By John Boyle
Want to know what Pete Carroll and his players had to say about Sunday’s improbable victory in the NFC championship game? Here are a whole bunch of quotes, as provided by the team.
HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
PETE CARROLL: Well, for the fans in the northwest, this has got to be one for the ages. A fantastic day to celebrate your Seahawks and celebrate the 12s and all that. Almost humbling that it was such a classic challenge, and our guys found a way to get it done. This is an extraordinary win because of who the Packers are. Mike has got a great team and a great program, and they continue to play great. Look at the quarterback being hurt and playing today again. That’s what makes it such a big win, because they’re so good, and they jumped on us and tore us up in the first quarter of that game and we just made mistake after mistake and just looked terrible, but the defense played phenomenal sudden change football to make those field goals happen. But that’s what we expect, and that’s what we count on them to do. But it just set up for such a challenging day, and it was hard.
What was I guess characteristic, I’d like to think characteristic but also just such an extraordinary thing to witness was these guys hanging. What happened in the middle of the year was they found the connection of what team is all about, and that’s about supporting the guys around you, and they found that and embraced it. We have ridden that thought all the way to this point, even to the point where we gather them up going into OT and we talk to them about how powerful that belief is and what it can allow you to accomplish. So many different guys had to step up today to make something happen in this game, it had to be something that they all could feel and they all get to share.
It’s a tremendous accomplishment for Paul and the club, for all of us to be able to get a chance to go back to the Super Bowl again. It’s something that we never thought wasn’t within our reach, but we didn’t talk about it, we didn’t focus on it because that wasn’t it. We just needed to get right day after day after day. I think there was a time in the middle of the year when Tony has got to suck it up. We were struggling a little bit, fans needed to hang in there, hang tough while we get it right, and we just watched it happen, watched it happen. You watched this team just lock arms and get it done.
To have a chance to go back to the Super Bowl is extraordinarily fun for us, and I hope for everybody else, too. We’re going to do everything we can to go get it done when the time comes, but today was about a bunch of guys joining together.
Q. What did you tell Russell?
PETE CARROLL: Just to keep hanging, keep hanging and be patient and wait it out, not try too hard too early. Patience was really important, and it always is when you come from behind, and you have to wait it out and not force the issue and get yourself in trouble trying to get back too fast. I think it was like 3 something left in the game and still it’s like 19 7 or something like that, and that took tremendous faith by everybody, not just Russell. But he’s in the huddle, he’s leading, and he had to stand for that, and he did. He did a remarkable job to finish that game.
Q. How big was it for the special teams to step up today and make a difference?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, we can just go across the board. What a fantastic play Brian Schneider and his guys to put that fake together, and then for Jonny Ryan to pull it off, and going to his left and all that, and then to find Garry Gilliam for the touchdown, who would have thunk it? But they did it well in practice and it looked great, and they pulled it off. To come through on the onside kick, something that you work on, you never know when it’s going to happen, and we had a great kick by Hausch, and Chris did a fantastic job to find a way. Everybody was scrapping there but it happened to be Chris who had the chance, and we were very fortunate, and all of a sudden there we are. Another great moment in that game.
Q. What did you call for the fake field goal?
PETE CARROLL: I really believed in this fake. I thought we had a great shot at it because I believe in Jon Ryan’s ability to come out of there exploding like he did, and really it was the first opportunity we had. I couldn’t wait to get the thing called.
Q. We were asking you this week about Jermaine Kearse after what had been a rough game for him?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, he was very emotional after the game because he knew he was in the midst of a lot of things that didn’t go right for us today. What a great story, you know, local kid and all of that, wins the game with that touchdown catch. He was totally emotional about it, because he felt like he had not been able to come through in some other situations. But that is exactly the Jermaine Kearse that I was talking about. He just finds a way to do stuff for us, another touchdown in a playoff game in a critical situation, and wins the game. It was just extraordinary.
Q. Have you ever seen Russell show emotions like he did after this game?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, he was pretty up on this one because it took so long for the good stuff to happen. It was a long, hard day for him, and we were throwing for nothing. I think 10 yards at halftime or whatever. It was a crazy game. But with the game on the line, with the chance coming down to it, this is what he has totally believed would happen, and he never thought that it wouldn’t. Heck yeah, we enjoy it and enjoy it like crazy when it happened. He knows when to let it go, and he did.
Q. What happened to Richard, kind of him playing
PETE CARROLL: He hurt his elbow. I don’t know how he could have played. How do you play bump and run with one arm, but he did. He hurt his elbow, and he knew he could make it, and somehow he was doing it, so it was a fantastic feat by him to get through that and hang out there and keep competing. Earl hurt his shoulder today and came back and he hits Lacy on the sidelines with the harnessed shoulder as hard as you could possibly hit the guy and knocked him out of bounds. That’s just total guts. It’s just guts. And both of those guys, you watch them, you listen to those guys as they’ve been in front, they’re the real deal. They’re the real deal when it comes to competing. They’re as good as you can get at battling.
