by Paul Wanecski
At this point, you have probably heard everything you need to hear about Seattle’s 2nd and goal interception in the closing seconds for Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick said that he wasn’t surprised by the call while Pete Carroll has taken full responsibility for play selection. Russell Wilson’s pass was near perfect, yet we get another reminder that near perfect doesn’t win you football games.
Enter the circus that is Marshawn Lynch. Taking to the airwaves on Turkey’s “Top Sports Network”, he reiterated his theory that the Seahawks did not want him to be MVP of the Super Bowl; hence the call to throw on 2nd down was made. Columnist Vic Carucci called Lynch “the gift that keeps on giving” this morning on the NFL Network’s SiriusXM channel, a statement that is hard to argue with. This brings to light another theory; if the Seahawks wanted Wilson to be the game MVP, why not call consecutive plays in the huddle, one a QB sneak so Russell would get credit for the rushing touchdown, then the follow up play a rush up the middle. This coupled with the team’s last remaining timeout if the 3rd down play was unsuccessful, would have left only a few seconds on the clock. As is the constant, Marshawn Lynch doesn’t exactly think before he speaks, reminding a majority of residents in the Buffalo NY area who were upset to see him leave to such success just the kind of beast he really is.
I digress. After the interception, New England was hit with an Unsportsmen-like celebration penalty, placing the ball on the Seahawks 1 yard line. At the time, Seattle only had 1 remaining time out and New England was too close to the goal line to be able to kneel on the ball to run out the last remaining seconds. Seattle, due to poor play clock management, had squandered those timeouts earlier in the 4th quarter. Here is the breakdown of how those were used:
1. Just after the 2 minute warning, Wilson threw an incomplete pass, leaving 2nd and 10. Without being able to get the Offensive line on the snap count, Wilson is forced to burn their first time out. That is right; this was after an incomplete pass.
2. Following the high-light reel reception by Kearse along the right sideline, Seattle again had to burn another time out with 1:06 remaining on the game clock, again, to avoid another delay of game penalty. Kearse had run out of bounds, stopping the clock. Again, another time out spent after a play stoppage.
Suddenly 1st and 10 on the 1 yard line doesn’t seem so intimidating with 3 time outs. Had Seattle been able to stuff the Patriots in the end zone, they would have scored a Safety, 2 points, and the ball back near in field goal range after the free kick. They were losing by 4. After the safety, a last second field goal wins the game. Even if Seattle is unable to stop the Patriots in the end zone, just halting them prior to a first down gives them a chance, albeit, not much of one. It wasn’t the interception that lost Seattle the game. The neutral zone infraction, trying to jump the count, most likely wouldn’t have happened with the security of being able to stop the clock with 3 time outs.
All I am saying is the game didn’t end at the interception. A series of poor decision making did that.