"Let me just tell you what happened," coach Pete Carroll said afterward. "Because as you know, the game comes right down and all the things that happened before are meaningless."
He was sadly right: Everything else became meaningless because of that single decision. A head coach known for swashbuckling moves and imaginative ways had made one of the worst choices in pro football history.
Some of his players tried to reason it away. Some did not.
"I don't believe it happened," said receiver Doug Baldwin, showing the same look in his eye that all the 12s in the stands had. "I still haven't figured it out yet."
He tried. Baldwin tried to figure it out. He looked around and up at the ceiling and offered a few words. Then he stopped himself.
"I'm just trying to make up an explanation."
There is none. Not really.
Here's what Carroll said: "We sent in our personnel, they sent in their goal-line [unit]. It was not the right matchup for us to run the football, so on second down we throw the ball to really kind of waste that play. If we score, we do, if we don't, then we run it on third and fourth down."
Waste that play. Those words are almost as stunning as the call itself. There were 26 seconds left.
The Seahawks did waste the play. They also wasted the season.
And wasted what appeared to be a Super Bowl victory.
Least mode instead of Beast mode.