Super Bowl a coming out party for ex-CFLer Chris Matthews
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews celebrates his touchdown catch during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 1, 2015. (Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports)
Chris Matthews was such a non-factor with the Seattle Seahawks all season long that he barely dressed for football games.
On a team known to be weak at wide receiver, he wasn’t deemed good enough to play.
But after coming on late in the season, and making a huge play recovering an onside kick that enabled the Seahawks to beat Green Bay in the NFC final, he became a prominent player in Super Bowl XLIX.
He was an MVP consideration until Seattle cost itself the Super Bowl with a ridiculous late call.
No one had ever done what Mathews, the former CFL player, managed Sunday night. He had never caught an NFL pass before the game.
Afterward, he wound up leading all receivers with 109 yards, caught four of Russell Wilson’s 12 completions, scored a touchdown and put the running Hawks in position to win.
He accumulated one-third of Seattle’s catches and almost half their passing yardage.
“I wasn’t thinking of myself,” said Matthews of his finest game since leaving the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“I was worried about the team. I was wanting to go down there, and do whatever it was to get us the win.
“Obviously, it wasn’t enough.”
THE GRONK-LYNCH MATCHUP
Almost certainly the team that was going to win the Lynch versus Rob Gronkowski matchup was going to win the Super Bowl.
Or so it seemed coming in.
Gronkowski beat linebacker K.J. Wright to the corner and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. In the same quarter, Lynch ran for a three-yard touchdown run on a third-down, two yards to go.
Lynch did have his hands on the ball more often — carrying it 24 times for 102 yards.
The 25th time should have won Seattle the Super Bowl.
Gronkowski wound up with six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
A huge play early in the second half had linebacker Bobby Wagner intercept a pass thrown to Gronkowski.
It was the second interception against Brady, who rushed the pass.
THE SEAHAWKS DECISION
A facemask penalty by New England’s Kyle Arrington may have played a part in turning the game in favour of the Seahawks.
After Wilson found Lockette with 44 seconds left in the first half, Seattle looked to be in field-goal range.
But the Arrington penalty moved the ball to the 11-yard line with six seconds to go in the half.
Coach Pete Carroll had a difficult decision to make. Kick the field goal or have take one shot at a touchdown.
He took the shot. It was then Wilson found Matthews for the late score.
LEGION OF DOOMED?
Seattle free safety Earl Thomas played with a separated shoulder. Kam Chancellor played with a severely bruised leg and in the first quarter, after picking off a pass, sixth defensive back Jeremy Lane broke his arm. The interception by Lane was the first of his career. The vaunted Seahawks secondary played, but clearly not at the level they expected to.
THIS AND THAT
How many pre-game stories centred around stopping Brandon LaFell? He scored a Super Bowl touchdown for New England. And few stories centred on Shane Vereen, who was Brady’s most regular receiving target from this running back position ... For the record, on the last interview day on Thursday, LaFell had a podium with no one asking questions ... The Seahawks began to have some success once they started getting pressure on Brady. Early on, Brady was throwing the ball within two seconds, quick-hit plays. Once Seattle’s defence adjusted, the pressure on him increased ... Wilson didn’t complete his first pass until 5:17 was left in the first half. It wasn’t the worst-ever start to the Super Bowl for a quarterback, but it was close ... What was irrelevant last night: The deflated or not deflated footballs ... Running back Vereen was a favourite target of Brady’s. He caught more passes — 10 — than the Seahawks caught combined.
Heading into the Super Bowl, Wilson had an 11-0 record against quarterbacks who had won Super Bowls ... Julian Edelman, the diminutive wide receiver for New England, was on the winning side before the game began. By making the Super Bowl after catching more than 80 passes, Edelman qualified for a $500,000 bonus in his soon-to-be-expiring contract. Edelman fits Brady and the Patriots offence perfectly ... NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, under all kinds of fire and doubt, refused to do an interview on NBC prior to Sunday’s game ... The Patriots were so dominant early in the game they had run 30 offensive plays to nine of the Seahawks ... The crowd at University of Phoenix stadium was clearly pro-Patriots. In fact, there hasn’t been a Super Bowl crowd this loud or this one-sided. Usually, the corporate Super Bowl crowd is quite demure ... There was a moment of silence before the game for Ann Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants, and considered by some to be the First Lady of Football ... It isn’t often you’ll hear booing during the national anthem, but there was loud noise when Bill Belichick was shown on the in-stadium scoreboards ... This was the third Super Bowl to be tied at halftime.