Q. Your players are so emotional and so gutted when they don’t live up to their opponent’s expectations. What does this mean?
PETE CARROLL: Will with, this is a group that has really committed to understanding what it takes from themselves and from the team and they have learned a lot, so their expectations are very high because they know when they do things together, ain’t nothing we can’t do, and they exhibited that again today.
This is a really fine team because of that, not because of the win but because of how they go about it and the way they think about one another and the way they work. Every day they go out there and set their sights and their expectations so high to perform for the guys around them. It’s a really fantastic illustration of team, and it’s a really cool thing to watch. The great thing for you guys, you saw it happen. You saw it come together, so you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Q. When you came to Arizona this year and played for the Cardinals do you allow yourself to go there mentally?
PETE CARROLL: No, it’s interesting. Nobody asked. I thought somebody for sure would ask. Guys asked about it when we went to the Giants a year ago, and I was all ready to lay low and not mention it to you.
Q. You’ve seen a lot of great football games. How perfect were those two throws?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, yeah, that was just championship play, just at its very best. Stuff that that’s a great throw for Russell, the one that he hits Doug up the boundary, you could see we had a shot at it, it was just a matter of what was really exciting from the coaches’ vantage point was the patience that Doug showed to get off the line of scrimmage because he knew what he was doing and he believed in it and did a great release and got out there ahead of the guy and then the ball was right dead on the money. There ain’t nothing more beautiful than that last play, though. That was exquisite football, across the board for all of the guys to get the check and all of that to take advantage of that and to execute it to perfection to win a game, that was pretty big time.
Q. Was it an audible, the last play?
PETE CARROLL: Yes.
Q. You said you got the check there
PETE CARROLL: That’s Russell. Russell had to see that.
Q. Did you see Clay Matthews on the field?
PETE CARROLL: No, they were terrific. They were all over the place today. We had troubles with these guys, and really we couldn’t get out of our own way. We couldn’t get our rhythm going, couldn’t get on schedule. It just took us a long time before those penalties that were jumping up and moving around and all of the things that were kicking us in the butt went away, and then we started playing, and it just we believed that once we started playing we can really go, and it just took a long time for it to show up, but once it did Marshawn had a great day today. I thought he was just phenomenal running with the football. The great finish it went through my mind, and probably some of you, too when he breaks the run at the end, the 24 yard run, he slides down right there and sits down on the 2 and it went through my mind that of course he’s not going to do that, he shouldn’t have, but that the thought that could have happened right there. It was just a beautifully blocked play and a great run by him.
Q. Can you recall a football game this kind of crazy?
PETE CARROLL: I always take you back to the ULP San Jose state game (laughter.) Yeah, this is a phenomenal memory that we just were part of as a great moment, and we’ll always remember this one. Very, very special.
Q. Did you ever sense any one minute of doubt or anything in the locker room, on the sideline?
PETE CARROLL: We were strong. We were talking the way we needed to talk at halftime. There was some frustration that it wasn’t quite happening, but we corralled the frustration and turned it into the juice that we needed and played really aggressive, tough football in the second half, a fantastic second half of not letting them score and getting enough to win it. Nothing out of the ordinary, no.
Q. Russell took a pretty good hit.
PETE CARROLL: Yes, he did.
Q. From Matthews. Were you worried he was okay?
PETE CARROLL: Heck yeah I was. I thought Clay played great today. He made tackles everywhere. He gets the facemask penalty at the line of scrimmage and tackles Doug down the field. I don’t know how the heck he did that, but he was everywhere today. I don’t know how many times. He had a good game I thought.
Q. (Inaudible.) Mistake, mistake, mistake, and still poised. Did Russell always have that?
PETE CARROLL: That trait I don’t know, but just believing in yourself and believing you can get it done and believing that you’re going to be okay allows you to play really clear and focused throughout so that when the opportunities arise you take advantage of them. That’s exactly how he did it.
Q. Earl and Sherman both okay going forward?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, we think so. We think they’ll be fine. Lucky we have some time. [J.R.] Sweezy, too. He should be okay.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
QB RUSSELL WILSON
RUSSELL WILSON: The game started off kind of ugly, huh? But that last, what, three minutes and plus the overtime is probably as good a game as you can get. Can’t get any better than that.
