When Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett picked off Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with just over five minutes to go in the fourth quarter of Sunday's NFC Championship Game, it didn't seem like a big deal that he gave himself up after a few yards.
After all, the Packers held a 19-7 lead and were giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers the football around midfield. No need to risk fumbling on the return, right?
Looking back at the play, it may have been the start of Green Bay's collapse. It gave the impression that the Packers thought the game was over.
Spoiler alert: It wasn't.
This wide angle shows just how much room Burnett had to run:
Another angle courtesy of ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky shows that Packers linebacker Julius Peppers signaled for Burnett to go down:
On the ensuing drive, Green Bay ran the ball three times—losing four yards in the process—and punted. The Packers defense would not be able to stop the Seahawks offense the rest of the game. Seattle rallied and the game went to overtime, where the Seahawks pulled out a 28-22 victory.
It's easy to look back on it now and say Burnett should have kept running. He had plenty of running room along the sideline and probably could have gotten the Packers into field-goal range.
If Green Bay had hung on to win the game, nobody would be talking about Burnett giving himself up on the return. However, the Packers lost. A big return by Burnett could have put the Packers in position to finish off the Seahawks. Instead, he played it safe.
There were a lot of things that led to Green Bay's collapse on Sunday.
Burnett obviously does not deserve to be viewed as the scapegoat, but seeing these new angles will make Packers fans wonder if the game would have ended differently had Burnett kept running.