Back in his high school days of playing offense and defense, Rasheem Green didn't care much for offense because as a lineman and a tight end, he spent his time blocking. If he wasn't going to get the ball in his hands, he decided, he'd instead focusing on sacking opposing quarterbacks.
"I didn't like playing O-line," he said. "… It's just not the same as getting sacks, or scoring a touchdowns. That's a whole different thrill."
In Monday night's loss to Washington, however, the fourth-year Seahawks defensive end did get the ball in his hands, and he made the most of that rare opportunity.
Following a Washington touchdown that made the score 9-7, it appeared that the Washington Football Team was going to take a 10-7 lead late in the first half, but on the extra point attempt, Green broke through the line of scrimmage to block the kick. The ball then took a friendly bounce, and Green grabbed it right around the 20-yard line and took off in a sprint, the end result being a defensive 2-point conversion that tied the score a 9-9.
Like just about every defensive player who gets the ball in his hands, Green immediately though big: "In my head, I got the ball and I'm going to the end zone."
Then about halfway through the run, he realized that getting the end zone was realistic as he ran down the left sideline with D.J. Reed and Ugo Amadi escorting him to ward off any would-be tacklers.
"The moment I really saw that this was it was when I got to the 40, 30-yard line," he said "I looked left and saw my teammates next to me, then I saw a guy from another team around me, and saw it was clear."
An extra point getting blocked isn't particularly novel by itself, but to have it returned for a defensive 2-point conversion is unusual—the last defensive 2-point conversion happened in 2019, and there have been only 11 since 2015 when the league made a rule change that allowed defenses to return blocked extra points or turnovers on 2-point tries rather than blow the play dead—and what Green did, recovering his own block and returning it for a 2-point play, is completely unprecedented, having never happened since that 2015 rule change. Green also showed off some serious big-man speed on the play, reaching a top speed of 18.41 miles per hour according NFL Next Gen Stats, the fastest speed reached by a defensive lineman as a ball carrier since then-Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney hit 18.59 miles per hour in Week 4 of the 2019 season.
"We put such pride in that group (special teams) taking their shots every chance we get," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "It's really important to us to show great effort. He's been phenomenal all year long and always going and always making the effort. He's been close so many times, and it's just fitting that he finally got one, but to pick it up and run and do it all, what a great moment. It was a great play for the game. It gave us that chance to tie the thing up. It's a rare play that happens but it was a great effort, and the guys were so fired up for him."
And while Green provided the big highlight, it was hardly a one-man play. As he pointed out after the game, Green was able to get into the backfield so quickly in large part due to the push Al Woods and Poona Ford provided on the line next to Green.
"With Big Al and Poona getting penetration, that helped me come free," he said. "Without the guys to the left and right, that play wouldn't have happened. I got the block—and it happened fast—but the ball seemed like it was just floating. I just grabbed it and started running, and tried not to get tackled."