Q. You seemed a little more emotional after the game than we usually see you. Is that a fair statement?
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah, I’m usually pretty calm. But I just think that going through that game and going through the ups and the downs of the game, a lot of downs, more so than normal, that’s for sure. But just staying the course and continuing to believe in the guys I have around me, continuing to believe in the play calling. Coach Bevell called a great game and we just weren’t making the plays for whatever reason, and having four turnovers by me, that’s tough. But at the same time I just never doubted in our guys. I think that when I hit that touchdown, actually the funny thing is I told Bevell on the sideline right when we won the coin toss, I’m going to hit Kearse for a touchdown on a check, and sure enough, we did. But just thinking about that game and thinking about just I don’t know, just going through the ups and downs of life in the past year but also more so of just winning the Super Bowl last year and people doubting what we could do, this is just an emotional time for me. I think about my dad right away. I wish he was here, but he’s watching he’s got the best seat in the house. That’s why I got emotional, just the guys we have around us. I’ve been in a lot of games and I’ve played a lot of sports and I’ve seen a lot of great games and I’ve seen a lot of sports, and I think the resilience of our football team is unmatchable, and the character of the guys that we have and the belief of the guys that we have, that’s what makes the difference.
Q. How about your resolve? To start the way you did and to be able to keep it together.
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah, just staying the course, trusting the protections trusting the routes, trusting the timing, trusting the preparations, trusting the film study. That’s where I went to, going back to the fundamentals of the game. The ball didn’t bounce our way the whole game but it bounced our way at the right time, so that’s always good.
Q. Have you ever thrown four interceptions?
RUSSELL WILSON: No, I’ve never thrown four interceptions in a game, but I’d rather do it that way. If we’re going to go down, I’m going to go down swinging, that’s for sure. Just to find a way, there’s no excuse for me. I’m the first one to say there’s no excuse for interceptions, but at the same time just the resilience of our football, that’s what makes the day so special.
Q. What did you see that made you check down?
RUSSELL WILSON: Just the film study. They had brought everybody up in the box, cover zero, and I just wanted to give Jermaine Kearse a chance to go win the game and he always finds a way to do that somehow. I threw the ball out there for him and audibled the play, checked the play, and sure enough, we were able to hit Jermaine Kearse for the touchdown to go to Super Bowl XLIX.
Q. What is it about you and Kearse that (inaudible)?
RUSSELL WILSON: Because I’ve seen him make so many plays before. When you see a guy that makes so many plays in practice, so many plays throughout big time games, NFC Championship Game last year, 4th and 7, Doug Baldwin, too, you just continue to trust those guys. They show me every day in practice and so when somebody messes up or I mess up or don’t throw the ball right, whatever happens, I’m just going to keep coming back to them. That was the first thing I told Kearse after that last interception. I said, hey, we’re going to win this game. I’m going to keep coming back to you and we’re going to find a way to win the game, and that’s what we were able to do.
Q. What made you tell Darrell that?
RUSSELL WILSON: Throughout the whole entire week we had been practicing that, visualizing that, and we had hit it a few times throughout the week in practice, and we just kept hitting it over and over to different guys. I just had a feeling, I kind of sensed that at some point they were going to have to try to stop us somehow, some way, especially the way Marshawn had a great game, especially in the second half there, and just all the visualization, all the study, all the trust and all the preparation, that’s what leads you there. So when I found that chance to hit Jermaine one on one on the deep post, we went for it and we hit it.
Q. How about Marshawn’s touchdown?
RUSSELL WILSON: I mean, he slid it to the defense and that’s what makes him the best runner in the National Football League. He finds ways to make holes, he finds ways to get into the end zone, and I’m glad he’s on our team. I’m glad that he can fight for us and make so many plays. That catch that he had that we thought was a touchdown earlier, that was pretty spectacular, just over and over again, he shows up.
Q. If you run that two point play 100 times, how many times do you make it?
RUSSELL WILSON: Never. (Laughter.)
Funny thing was, we spread it out and Luke is the backside protector, and I was going to tell Luke, hey, you never know, just be ready. But I didn’t want him to leave too early so I didn’t tell him anything in the huddle, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking if there’s nothing to the right I’m spinning back and I’m finding a way. And I had spun out the first time, and I think Clay had gotten me, but that time I kind of spun back and went back and just tried to extend the play and just gave those guys a chance and he makes a crazy catch to get the two point conversion. That’s just knowing the game and trusting the guys that are going to make a play and throwing it up. You don’t ever throw it out of bounds in that situation, you just give him a chance to make a play.
Q. What’s your feeling about going back to Glendale where you think you made your first start?
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah, I thought about that earlier in the week. My first National Football League game, the first start ever, first game of the season, we went down to Glendale and played down there in Arizona and we lost in a tough game. We had a lot of opportunities down in the red zone, and that last drive of the game, and we didn’t capitalize for whatever reason. Ever since then I just continue to just believe in our guys and continue to just to be back in that situation, to go back down to Arizona, to play in the Super Bowl, to go play in the Super Bowl back to back years when everybody thought we were out when we were 3 3, when everybody thought we were out when we were 6 4, when everybody thought we were out of this game, you just trust the experience, you trust the guys you have around you, and you have faith in the people around you. I’m just grateful that God put me in this place to play with this football team. It’s a tremendous honor, and I’m really excited about it.
