The 6-foot-5, 220-pound wide receiver now hopes he can capitalize on his surprising performance (four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown) and take up where he left off.
“My expectation is to compete and play as hard as I can and give a great effort for the team and help us win,” Matthews said on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. “My expectation is for us to win. Our defense is No. 1 is the league. I believe wholeheartedly that the offense can be No. 1 in the NFL. We just have to work really hard. We have all the key parts.”
Matthews went from a man who never had caught a pass in an NFL game to a candidate for the Super Bowl MVP award until the fateful play at the end (the game-saving interception at the goal line for New England) that broke the hearts of Seattle fans.
Until that moment, Matthews had gone from obscurity to one-night stardom on the biggest possible stage. It started with an exceptional sideline catch on a 44-yard pass from Wilson in the second quarter.
“It surprised me because the route I ran was a decoy route for the other guys underneath," Matthews said. “I look up, and go, ‘The ball’s really coming at me.’ I was like, ‘OK, let me just put my hands up for it.’ "
That led to Seattle’s first TD. Matthews had an 11-yard TD reception that tied the game before halftime, and he added a 45-yard sideline catch and a nine-yard reception in the third quarter.
For Matthews, the conversation on the sideline before that TD play was the moment he knew coach Pete Carroll believed in him.
“I thank Pete every time I look at it,” Matthews said of the TD catch. “He threw me in there. We called a timeout and Pete said, ‘I want Chris in the game on this side.’ I looked at him like, “I really appreciate this. I’m glad you understand now.’ "
It’s quite a story for the 25-year-old, former Canadian Football League player who was cut by the Seahawks at the end of the preseason. The team signed him to the practice squad, but he didn’t make the 53-man roster until December.
“Last year was a lot of ups and downs for me," Matthews said. “I was just trying to figure out what was best for me. How can I fit in? The biggest thing was when I understood practice means a lot here. You practice hard, you play hard, is what a lot of people say here. I picked that up and embraced it.”
Once he did, Matthews found his place and got his chance in the NFL’s biggest game. He hopes it’s only a glimpse of things to come.
“Everybody has their own story,” Matthews said. “Some get to tell it earlier than others. I think at one point in time, we can all be great.”