With Seattle one yard away from scoring the go-ahead – and likely game-winning – touchdown in the final minute of Super Bowl XLIX, Brian Finneran kept thinking the same thing: the Seahawks are going to do it again.
“I don’t know what’s going on or what kind of horseshoe they got going,” the former Falcons wide receiver and current Atlanta radio host said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence, “but they got a deal with the lord above because they keep making plays down the stretch and finding ways to win football games – and they did it again. They were on the 1-yard line in a game where you thought it was over after Tom Brady and company make that final drive down the field, and then they go with that pay call. I think that’ll be questioned for all of time and maybe go down in history as quite possibly the worst call in any championship game in any sport. When you look at what you have on that team and what you have in the backfield, how you don’t give it to Marshawn Lynch really blew my mind.”
There’s certainly a lot of blame to go around for what transpired on Seattle’s final offensive play. There was the atrocious call by Darrell Bevell, there was approval by Pete Carroll and there was the actual interception by Russell Wilson.
But what about the intended receiver, Ricardo Lockette?
“The receiver, Lockette, wasn’t all in,” Finneran said. “If you really watched him, he just kind of eased up at the end because I felt like he thought he was so open he was just going to let that ball come to his chest, catch it and fall into the end zone. But the defensive back, (Malcolm) Butler, did such a good job of breaking on it and understanding the situation and knowing that play was coming. He just stole it from him and ended the game. It was quite a turnaround for both teams.”
Butler said he knew what play was coming due to extensive film study, which goes back to coaching. It goes back to Bill Belichick.
“Everything just kind of comes to fruition,” Finneran said. “It all pays off. All that game study and film watching – its just that one or two plays that makes all the difference in the world.”
And yet, it’s possible Lockette should be getting a bit more criticism than he’s getting.
“I think if Lockette had more of a determination for that ball and understood how important it was just to fly in there, (the outcome might have been different),” Finneran said. “That’s a do-or-die type play and they obviously died by it. But the ball itself from Russell Wilson, if he had to do it over again, he’d probably throw it a little bit lower, maybe a little more zip on it and try to get it where Lockette can go down and catch it. But Butler, I mean, just understanding the system, understanding the concept of the play and reading and reacting was absolutely phenomenal.”