SEATTLE, Wa. -- "We learned about what happens when a coach gets hormonal and tries to jam it down their frickin' throat for the touchdown."
That's how Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll explained the decision to go for it from the Cincinnati Bengals' three-yard line on fourth-and-2 from the opposing three-yard line with 14 seconds left to go in the first half of their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Seahawks sent running back Marshawn Lynch(notes) up the middle out of a shotgun set, and this is what happened.
There are several fishy things here. First, the Seahawks' call to run it up the middle on fourth down was … well, interesting. Second, you can clearly see several Bengals defenders lay in Lynch after the play is over to insure that the clock runs out. And then, you can see defensive tackle Domata Peko(notes) (#94) kick the ball away, either by accident or on purpose — that part of tough to discern.
Asked about the sequence of events, Carroll focused on the call and execution.
"Yeah, it was really simple — I wanted to jam it down in there, and I screwed up with the time out [on the play before]. I knew what happened — I knew where we were and all — but I thought we'd surprise them and make it in. We had a nice call to throw or run it, depending on what they did, we had the look we wanted to run the football, and we just missed it by a foot. Attitude-wise and competing-wise, I don't mind that — I just wish we had done it right. It was a factor, because it would have been nice to have nine points after the next field goal, but that was totally on me. If I had to do it again, knowing that we had the ball coming out at halftime, I might have changed [the call]. I knew we'd have to hurry it up if we didn't make it … but I still wanted to knock it in.
"It's tough to balance it, because I have an attitude and a personality about how I want to do it, but as a team, we're not quite able to take advantage of that yet.
"I took the time to see if we had a good call, and we had a really good call. We had a real shot at it. We made the right call — it was the run check. But they did a really good job of batting the football in that situation. But when you're so close — you feel like you can get back up and clock it right there. But they kicked the football, and the referees were scrambling around, and we didn't get our shot."
And what about how the officials handled it? "In the melee that occurred, [the Bengals] did a good job of sitting on it, and then the guy batted the ball and knocked the ball away. None of the officials saw that happen, or they would have reset the clock for us."
When asked about the play after the game, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson(notes) wasn't so sure. "On that last play, we had a 'check-with-me' or alert -- if we got a certain defense, we were going to run it. If we got one-on-one outside, we were gonna throw it. I felt that we could get it in, and even if we didn't, I felt that we could still spike the ball if the first down. The [Bengals] were kind of laying on Marshawn, and we were trying to pull him up, and then they kicked the ball.
"Me and a couple of offensive linemen were trying to pull him up, and I don't know what the referees are supposed to do in that situation. I would have liked to see them intervene or do something. We knew it was going to be close, and we took that chance.
At no time did anyone from the Seahawks sat that this play would have made some sort of epic difference — when you get waxed, 34-12, you're not a play or two away from turning it around — but it did indicate just how much Tony Corrente's crew failed to keep control of the game. There were several questionable calls on both teams, and Corrente himself seemed confused at times just what the jersey numbers were for the offending players.
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