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Unknown Seahawks receiver Chris Matthews stars on biggest stage

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It took one half for Chris Matthews to go from NFL unknown to a name casual football fans know. That is what the Super Bowl stage can do.

The wide receiver caught his first pass of the season in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLIX to jump-start a Seahawks offense that had been stymied. Russell Wilson lobbed a 44-yard pass that Matthews hauled in to set up Marshawn Lynch's 3-yard touchdown run, and then with two seconds remaining in the second quarter, Matthews caught an 11-yard touchdown pass as Patriots fourth cornerback Logan Ryan offered little resistance.

Talk about an emergence for Matthews, who before the Super Bowl was known for recovering the onside kick in the comeback victory over the Packers in the NFC championship game. The Seahawks signed Matthews last February after he spent two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL.

A former Kentucky player, Matthews joined the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2011 before going north of the border. He was named the Most Outstanding Rookie in the CFL in 2012 when he made 81 catches for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Matthews is a cousin of late NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White.

Ecstasy, agony: As much success as Tom Brady has had in the Super Bowl, Jeremy Lane joined a small club when he intercepted the Patriots quarterback, thwarting a long drive late in the first quarter.

Unfortunately for the Seahawks, it was the final play of the game for the nickel cornerback, who suffered a gruesome broken left arm following a return.

Lane became only the third player to intercept Brady in a Super Bowl — joining Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn and Panthers cornerback Reggie Howard — at the end of what was a 13-play drive that took 7 minutes, 41 seconds.

What was surprising about the play is there wasn't a Patriots receiver nearby and the catch at the goal line was easy for Lane, who was injured trying to brace himself after being tackled at the sideline by wide receiver Julian Edelman.

Lane's replacement, Tharold Simon, was quickly picked on by Brady. When the Patriots got the ball back, Brady went to work on the backup. Facing third-and-9 from the Seahawks' 35-yard line, Brady threw a short pass underneath to Edelman, who eluded Simon for a 23-yard gain.

The game's first score came on an 11-yard slant route by Brandon LaFell, who got inside of Simon to create an easy throwing lane for Brady.

Long drought: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did not complete his first pass until 5:19 remained in the second quarter on a 6-yard toss to Jermaine Kearse. He had thrown two incompletions and been sacked twice as the Patriots did a nice job of covering his targets, with cornerback Darrelle Revis matching up on Doug Baldwin. Wilson's next pass went for 44 yards to Matthews.

Helping the cause: In being selected as the Salute to Service Award winner, Bears defensive end Jared Allen had $25,000 donated to his Homes for Wounded Warriors program. Allen recently got Home Depot and Lane Furniture to come on board to aid the charity.

"Our money goes to our vets," Allen said. "That is what we are about. Our brand will never outgrow our cause."

Extra points: The Super Bowl will return to Northern California for the first time since 1985 when Super Bowl 50 is played Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Super Bowl LI will be in Houston followed by Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. … Each player on the winning team's roster will receive $97,000. The losers' share is $49,000 per player. … The NFL chose to keep the retractable roof open for the game. It was closed for all eight Cardinals home games this season, a choice made by the club to maximize crowd noise. … The Patriots deactivated running back Jonas Gray. The Notre Dame product rushed for 86 yards in New England's demolition of the Bears, and two weeks later rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns in a victory over the Colts. He has had only 24 rushes in the regular season and playoffs combined since, demoted after oversleeping for a meeting before a game against the Lions. The arrival of LeGarrette Blount didn't help either. … Brady's second-quarter touchdown pass to LaFell was his 50th career postseason TD pass, the most in NFL history. … Brady's 22-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter was his 11th scoring pass in the Super Bowl, tying him with Joe Montana for the most ever.

bmbiggs@tribpub.com

Twitter @BradBiggs

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