GLENDALE, Ariz.- Chris Matthews came into Super Bowl XLIX without a single catch in the NFL. But he finished Sunday's contest against the New England Patriots with four grabs for 109 yards and a touchdown.
"I've always been one of the key guys in high school, college, the CFL," Matthews said following Seattle's 28-24 defeat against New England at Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium. "So it wasn't anything new to me."
Matthews made a name for himself just two weeks ago during the Seahawks' NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers. In that game, he recovered a crucial onside kick that set up Seattle's go-ahead fourth quarter touchdown.
Undrafted out of Kentucky in 2011, Matthews bounced on and off the Seahawks' practice squad this past season after a standout stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League. He was promoted from the team's practice squad to the active roster in December.
"We've always known that he's talented," said 2014 leading receiver Doug Baldwin. "We've always known that he's had the ability to play. That's why he was in the game."
Matthews' 109 yards receiving tied for the Super Bowl game-high alongside Patriots wideout Julian Edelman. Matthews' catches went for gains of 44 yards - his first career grab; 11 yards - his first career touchdown that tied the game at 14 just before halftime; 45 yards - to help set up a Steven Hauschka field goal; and nine yards - to jump start a six-play, 50-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown from quarterback Russell Wilson to Baldwin.
"Not a lot of guys are going to get a lot of opportunities," Baldwin said of his position group's chances in the team's run-first offense. "Fortunately enough tonight, we had some good matchups with him and he took advantage of his opportunities."
Matthews claimed he didn't think he'd be utilized this much on the NFL's biggest stage. Yet his teammates had faith the 6-foot-5, 218-pound product would produce.
"I had the most confidence in him," said wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, whose acrobatic catch in the waning moments of Sunday's game kept the Seahawks' NFL title hopes alive. "I knew he was able to make those types of plays. We spend time together just trying to figure things out, trying to get him going, and he was able to come up huge for us.
"I was really proud of his performance."
Before Matthews joined the Seahawks, he was labeled the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie in 2012 when he caught 81 passes for the Blue Bombers. Injuries slowed Matthews' 2013 campaign, and in between his final season north of the border and joining the Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest, he worked at Foot Locker and as a security guard.
"If you look at our room period, we've got guys with those types of stories that just put in the work to get on to the team," said Kearse, who along with Baldwin were undrafted pickups of the Seahawks. "And when they get the opportunities, they maximize it."
Despite the stellar performance, Matthews admits he would have been happy with a Super Bowl win and no stats on Sunday.
"We pride ourselves on finishing and we definitely didn't finish today," said Matthews. "It happens. It happens to the best of us. We just have to keep on pushing forward and work out hard this offseason and come back next year."
Super Bowl game action photos.