Q. As a quarterback what’s it like to know that the defense makes those sudden change stops over and over again. Quarterback psychology, what’s it like to know that you’ve got to keep getting opportunities because of the guys playing on the other side of the ball?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, that’s what you trust in. Last year, this year, all the years I’ve been here, they just continue to find ways to make plays for us and vice versa. We always try to capitalize if they ever mess up, and it’s just a team effort. It’s a togetherness, it’s a relentless effort to find a way, no matter what it looks like, and so I’m so excited for our defense and all the crazy plays that they made. They were lights out tonight for the most part, and it’s just pretty spectacular.
How about Tarvaris Jackson winning the coin toss, too? That guy, I don’t want to break his luck, but I mean, that guy is something else, man. And then Chris Matthews getting the onside kick, Steve Hauschka kicks a perfect kick, and Chris Matthews gets us that ball. I mean, that’s championship football.
Q. This is the first time that the team has been shut out in the first half and been able to come back and win the game in the second half. What is it about the second half that allows you to flip the switch?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, sometimes you get hot early and you stay hot, and sometimes you play on a great team, the Green Bay Packers. That’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re playing us in the NFC Championship Game. When we went into halftime I told the guys there’s no doubt. We didn’t make the plays the first half but we’re going to make them in the second half. We’ve shown it all season. I don’t know where our score differential is in the second halves of games, in the fourth quarters of games, but it’s a lot to a little, and that’s because of our defense but also because of the clutch play of the receivers and the offensive line and the running backs making plays and the tight ends, and so you’ve got to give credit to the guys around me.
Q. The second to the last play of the game, you’re on your own 30. With the game that you had, what goes through your mind to be so bold because it seems kind of counterintuitive that you would throw that long pass to Baldwin. What goes through your mind to be that aggressive?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, like I said, if I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down swinging. So when you trust the guys you have around you, when I’ve made a lot of throws to Baldwin, he’s come up clutch over and over again. You trust your footwork, you trust your timing and just try to give him a good ball, and he makes a great catch there. A lot of the guys were giving me great time to be able to make those throws throughout the game, really, and we were able to capitalize in the second half. And then when we get down there and we check it to Kearse and I changed the play there to Kearse, so he goes and makes an attack on the football and makes a great play.
It’s just the belief that all the preparation, all the work you put through in practice, all the games that we played, they’ve made unbelievable plays for us. You just trust that.
Q. How bad was the hit for Matthews?
RUSSELL WILSON: It was good. It was a good hit.
Q. When you assess the pass by Jon Ryan, if he were doing a Jon Gruden Show
RUSSELL WILSON: Throw it so the guy can catch it. That was perfect. Great call, first of all, just the awareness of having that call ready to go. Jon Ryan escapes to the outside. At first I thought he was going to run it. He’s so fast and so strong, I thought he was going to run it. And then Gilliam, who played tight end at Penn State some, and he gets out there, and as soon as he threw it I knew he was going to catch it. He’s got great hands. That was pretty cool to see.
Q. What does it mean to be the first (inaudible) to have a chance to win it back to back?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, what it means is we’ve worked really hard for it. All the preparation, all the doubters, all the people that said we couldn’t get here, and it’s not about that, though. It’s just about the work that you put in. It’s just about the preparation that you put in and the belief in one another. A season is a long, long journey, to be where we are. It takes a lot of great plays. It takes some ups and downs. It takes a lot of grit. It takes a lot of belief, and it takes a lot of consistency, too. That’s a big part of it, too. So we were able to do that throughout the whole entire season. We get to play in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLIX, back to back. It’s exciting. I think when we go to Super Bowl XLIX we don’t treat it any different. The goal is to win it all. The game is still going to be 100 yards and it’s still going to be 53 and a third, and it’s still going to be a great game to see. The refs are still going to call the whistles the same way. There may be a great halftime show with Katy Perry, but other than that the game is not going to be any different.
Q. Aaron Rodgers said we gave the game away. Did they give the game away?
RUSSELL WILSON: That’s a different way to look at it. I think we had to go get it, though, ourselves. I thought we made plays, especially that last three minutes left in the game, we scored two touchdowns, get the two point conversion, get the onside kick, get the coin toss, and we had to make the plays, and I thought we took it in a way.
Q. Why did it take so long (inaudible)?
RUSSELL WILSON: They played it well, and they made some plays. I wanted to keep handing the ball off to Marshawn. We didn’t call it as much early in the game, but that’s just because we were trying to attack them in the run game early. We weren’t sustaining drives. That’s our fault, that’s my fault, and that’s the turnovers that hurt you. But once we got it going it was really tough for them to stop.
