RENTON — They knew this week was coming since the schedule was released back in the spring. A week of being reminded and shown the one play the Seattle Seahawks can’t escape until they win another Super Bowl title.
For some, the final play of that Super Bowl two years ago that was decided when Russell Wilson was intercepted by Malcolm Butler at the goal line still lingers. And it’s all become fresh again this week with Seattle headed to New England for its first matchup against the Patriots since that game.
“It’s a terrible memory. Every time it comes up it just sticks in your gut,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “It’s a new season, it was two years ago. It’s something that’s always there, it’s something I’ve grown from, something that I learned from. But that isn’t going away, it’s always going to be there.”
Everywhere the Seahawks turn this week, the image of that crushing loss are there. Whether it’s the image of Butler flashing in front of Ricardo Lockett to make the interception, Wilson’s stunned look walking off the field or coach Pete Carroll dropping his head in shock.
Couple the natural story line with the national television audience on Sunday night — not to mention the same announcing crew as that Super Bowl — and it’s an avalanche of memories that is seemingly unavoidable.
“I can’t remember what we did three games again, let alone two years ago,” Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril joked.
As expected, Wilson downplayed the significance of seeing the Patriots again, as did most of his teammates. Wilson referred to the memory of that game as a “cut, but it will heal.”
“It’s just a page, and there’s a lot more pages to write,” Wilson said. “So you just move forward. I’m looking forward to this week, obviously playing the Patriots will be a great football game.”
Bevell, as the one who called the fateful play, was the most open about his feelings in the time that has passed.
The decision to have Wilson throw on second down from the 1, rather than call another run play with Marshawn Lynch — who nearly scored on the previous play — haunted Bevell in the aftermath. Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin recalled this week having a lengthy conversation with Bevell about the decision.
“We talked about it. We had an extensive conversation. And what came out of it was we weren’t going to be divisive,” Baldwin said. “We were going to do it together. You win together and you lose together. In those moments — the critics, the fans, everybody can say what they want to say — but at the end of the day there are only a select group of people in this room that have to get it done. And we are going to find a way to do that, together.”
There was a notable hangover that Seattle experienced after losing that game. It wasn’t until November of last year that the Seahawks overcame the lingering effects of that game and rallied to claim a fourth straight playoff berth.
“That’s just the nature of this game. If you play a heck of a game on Sunday you have no choice by Tuesday to let it go,” Avril said. “It’s the same concept with the Super Bowl. After a couple of weeks of seeing the crazy commercials and the highlights of the game you have to let it go and come together as a team. I think that’s what it boiled down to for us as well.”