really couldn’t say much,” Ferreri said. “He was almost making something up. There was’t a direct line of questioning in the play call, but I think they’re not going to go back on what their coach said. But they all knew it. I know (Seattle offensive tackle) Russell Okung even said they like to the run the ball. As an offensive line, they like to run the ball. But that was the play call they made. It had worked in the past. They looked at it more as a clock-management situation than they did a matter of actually trying to score.”
Which is odd. Pete Carroll said after the game that the Seahawks were trying to waste a play on second down and then punch it in on third or fourth down to wind the clock down as much as possible.
“I don’t get it,” Ferreri said. “I don’t. You would always just go ahead and score. They’ve done that before where they’ve given the ball back to some teams and they’ve had more time on the clock. I don’t get that. I don’t think you waste a play when you’re behind by four points and you need a touchdown. Get in the end zone. Your defense has really done the work all year, and so what if the Patriots get one play deep in their own end? I mean, (Steven) Hauschka is going to kick off to the end zone. But I don’t really like that excuse – or the reasoning, I should say.”