Q. Did you say anything to Jermaine during the game or can you think of any other game (inaudible)?
RUSSELL WILSON: I just kept talking to him, hey, man, I’m going to keep coming to you, be ready, we’re going to win the game, you’re going to win the game for us. Somebody was, and I just had a feeling somebody was going to win the game. I didn’t know who. When we had the kickoff, like I said, in overtime, I knew I was going to throw a touchdown to Jermaine. That’s what I told Bevell, so that was pretty cool.
Q. How were you able to transcend your mistakes and keep it going?
RUSSELL WILSON: I don’t think I really ever get down on myself because I think I know I put the work in. If I didn’t put the work in, if I didn’t get ready, if I didn’t visualize the success, if I didn’t visualize my teammates making the play, then I would get down, but I’ve also been through a lot in my life and I think about all the things my dad has taught me and just how to persevere, I think that’s what leads me to continue to believe. Like I said, God giving me the opportunity to play the great game of football, the game that I love, and just to be around amazing people that believe in me and I believe in them and we believe in each other. That’s why I don’t give up.
Q. Of all the games you’ve been in how does this rank?
RUSSELL WILSON: I think that’s the best game I’ve ever been in for sure. I think that may be one of the best games in NFL history, just to be able to come back in the playoffs like that and in overtime. I can’t see a much better game than that.
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, the lapel pin is Strong Against Cancer. That’s the fight against childhood cancer that Seattle Childrens and I are rooting for and pushing for, and it’s saved a lot of kids so far, so Strong Against Cancer.
Q. Early in the year I think you went through a lot of things championship teams generally do in defending a title. Today it was almost the same thing, struggled early, compartmentalize. Why is this group able to do that?
RUSSELL WILSON: I think it’s the character of the men that we have on our football team. The relentless drive to be successful for each other and just be grateful for the opportunity that we have, the gratefulness that we have in our room and for each other is unbelievable. We really care about each other. We work for each other. We want to be the best for a reason, and we didn’t show our best at first, but in our whole season we didn’t show our best at first. But we always find a way to finish.
That’s kind of the story of our season, 3 3, 6 4, win the last six games or whatever of the regular season and get into this game, a huge game, quote unquote, and we started off slow but that’s what we talked about, just continue to believe in one another.
Q. Do you remember the last time you were moved to the emotion that you had?
RUSSELL WILSON: I don’t tear up too often. I don’t get too emotional too often. Like I said, in terms of the emotion, it hit me. Obviously going to the Super Bowl again, but more so just the ups and downs of life but also just all the things my dad and my mom taught me, all the things they’ve done for me and just giving me an opportunity to just continue to believe in myself when other people don’t. That’s the biggest thing that I can say just about that. I hope that encourages other people, you know, just because I’ve been told no a lot, but I’ve also continued to believe in myself a lot, too.
Q. Obviously you don’t know yet who you’re playing in the Super Bowl. Talk about that.
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, I have tons of respect for Tom Brady. He’s done it for so many years and all the amazing things he’s done, so to have the opportunity to play against him would be special just because it’s arguably the best quarterback of all time, and then also Andrew Luck who I have tons of respect for, gotten to know a little bit over time. The guy is lights out, just finds ways to make plays. He’s a fighter, too, and I have a lot of respect for Andrew. I have a lot of respect for Tom because of all the years he’s done it. Both of them are very, very special players and they’ll continue to be special players. Like I said, it’s not about me, it’s not me versus them, it’s about Seattle Seahawks trying to win back to back Super Bowls, Super Bowl XLIX.
Q. (Inaudible.) What do you have to accomplish in that situation to put the ball where you did?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, I think it all comes down to balance and footwork and timing of it all and just trusting that you work that’s why you practice. Practice makes perfect, and you just continue to just drill yourself on that, and it wasn’t perfect early on in the game, but we found a way to be just right at the end, and Doug Baldwin has been so big time since I’ve been here. He’s been so big time for us, and Jermaine Kearse, too, as well. They show why they’re very, very special and why I love them, love having them around.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
CB BYRON MAXWELL
(On the comeback…) “It can’t be explained—it’s got to be God. We’ve got one more to go, we’re going to get it.”
(On the feeling towards the end of the game…) “I can’t even relate. Once we got to 14, I thought ‘Ok, we’ve got a shot.’ We can scramble to get another touchdown—once we got it to 14, we had a shot.”
(On this feeling compared to last year…) “It’s not a better way—winning is winning, it’s a great feeling, it’s an addictive feeling. When you do it at the last second like that, you’re like ‘Oh my God, wow. Words can’t even describe it.’”
