Two days later, sad, solemn Seahawks pack up for offseason
When Russell Wilson took the snap with 26 seconds remaining in the Super Bowl, made his read and released the pass, he believed he was on his way to getting fitted for a second Super Bowl ring.
He never saw New England's Malcolm Butler breaking, beating Ricardo Lockette to the pass and creating one of the most infamous plays in Super Bowl history.
"When I threw it, I was like, `Touchdown, second Super Bowl ring, here we go,'" Wilson said. "And it didn't happen."
The Seattle Seahawks cleaned out their lockers and headed into the offseason in a solemn, quiet fashion on Tuesday, two days after their dramatic 28-24 loss to New England.
Some players were still at a loss to describe the emotion of Seattle getting to the New England 1-yard line with 26 seconds left only to see Wilson get intercepted by Butler. Normally talkative tight end Luke Willson seemed to sum up the feelings for everyone.
"I don't know guys. I don't really have too many answers," Willson said. "Sorry. It is what it is."
Seattle was on the verge of staging a final rally to cap a second straight title and put the Seahawks in position to be talked about as the first team in NFL history to win three straight titles headed into next season when Wilson was intercepted.
Two days later, Wilson said he had no doubts about the decision to call for a quick slant to Lockette. Even in hindsight, he said he continues to support the decision to pass on second down from the 1, even though Marshawn Lynch had just run for 4 yards on first down.
"It's one of those things, you trust what they called," Wilson said. "I had no doubt. I had no doubt in the play call. I still don't to this day. I just wish we had made the play."
Wilson said when he took the snap, Lockette appeared to be open enough to score. He didn't see Butler breaking hard for the spot where the ball would be delivered.
"He made a great play. It was one of those bang-bang plays. That's how it usually is in a goal line area, a red zone area," Wilson said. "The guy played a great game, honestly. A guy that I think was undrafted just made tons of plays. Play after play. You've got to give him a lot of respect. He won the game for them right there."
Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell intimated after the game that Lockette could have gone harder after the ball. The play was also disrupted by New England cornerback Brandon Browner holding up Jermaine Kearse and not allowing any traffic to impede Butler's route to the ball.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin called Bevell's comments "harsh."
"I would be lying if I said it didn't bother us," Baldwin said. "He's a coach and so you take that criticism or whatnot and you look in the mirror and figure out what you could have done with it. It's harsh. But in the reality of it, it's in the heat of the moment right after the game, people may say things or do things they may have changed or would like to be interpreted differently. However, at the end of the day, like I said, we're going to stick together and move forward so none of that matters now."
Wilson had a similar take about trying to move beyond the lingering hangover of what happened, even though he said he'd watched film of the game "probably 12 times," since Sunday.
The question hanging over Wilson will be his contract situation and whether Seattle can get an extension completed in the offseason so he doesn't enter 2015 playing under the final year of his rookie deal.
"I haven't really thought anything about it," Wilson said. "You know, I obviously want to play in Seattle forever. That's my goal, and I want to be with this organization. I love this organization. I love this city. I love these fans, and I love winning here. We've won a lot of football games here, and that's the goal."