Next time, do the simple thing, give the ball to Lynch

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For the Seahawks fans who have recovered from the defibrillation, there may be solace in the fact that they’re going forward with championship-caliber talent.

They’re young enough and combative enough. And you pretty much can be guaranteed they’re going to have a great deal of motivation.

But the question now becomes whether they can emotionally rebound from a stunningly heartbreaking defeat to New England in Super Bowl 49.

Can they regain that confidence? Can they regain whatever degree of composure they surrendered at times as this went from an apparent win to a loss that will carry scars?

The 28-24 loss is all the more devastating because it was there for them. Just a yard away. Just a yard from a second straight Super Bowl title. A yard from being considered the new NFL dynasty.

A yard from further validation of their entire approach to how football should be played in the NFL.

A yard. Marshawn Lynch picks up yards all over the place, sometimes with 11 guys on his back.

But Marshawn Lynch didn’t get a chance. They called a pass play on second-and-goal from the New England 1 with :26 and a timeout remaining.

Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted and head coach Pete Carroll was left to explain why in the world the ball was put in the air.

The logic of his explanation was faulty. He explained that the Pats put in their run-stopping goal-line package when the Hawks had three receivers on the field.

The matchup mandated a pass play. He said if it scored, great, if it didn’t, they could run it on third down.

“We were going to run the ball to win the game, but not on that down,” he said.

Well, did they ever waste it.

If you’re going to risk burning a down, do it by handing it off to the best, toughest, most forceful and tenacious back in the NFL. Do it twice if you have to. Because you’re not going to lose the game that way.

The best way to lose the game is to throw a pass and have it intercepted.

No way around it, this was botched. Either some heads need to roll, or there must be some serious reconsideration of how they operate in the red zone.

As Carroll said when he took the podium, “… all of the things that happened before are really meaningless to you now.”

Yes, and that’s a shame. This looked like another giant triumph in so many ways. Another unknown castoff player, receiver Chris Matthews, had a breakout game with four great catches.

The defense had largely throttled Patriot icon Tom Brady. Jermaine Kearse made another indescribable catch in the clutch.

And quarterback Russell Wilson had masterfully directed what would be the game-winning drive in the final minutes — again.

But it stopped a yard short, when a pass play was called.

In some ways, though, it started unraveling before that. When the Hawks took a 24-14 lead in the third quarter on a pass to Doug Baldwin, Baldwin celebrated the occasion by miming a defecation in the end zone.

It drew a penalty, as it should. It wasn’t some kind of statement. It certainly wasn’t an expression of joy in scoring in the Super Bowl, of taking a big lead in the world’s biggest game.

It was crass and classless. And inexcusable.

And from that point, they were outscored 14-0.

Carroll took the blame. Wilson tried to take the blame, too.

Wilson has won so many games that might have been loses, it’s easy to just see this as a defender making a great play on a route that shouldn’t have been called.

And when affixing the blame on Carroll, here’s what you have to remember: Without Carroll and whatever other decisions he’s made, and the way he’s handled these guys and the way he motivated them, this team might have finished 8-8 this season.

When this thing was on the verge of unraveling, he pulled them together, reminded them that their greatness lies in their collective beliefs. That meeting got them here.

“What we’ve got to do is come back and train harder to be sure we get those opportunities to get back,” said defensive end Michael Bennett, who played a spectacular game. “We lost this game, but it doesn’t determine the rest of our legacy.”

I tend to agree with him. Wilson will get his contract and will only improve. The defensive core will be intact.

And hints are that Lynch will be back, too, maybe even with more money.

The talent is here.

And when they get within a yard next time, they need to do the simple, logical thing: Give the ball to Marshawn.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Stanwood's Ryder Bumgarner rushes with yardage with Arlington's Trenton Lamie, left, closing in the third quarter Friday night at Stanwood High School on September 24, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A look at this week’s top local high school football matchups

Rivalry games and conference matchups highlight Week 5 of the local prep football season.

The Everett Silvertips’ Olen Zellweger maneuvers around a Vancouver Giants defender during a strong first period for the Silvertips in the first round of the WHL playoffs Friday, April 22, 2022, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ducks send star defenseman Zellweger back to Silvertips

The 19-year-old standout and reigning WHL Defenseman of the Year should provide Everett with a huge boost.

Cascade's Julian Thomas jumps over multiple tackles during the game against Jackson on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Week 5 prep football leaderboard

A look at the area’s top passers, rushers and receivers.

X
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 19-25

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 19-25. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Seattle Mariners, including Adam Frazier (26), J.P. Crawford, center, Chris Flexen (77), Luis Castillo, second from right, and Cal Raleigh, right, celebrate after a single by Crawford in the 11th inning drove in the winning run in a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Seattle. The Mariners won 10-9. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Mariners outlast Rangers, reduce magic number to 1

Seattle wins 10-9 in 11 innings to move one win, or one Baltimore loss, away from clinching a playoff berth.

Retired professional bowler Darrell Storkson beams as he walks on stage to accept his Hall of Fame induction during the 2022 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame banquet Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022, at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: Class of 2022 inducted in county sports Hall of Fame

The nine new members, plus The Herald’s Man and Woman of the Year in Sports, were honored at a banquet Wednesday evening.

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 29

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Stanwood's Michael Mascotti relays the next play to his teammates during football practice on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football picks for Week 5

Local experts take a crack at picking the winners for the fifth week of games.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. attempts a pass while being pressured by Stanford defensive end Stephen Herron Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Preview: No. 15 Washington at UCLA

The Huskies travel to face the Bruins in their first road test of the season.

Most Read