(On Aaron Rodgers…) “He’s a great quarterback. You remember the throw? It was in the first quarter, and he was on the other hash and threw it all the way back to the side, I am like ‘Ok man, what is this, a robot, really?’”
LB KJ WRIGHT
(On the comeback…) “We got the job done. We just had to keep believing and keep trusting, and take things one step at a time.”
(On the offense’s turnovers…) “Hey, it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. When you’re playing hard, good things happen to you. We just had to fight until the very end. When the offense turns the ball over, and head back out there to get the ball back.
(On this feeling for the second consecutive year…) “It’s really special, it’s amazing.”
LB BRUCE IRVIN
(On the comeback…) “A lot of teams would have given up. We kept fighting—we kept fighting and believing. The motto of our program is finishing, and that’s what we did.”
(On if he ever doubted the chance to win…) “Never, no doubt. I was scared, I was scared—I ain’t gonna lie, I was scared. But I knew that the offense was going to breakthrough, and once they did, we got it rolling.”
(On holding Green Bay to five field goals…) “That was huge. A great offense, a great quarterback like Aaron Rodgers and holding them to three, that’s a win. To be honest with you, I think that was the difference in the game, holding them to the field goals. Five field goals, that’s crazy.”
(On this feeling…) “From my situation, from what I went through, it’s a great achievement. A lot of guys got stories in here… A lot of us are going back to our second Super Bowl in two years. There are a lot of living testaments in here, and I feel like I am one of them. I never gave up, I just kept fighting,”
TE LUKE WILLSON
(On Russell Wilson’s performance…) “Someone asked me earlier about Jermaine (Kearse), too, and these guys consistently make incredible plays week in and week out, so when something doesn’t go our way with Russell, or really anyone on our offense, it’s just a fluke. We’re not going to shy away from our playmakers. You saw Russell’s throw to Jermaine, Jermaine’s catch—both fourth drives he had a quick route and the throw was right on the money. Those run plays we were in a hurry-up, and that’s all on him. There’s no other guy that I would rather be with the game on the line than Russell Wilson.”
(On what Wilson told the offense in the huddle…) “Just keep fighting. He said, ‘keep working, keep fighting.’ Again, we just weren’t going to quit. We are not a team that is going to just give up our title, that’s the bottom line. When it was 19-7 and we threw that interception with five minutes left, a lot of people would have been like, ‘Hey the game is over.’ That’s not us, that’s not what we preach around here. Obviously it wasn’t.”
T GARY GILLIAM
(On catching the ball….) “At Penn State, I was a tight end.”
(On the fake punt call…) “It depends on the scheme, but this week we practiced pretty early in the week. They did their research and saw an opportunity.”
(On what was going through his mind…) “Just catch the ball and score.”
(On if Jon Ryan’s pass was a spiral…) “I don’t even remember, I am pretty sure I blacked out at that point.”
(On what he said to Ryan after the play…) “Great pass, way to execute.”
(On Ryan’s athleticism…) “He’s in great shape. He can run, too. I am just glad he passed it to me.”
WR JERMAINE KEARSE
WR DOUG BALDWIN
JERMAINE KEARSE: Well, that was interesting. (Laughter.) I mean, first and foremost I want to thank God, just being able to put me in the position I was able to be put in, and even though I had a rough start, a rough game early on, letting some opportunities get away from me, he stuck with me and he gave me another opportunity to make a play for my team to possibly win the game, and I’m just thankful for him. I’m thankful for my teammates who continually stuck by my side when things were down. They was never negative, they was always positive, positivity, we always preach it, it goes a long way. They just pushed through the adversity. Everything is not going to be perfect. Life is not going to be perfect. There’s always going to be downs. But the real test is how you respond to that adversity, how you respond to the down moments because everything is easy when it’s all good, and when things aren’t good, it really tests your character.
Q. What was the swing of emotions like for you?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I mean, it was a very interesting game for me. I mean, I think there was like four interceptions that happened when the ball was thrown my way, and I was like, what is going on. And you know, there was I never really felt sorry for myself. I knew you’ve just got to be mentally tough. It’s a tough game. You’ve got to be mentally tough. You’ve got to learn how to push through those types of moments, to push through you learn how to push through adversity with tremendous team support. You know, it’s just making plays when the opportunity presents itself, and Russell just kept giving me chances, and I made one.
Q. Did anybody say anything to you that really sticks in your mind looking back, teammates or coach or anything?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I mean, I was talking to Jeron Johnson actually on the sideline, and he kept he was constantly in my ear talking about you’re going to get more chances, and just when you get your chance, just make the most of it and just continue to keep pushing, and that’s what I did.
