Pete Carroll: Kicking on fourth down is what we do, no reason to change

Michael David Smith

In the last few seasons, NFL coaches have become increasingly aggressive about going for it on fourth down, as more teams weigh the analytics that say going for it is often a better decision than punting or kicking a field goal. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll won’t join in that trend.

Carroll twice kicked in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens in situations when the analytics would say to go for it. He said today on 710 ESPN that he stands by both of those decisions.

We’re kicking it. That’s what we do. That’s what our mentality’s going to be and there’s no reason to change,” Carroll said, via Adam Jude of the Seattle Times.

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The first of Carroll’s questionable fourth-down decisions came on fourth-and-3 at the Ravens’ 35-yard line with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Seahawks kicker Jason Myers, who has struggled all year, missed a 53-yard field goal in the poor weather. It might seem, given Myers’ struggles and the rain, that it would have been a good time to go for it. But Carroll said going for it on fourth-and-3 was not an option. If Carroll hadn’t felt Myers had a shot at making the field goal, he would have punted instead.

The second, and even more questionable, decision came on fourth-and-4 at the Seahawks’ 44-yard line with 12:50 to play in the fourth quarter. Given that the Seahawks were trailing 20-13 at the time, they were running out of time to come back and win the game, and it would seem that trusting Russell Wilson to make a play that could gain at least four yards would be the wiser decision. But Carroll punted instead.

The Ravens’ ensuing drive took most of the remaining time off the clock and ended with a field goal that pretty much sealed the Seahawks’ loss. Carroll is adamant that he won’t change his ways about kicking on fourth down, but he ought to consider it. Those two decisions factored into his team losing a game that was close into the fourth quarter.

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