For Kentucky fans, it was no surprise that Randall Cobb scored a first-quarter touchdown Sunday that helped push the Green Bay Packers' lead to 13-0 over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game in Seattle.
But it was quite a shock when Cobb's former teammate at UK, Chris Matthews, made a game-changing play on special teams that helped ignite Seattle's unlikely, come-from-behind victory in overtime.
"The coaches made the right call, and we all ran down there believing we were going to get the ball," Matthews said Sunday. "We were going to scratch, scrape and claw when we got down there."
His teammates' and coach's praise for his onside-kick recovery continued on Monday.
"Can I talk about the Chris Matthews play?" fellow undrafted wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said. "That was huge. I talk to Chris a lot and just to see his progression, even when he was on practice squad and when he got activated to the 53, just to see him maximize opportunities is definitely joyful.
"That might be the play of the game right there. For him to get the onsides and make a heads up play like that is truly incredible."
Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said he likes how the 6-foot-5 wide receiver has made a difference on special teams in short time. (Matthews didn't have any catches in three regular-season appearances.)
"The first time he participated in special teams he really showed he was a factor," Carroll said. "He could really be unique — he is so big for a receiver, he crossed over in some areas that made him more valuable to us."
Matthews' road to playoffs hero has been a long one. Seattle cut him twice this season, and he spent most of it on its practice squad.
The California native was a four-star prospect out of Los Angeles Harbor College who ended up signing to play for the Cats and Rich Brooks in 2009.
But Matthews said Monday that he had dreamed of playing for hometown power Southern California. He told Sports Illustrated that while visiting a junior-college teammate, he found out that Carroll, then USC's coach, lived next door.
"So I ran out to my car, and I had a box of DVDs of my highlights," Matthews told Sports Illustrated. "I took a disc — and this was real bold of me, but I was real desperate."
He wound up giving the DVD to Carroll's wife, Glena.
"I said, Hey, my name is Chris Matthews, and gave her the whole rundown, and she said she'd give it to him. And that was it. No call."
Matthews eventually signed with UK, but it wasn't the last he'd see of the Carrolls.
"She didn't even remember me," Matthews told Sports Illustrated, "and when I met Pete I was like, c'mon man, why didn't you recruit me? I gave you my tape. And he was like, really? When did this happen?
"It's kind of funny now."
Matthews played only two seasons at Kentucky, but they were productive.
He had 32 catches for 354 and three touchdowns as a junior in 2009.
During that season, Matthews predicted future success after getting that first year of Southeastern Conference experience.
"It will be a huge difference," he said. "I'll come out here with no intentions of playing around. I want to get bigger and stronger. By next year, we'll really see some things happen. I think a lot will be out there for me."
He was right.
He found the end zone nine times as a senior in 2010, when he had 61 catches for 925 yards.
Those nine receiving TDs were a team high — two more than Cobb (although Cobb also had nine rushing scores and three TD passes).
Matthews' NFL career took some time to get traction.
After he went undrafted in 2011, he signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns. But he was cut before the season started.
He ended up signing with the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2012, and he made an immediate impact.
Matthews was the league's rookie of the year after scoring seven touchdowns and gaining 1,192 yards.
But a serious turf toe injury limited him to four games the next season, when he had only 14 catches and one touchdown.
Making the Seahawks
Matthews signed a reserve/future contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 18, 2014.
But it wasn't as simple as that might sound.
He told Sports Illustrated on Monday that he almost bailed out on his tryout.
Matthews was working two jobs — at Foot Locker and as a security guard. When the Seahawks called with little notice for him to fly to Seattle, he balked.
"I don't get off of work until 9 p.m. I don't know if I'll make it," he told a Seahawks official.
But Matthews said his agent called minutes later and said, "What are you thinking? Get yourself home, pack up and go. Are you out of your mind?!"
Matthews made the trip to Seattle.
"Man, I almost messed up, bad," he told Sports Illustrated. "And look at this now."