Seahawks coach Pete Carroll will have a lot of explaining to do.
His decision to throw the ball on second down on the one yard line, with 20 seconds to go, will go down as one of the worst play calls in the history of the NFL — he essentially threw a second straight Vince Lombardi trophy in the garbage. Rookie Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass, which led to a New England Patriots win.
This play call changed the game from a likely victory into a crushing defeat in an instant. For all the good Pete Carroll has done for the Seahawks — building them into a contender and a powerhouse in the NFL — this will probably go down as his most memorable moment, and that’s a shame.
The Seahawks should have just run the ball. Even if they didn’t get it in on that play, they could have easily taken a timeout and tried again. This would have left the Patriots with maybe two Hail Marys, and I would take those odds easily. I mean, you have arguably the best running back in the NFL on your team, a guy who has shown time and time again he can knock over opposing tacklers and go downfield. And he only needed one yard. One yard!
And even throwing the ball wasn’t necessarily a bad call — it was the play design, throwing the ball on a slant route into very tight coverage. If the coaching staff had their heart set on throwing the ball, why not run an isolation route? Get Jermaine Kearse or Chris Matthews, who were both having big games, on the outside and throw it to the far corner, and hope that one of them catches it. If the play doesn’t work, its not a big deal, as it’s an incomplete pass and the clock is stopped. Then you can run the ball. But instead, the ball was turned over and now the rest is history.
What appeared to be a storybook ending to another amazing season instead became something more akin to a twist ending to a bad horror movie. And unfortunately for Seahawks fans, I have a feeling this is the closest they are going to get to winning the Super Bowl for a long time.