It was 45 minutes after Seattle’s logic-defying 28-22 overtime victory over Green Bay in Sunday’s NFC championship game, and DeShawn Shead still hadn’t shed his uniform in the Seahawks’ locker room.
The third-year safety out of Portland State was basking in the glow of the most improbable of wins.
Trailing 19-7 inside the final three minutes of regulation, the Seahawks seemed dead in the water. Then they wriggled free and wrote themselves a ticket to their second straight Super Bowl.
“That was a hard-fought, tough, grind-it-out win,” said Shead, who backs up safety Earl Thomas and plays on all of Seattle’s special teams. “The greatest thing about it? Everybody still believed when we were down 19-7. Everybody still believed we had an opp (opportunity).
“That will and that belief that it ain’t over til it’s over? That will won us the game.”
Shead was on the field for one of the biggest plays of the game. After Marshawn Lynch scored on a 24-yard touchdown run with 2:09 remaining to cut the deficit to 19-14, the Seahawks — with one timeout left — had an onside kick as their only viable option.
The 6-2, 220-pound Shead was one of five Seahawks lined up on the right side, the direction Steven Hauschka was going to kick the ball.
“The key was to not be offside,” Shead said. “That’s the worst thing you could do. We had to hold a little bit.”
Hauschka’s kick bounced off Green Bay’s Brandon Bostick and was recovered by Seattle’s Chris Matthews at midfield as the CenturyLink Field fans howled their approval.
“I see the ball in the area just as somebody hits me, and that opens up the space for Chris to dart through there to get the ball,” Shead says. “Amazing play. Big ups to Chris.”
Shead served the same role on the Seahawks team that rolled past Denver 38-9 in the 2014 Super Bowl.
“Honestly, this feeling right now is greater than winning the Super Bowl,” the Palmdale, Calif., native said. “Maybe because of how hard it was to fight and grind.
“Last year during Super Bowl week, we knew for a while we were going to win that game. But today’s game came down to overtime. It was a matter of just believing in one another, believing in the scheme, believing in our coaches, believing in our brothers.
“It’s an amazing feeling to go to back-to-back Super Bowls. It’s a blessing. Words can’t describe that. This feeling I have right now is crazy.”
Article originally published at PortlandTribune.com.