In his 12th season, Williams finally gets Super Bowl trip
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Because he had never experienced the moment before, Kevin Williams was at a loss for what to do.
Teammate Michael Bennett was riding around on a borrowed police bicycle. Other Seahawks were all piling around Jermaine Kearse, who had just caught the winning touchdown in overtime to send Seattle to a second straight Super Bowl.
Williams decided his celebration for finally making the Super Bowl in his 12th NFL season was simply to run around like a kid.
”I was still kind of in awe and soaking it in and to get the win in the NFC championship and be headed to the Super Bowl, that’s a long time coming for me,” Williams said Wednesday. ”A lot of guys don’t understand the playoffs. If you went to a San Francisco or a Seattle you might think that’s an every year thing, but I was just soaking it all in.”
Williams is the elder statesman on this Super Bowl-bound Seahawks roster. He’s the oldest and longest-tenured player, but after 11 seasons in Minnesota and only making one NFC championship game with the Vikings, Williams is finally getting a trip to the title game.
”Right after the game I seen him and I started yelling at him, `This is what you came here for,”’ Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril said. ”It was just awesome to be able to help a veteran like him who has done so much but hasn’t been able to get here thus far. It’s awesome that we could help and be a part of something so special for him.”
Williams’ role has changed significantly from when he signed with the Seahawks in the offseason. Williams was supposed to be part of a rotation at defensive tackle. That all changed when Brandon Mebane was lost for the season to a torn hamstring and Williams became Seattle’s option at nose tackle.
It was an unfamiliar position, but a challenge Williams was willing to take on. And his improvement as a nose tackle, especially stopping the run, was evident on two key plays late in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s rally against Green Bay. After Russell Wilson’s fourth interception, the Seahawks immediately forced a three-and-out. Williams and Bennett stuffed Eddie Lacy on the first two plays for negative gains and the Seahawks were able to get the ball back with enough time to stage their rally.
”You could see the guys on the sideline they wanted the clock to move fast,” Williams said. ”You cannot flinch in this game and I think that’s what happened.”
Of course, this NFC championship game had Williams flashing back to the only other one he played, in January 2010 with the Vikings against New Orleans. Minnesota was in position to win the game in regulation before a late interception forced overtime, where the Saints won.
There was no turnover this time. Seattle had already scored twice, including recovering an onside kick, and led 22-19 with 1:24 left. But the Packers were able to get a tying field goal and force OT.
”Once we got that onside kick I was like, `We’re going to win this game,”’ Williams said. ”That was everybody’s kind of thought. We never gave up on thinking we could win the game.”
Facing the Patriots will be a reunion of sorts for Williams. When he was making his decision where to sign last summer, his final two choices were Seattle and New England. He eventually picked Seattle because he knew more players.
”That’s what I came for, to have the chance to go to the Super Bowl,” Williams said. ”I’m headed that way so I can say I made a good decision.”
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