By Scott Taylor
Say what you will — and yes it was the finest fourth quarter of MVP Tom Brady’s career — the Seattle Seahawks had Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLIX in the bag.
They were in the final minute, trailing 28-24, but after a remarkable catch by Jermaine Kearse, they were second-and-goal from the New England Patriots two yard line.
The most important part of this entire situation, however, was that Marshawn Lynch was wearing a Seattle uniform. Lynch had slashed and ploughed and thundered and Beast Moded for 102 yards on 24 carries already. He’d just knocked two people on their butts to drive the ball from the five to the two. He had three more chances to push it into the end zone with 20 seconds to go and one timeout left.
And then, for reasons known only to the Seahawks coaching staff, quarterback Russell Wilson decided to throw.
Now there are a number of levels of stupid. You reach certain levels by thinking, “OK, this seems to be a good idea.” Others are reached by figuring, “Oh, what the hell, I’m drunk.” And even others are reached by saying to yourself, “Let’s let everyone see how brilliant I am.”
On Sunday night, somebody on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff – Darrell Bevell — thought a pick play and a short pass was the way to success. Trouble was, undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler out of Western Alabama, read the play like a Tweet and intercepted the ball on the New England one-yard line.
Call me crazy, but where did Marshawn Lynch go? You have the best tough-yardage back in all of football, and you’ve decided to pass from your opponent’s two-yard line? That’s a firing offense. That’s something the Vikings would do. Oh yeah, I forgot. Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell used to be the Vikings offensive coordinator.
That plays was so stupid, it defies all logic. Now, to be marginally fair, Lynch was one-for-five on one-yard TD runs this season, but puh-leeze. It was Marshawn Lynch in the Super Bowl, not Marshawn Lynch against Arizona in Week Who Cares?
Oh yeah, and also to be fair (Why, you ask?) offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had concerns about the clock.
“We were conscious of how much time was on the clock and we wanted to use it all,” Bevell said. “It didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would.
“Of course I can say now I wish we had done something different. There are 20 different things going through my mind that we can do. If you run it that doesn’t mean you would score on that play.”
True, but you had one time out left and well, Marshawn Lynch.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll took full responsibility for the call.
“We were going to run the ball in to win the game, but not on that play,” Carroll said. “I didn’t want to waste a run play on their goal-line guys. It was a clear thought, but it didn’t work out right. The guy (Butler) made a play that no one would have thought he could make.”
Ouch. It’s never good to underestimate your opponent.
“I knew the route combination,” Butler said. “They were trying to pick me and (Brandon) Browner, but we knew that was coming, so I was able to jump the route and intercept it.”
It will long be remembered as one of the poorest play calls in NFL history, but as Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said, “The game should not have come down to that one play.”