Q. When they changed the play at the line of scrimmage did you know that you had an opportunity there?
JERMAINE KEARSE: Yeah, once I saw the coverage I had a feeling he was going to check to that play, and I knew if I could just beat my man he was going to give me an opportunity. I mean, I wish that ball every ball earlier in the game felt as easy as that one. I mean, I just had no doubt in my mind I was going to come down with that play.
Q. That was installed this week, right?
JERMAINE KEARSE: Yeah, so that play that we checked to, it was installed this week.
By the way, I am accompanied by my teammate and one of my really good friends, my fellow pedestrian, Doug Baldwin (laughter), who had 106 yards this game. I don’t know if you knew that, but now you know.
Q. What did you see specifically when
JERMAINE KEARSE: We saw that it was coverage zero, so everybody was lined up, probably at linebacker depth or whatever, and I knew it was just me and Tramon [Williams]. I’m still trying to gather myself.
I knew it was going to be one on one with no one in the middle, and I just got off the ball and just tried to make a play.
Q. Did you feel Tramon Williams on you when the ball was coming down? He actually contacted you before the ball got to your hands.
JERMAINE KEARSE: No. I mean, I was so tunnel vision on that ball. It was so funny, but Russ threw a great pass, and I just tried to make a play for my team.
Q. Did you ever doubt yourself (inaudible) did that get in your head?
JERMAINE KEARSE: No, I never doubt myself. I just kept faith in God and that he had a plan for me. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and you’ve just got to keep pushing forward. Like Doug said, just the great team support from everyone, it helps you get through those moments, and just got to keep pushing forward.
Q. Some of the plays didn’t go your way. (Inaudible.)
JERMAINE KEARSE: I mean, you know, there’s some plays that I felt like I could have made. I could have stopped some plays from happening on some interceptions. I could have just turned into a defender and tried to knock the ball down. But you know, that’s part of the game. I’m always going to reiterate, things aren’t always going to go as planned, and they didn’t today, and you’ve just got to roll with it and figure it out.
Q. (Inaudible.) You probably haven’t thought much about that yet.
DOUG BALDWIN: I’d like to answer that question for him.
JERMAINE KEARSE: Doug is going to answer.
DOUG BALDWIN: Let’s look back, like you said, to the NFC Championship Game last year. We needed a play to be made, and although my man didn’t have as much opportunities in that game, he came up with the game winner, the go ahead catch to put us ahead so we could eventually go on to win the Super Bowl. And without that play, we don’t win the Super Bowl. We don’t have a chance to be in that game. And fortunately enough tonight, my man had the mental toughness, which he’s always demonstrated, to bounce back when the chips didn’t fall the way that he would like them to. So in that overtime play, and I’m on the sideline watching the coverage and I look at my man Jermaine and I see that he’s dancing at the opportunity that just presented itself, I knew that there was no doubt, and he knew that there was no doubt, and like I said and like he said before, there was no doubt in himself.
Without that play, we’re not going to the Super Bowl, and without many of the plays that he’s made throughout the course was this season, we wouldn’t be where we are today. So I think that this national media, the local media, I think you guys need to step up and start giving my man some respect. I’d appreciate it if you did so.
JERMAINE KEARSE: He’s like my big brother.
DOUG BALDWIN: And if you have any more questions, I’m here 9:00 to 5:00.
Q. What is it about Russell, because he’s done this before, that allows him to face adversity? What is it about him?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I mean, throughout the whole game he was always in there. He was always focused. He kept coming up to us saying we’re going to win this game, we’re going to win this game, there’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to keep coming to you guys. I’m going to stay aggressive. You know, his mental toughness, I mean, you’ve got to credit that, too. Things weren’t going as well for the offense, period, and you know, he led us.
Q. Did either of you guys see the hit that he took on the interception?
JERMAINE KEARSE: Yeah, man, he is a trooper for I saw it. I was running behind him, and he took a hit, and I was like, man. But he got back up like a champ.
Q. When you guys played the Cardinals earlier this year at the University of Phoenix Stadium, did you allow yourselves to think at all, we’re going to be back here?
DOUG BALDWIN: No, not at all.
JERMAINE KEARSE: We were focused on that game.
Q. Doug, do you remember when you first saw that (inaudible) like this guy has that toughness?
DOUG BALDWIN: Y’all do remember that Jermaine Kearse was undrafted, right? He actually got cut his rookie season and he got brought back. I think he played on practice squad for a bit and then he got an opportunity to play in a real game, and he’s been showing up ever since. From day one when he came back and he started destroying our defensive backs, and I mean, destroying our defensive backs in practice, I knew he had the mental toughness to go out there and shine when he got his number called, and he’s done that since day one. You look at last year’s first game against the Carolina Panthers, he comes up with the game winning touchdown. Last year against the NFC championship 49ers, he comes out with the game winning touchdown pass, and you see tonight there’s no difference. Like I said, what are you guys looking at?
