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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Partial Defense of Pete Carroll

The above images are some of my favorites from Super Bowl XLIX. Like many I was stunned when the Seahawks elected to pass, rather than run, the ball on 2nd down and threw an interception. And I've enjoyed poking fun at Pete Carroll and the Seahawks (see picture below and to the right) after weeks of making fun at my own 49ers.

That said, whatever one might think about Carroll's decision, he wasn't completely loony. With 26 seconds left on the clock and only one timeout, there was no way the Seahawks could have run three straight running plays. They would've run out of time. If they had been forced to run three plays, at least one of those would've been a pass. In fact, they would've had to pass the ball on either 2nd or 3rd down.

Why? Well, let's say the Seahawks ran the ball on 2nd down and didn't score. They would've been forced to call a time out, which means that on 3rd down, they would've passed because if they ran and didn't score, there'd have been be no way for them to stop the clock. So, if you're Pete Carroll, do you pass it on the down when everyone knows you're passing (3rd), or do you pass it when folks aren't sure (2nd)? I think you could make a reasonable argument for throwing on 2nd, rather than 3rd, down.

Still, given Lynch's knack for finding the end zone, I'd have taken a chance on running the ball on 2nd down, and then make darn sure the pass on 3rd down was either incomplete or caught for a touchdown (I'm sure that was Carroll's expectations of Wilson when he threw on 2nd down). Then, if we still hadn't scored, I'd still be able to give one more shot at scoring on 4th down. I just don't see the Patriots keeping Lynch out of the end zone twice. But, you never know. In fact, we'll never know.

I can't believe I'm (partially) defending Pete Carroll. It's time to move on.


  1. Good analysis. I was thinking the time out situation may have played a part in the call. Still, I'd have handed Lynch the ball.