Last year, Clemson’s Byron Maxwell came home with a Super Bowl trophy.
Seattle’s Maxwell, again, and Indianapolis’ Dwayne Allen have that same chance with two games left on the NFL calendar.
Maxwell’s Seahawks pulled away from Carolina with a 17-point fourth-quarter in the 31-17 win Saturday.
They did so, however, mostly without the starting cornerback’s help, who had shortness of breath on gameday.
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“Byron just didn’t feel well enough,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said postgame. “We thought he would come out of it. He was sick during the week. He just didn’t feel well enough to contribute on a steady basis so he participated on special teams, and he was available to us if we needed him in the nickel (as a fifth defensive back on passing downs).
“But, really, he just didn’t feel well, at all.”
The Seahawks host Green Bay next week (3 p.m., Sunday, FOX).
While Seattle was a heavy favorite, Indianapolis knocked off the AFC’s 2-seed in Denver, and Allen was named a player of the game by the Colts.
Allen’s second-quarter, 3-yard touchdown grab proved to be all the points Indy really needed, in a 24-13 win.
The former Tiger tight end says their play reflected a team mindset, bought-in, ‘all in,' you could say.
“Huge, huge. We talked early on in the week about us growing up as a ballclub,” Allen said. “We made strides from our first year to our second year and now in our third year – we needed to take another step. And that other step is the Super Bowl. That was the consensus in the locker room and every guy started to sacrifice and get into the playbook more. Get into the gameplan more. Defensively, we dominated. The offensive line played great.”
“Our coaches prepared us so well to play our best game of the year.”
The Colts return to where their season ended last January, Boston, for a matchup with the 1-seed New England Patriots (6:40 p.m., Sunday, CBS). They lost 43-22 after a one-score margin into the fourth quarter. Allen missed most of the 2013 season with a hip injury.
“Last year I wasn’t able to make the trip, I remember hearing coach (Scott Pagano) talk about it,” Allen said. “He said we’d be back. To have the opportunity to go up there for the AFC Championship – we wouldn’t want it any other way. They have a heck of a team and a heck of a defense and quarterback and offensive skill, but again, it’s time for us to grow up.”