The second-year receiver is calling on the support of teammates and memories of past adversity to move on from the last play of Sunday’s game.
An NFL season that has seen him get his first significant playing time has mostly been “one heck of a ride,’’ Seattle receiver David Moore said Thursday.
The first real detour into unexpected territory came last Sunday, when a pass thrown his way on the final play of the game also veered just a little off-course.
Moore flashed open in the back of the end zone on an untimed down from the 6-yard line Seattle was granted following a defensive pass interference penalty and had his eyes on a pass from Russell Wilson until, roughly 2-3 feet before it got to him, it was tipped by Chargers safety Jahleel Addae.
“I had my hands fixed right where it was supposed to be and as soon as it got tipped I was like ‘freak,’’’ Moore said. “And it was a tough pass. But next time.’’
That’s the message all involved — coaches, teammates, family — have sent to Moore this week as he deals with his first real piece of adversity during a season in which he went from a seventh-round pick who spent almost all of last year on the practice squad, playing in only one game, to a member of Seattle’s starting three-receiver rotation.
Even though he realized immediately the ball had been tipped, Moore took the play particularly hard.
Maybe others have given him a little of pass for not bringing it in because it was tipped but Moore said “in my mind, if I touch the ball — that’s just me — I will consider it myself a drop.’’
Moore lay face down in the end zone as he saw the ball — and a potential tie game in what would have been rather miraculous circumstances with Seattle having trailed by 15 inside the final two minutes — get away.
He was then shielded from reporters afterward by veteran teammate Doug Baldwin (Thursday’s comments his first on the play since the game) and once home decided not to look at the play that night.
“I tried to stay away from it for a while,’’ Moore said. “I say Monday after meetings and stuff I tried to watch it and I was like ‘all right, it’s over with. Now on to LA (Los Angeles), the Rams.’’’
Watching the replay at least confirmed to Moore that there wasn’t a whole lot he could have done other than somehow hang on to a catch that has a very low percentage once tipped.
“It’s a tough catch,’’ said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who said he didn’t realize until later that it had been tipped. “It’s a really tough catch. He’s kind of tracking the ball, he sees it coming, and then all of a sudden it takes a strange turn.’’
And maybe Moore would kick himself more if there was something he could have done differently to prepare for such a play. But there’s simply no way to really replicate catching a fastball of the type that Wilson threw that was then tipped so close before it reached him.
“I went home and I was sitting there trying to think about ways to practice that,” he said. “And I’m like ‘there is no way to do it.’ So I just had to come cool with it and just let it ride.”
Moore had also done exactly as told on the play, running a crossing route in the back of the end zone, continuing on as the play called for as Wilson dropped back and then moved up in the pocket.
“That was the whole concept of it,’’ he said, of attempting to break open against the Chargers’ zone by running the back line of the end zone. “And it was just a little too late. There was some stuff that happened in that play and the man (Addae) was just at the right place at the right time.’’
Addae, in fact, was covering Tyler Lockett, who came across from the other direction. If Wilson had thrown the just a tick sooner, or Lockett gotten there just a tick later. ….
Schottenheimer said that was his message to Moore. “I said ‘a lot of things still had to happen,’’’ Schottenheimer said. “That wasn’t the reason we won or lost that game.’’
Schottenheiemr said he also reminded more of a team mantra that “we don’t dwell here.’’
Moore also has drawn on the memory of a tough stretch during his senior season at East Central (Ok.) University.
“I went through a little time where I couldn’t catch a break, I couldn’t catch nothing,’’ Moore said. “I dropped two passes in a game, had it in my head and my coach (offensive coordinator Rashad Jackson) at that moment he helped me out a lot, like go back to that time where you’ve got your mind right. This is just one play, stuff happens, and just learning that you can always overcome what happens stuff like that, and he helped me out during that time. So I guess I’ve been through it all before a little bit, but not on this stage.’’
That’s the difference — this game was seen by millions, and NFL games tend to live on forever among a team’s most ardent fans.
But proof that he was taking the team’s just-move-on approach to heart seemed evident as Moore talked about the play and its aftermath for five minutes or so with reporters Thursday. He said he understands that playing in the NFL means the spotlight is always on, hopefully more good than bad, but that when the bad comes the trick is to be able to flush it quickly in confidence that another similar chance will come again.
“I won’t let it hang over me,’’ Moore said. “Let it go and get it the next time.’’