Q. Did you use pedestrian with a capital P?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I just want to I really want to shout out our defense. I mean, they stuck with it. I mean, look at those goal line stands, holding them to two field goals when we had two turnovers. Those guys really played lights out. You know, some guys got banged up, and I looked at a couple of them, and they had no doubt in their mind that they was going to stay in that game and give it all they got, and that’s exactly what they did. So I just wanted to shout out the defense.
Q. What was it that you saw that had you dancing?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I knew it was one on one and nobody in the middle, so I knew it was going to come down to beating him. He played it well. I mean, I really didn’t know where he was. I just tunnel vision on the ball, and I knew the ball was going to come my way, so I just tried to make a play.
Q. After a game like this, what have you learned about your team?
JERMAINE KEARSE: I mean, I always knew that we could push through adversity. I always knew that things weren’t always going to go as planned. That’s what I learned about our team. They just kept fighting. There’s no stopping. Just kept playing.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
CB RICHARD SHERMAN
(On the win…) “I believed in our offense, I believed in our playmakers, and Russ always finds a way.“
(On whether this game shows they wouldn’t throw to him with one arm tied behind his back…) “I don’t know what it proves. I was just trying to win the ball game, honestly. It didn’t feel great, but I’m not going to let my teammates down. We didn’t battle this far, I might as well give them until the last second. ”
(On whether anybody has looked at his arm yet… ) “Yeah, they x-ray’ed it, but I haven’t got the results or anything yet. ”
(On not letting them look at it during the game…) “I wasn’t going to come out of the game to deal with that. They got back to me to go in and get it X-ray’ed, but at that point in the game, there’s 10 minutes left, I figure I’ll give my teammates 10 minutes. They kept telling me it could get worse, but you know it is what it is. You play for your teammates.”
(On whether he has any sense of what it will be like 2 weeks from now…) “I don’t, but I’ll be out there, I promise you that.”
LB BOBBY WAGNER
(On Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman coming back in to play after injuries…) “You could tell both of them were in a lot of pain, but they have a lot of heart and a lot of grit, and nothing was going to take them off this field. That’s the type of players we have on this team. You’ve got to damn near kill us to get us off this field.“
(On his preparation during the week to get to the ball so fast…) “I just watch a lot of film. Coach Norton helps me out a lot. I think I just zone in, man. At the end of the day, when I get to the game, I’m not even thinking, I’m just having fun. I’m just trying to make plays, be the first one to the ball. That’s about it.”
DT KEVIN WILLIAMS
(On whether he had tears in his eyes when he left the field…) “Nah. I’ll probably will think about it later on tonight, and maybe tear up or something, because this is a long time coming. I’m so happy right now. I don’t think I can cry.“
(On how much he wanted to join this defense, and whether it has been what he thought…) “Absolutely what I thought it would be. We have a lot of fun out there, and even down 16, we were still having fun and jumping around and trying to get the crowd in the game and give our offense a chance. Just to keep doing that all season is big.”
(On whether the defense feels extra pressure after the first half… ) “They started in our territory a bunch in that first half; that first quarter might have been the longest quarter of my life. It seemed like it never was going to end. But we kept fighting and kept fighting, and we finally got the tilt on our side.”
WR DOUG BALDWIN
(On a play where he didn’t make a catch…) “We’ve always said that here in Seattle you don’t get a lot of opportunities in the passing game, and you have to make the best of them when you get your chance to. So, that play would have been a big play for us, it would have continued the drive for us. Fortunately enough, we were able to get a first down right after it. Like I said, you don’t get many chances, so you have to make the best of them. At that point I felt like I let my teammates down. My teammates were trusting me to make that play, and I let them down. I felt terrible about it, but fortunately enough, it didn’t matter in the end.“
(On the play of Russell Wilson in the last 10 minutes of the game…) “Indicative of this team. He never counted himself out, we never counted him out. We always believe in the guy next to us, no matter what the situation is, no matter what he’s going through. He had a rough first half, we all did. When you make a throw like that in the fourth quarter, and when Jermaine comes through; I think he had two drops in the first half; I told him I said, don’t worry about that, you’re going to have your opportunity. And he comes and he makes that crucial touchdown catch. That’s what this team is made of. It’s believing in each other and trusting each other.”
FS EARL THOMAS
(On the win…) “It makes you just sit back and like, whoa. It’s bigger than you. It just brought me back to, we really need each other out there. “
(On how they were able to come back…) “Just the will inside of us. We never gave up. It was so much chaos out there for us, flags, turnovers, missed tackles. But we overcame that. That’s just who we are. It’s great to see. This definitely brings us closer as a group. We were down with 3 minutes left, and look what happened.”
(On how he feels… ) “I’m clueless right now.”