No One to Blame For Seahawks Loss – It’s Just Playoff Football
Facebook and the web were full of blame Sunday afternoon after the 'Hawks loss.
Many upset Seahawk fans were livid over Pete Carroll's decision to go for it on 4th and 1 in the first half, only to see his runner get stuffed for a one yard loss. Just before the end of the half, poor time management led to the clock running out before Seattle could get their field goal unit on the field, leaving them at a 20-0 deficit at the half.
But those are not necessarily the fault of the coach, or rookie quarterback Russel Wilson. Had the 'Hawks converted that fourth down, they would have had 3, possibly 7 points -- a big momentum changer. Wilson's inexperience perhaps led to some confusion at the end of the half.
But this is the result of what sports commentators often refer to as playoff football. Not only are the stakes higher, but mistakes that don't seem to cost you in the regular season can come back and bite you in the end in the post-season. Peyton Manning of the Broncos threw a pick-six against the Ravens in Denver Saturday. That was one of the scores that helped Baltimore keep pace with the Broncos, and perhaps put them in a position to be able to tie the game in the late stages.
But ultimately when you look at it, the Manning interception did not cause the Denver defense to overplay the ball and allow the Ravens to score on a long bomb that sent the game to O.T. Carroll's decision to go for it on 4th down did not cause the Seattle defense to sit in its soft zone, and let Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hit two big throws to get Atlanta into field goal range for the winning 49 yarder. That came after the Seahawks had taken the lead with only :31 left in the game. Some of Carroll's decisions did not cause his defense to be run over like bowling pins by Atlanta backs Turner and Rodgers in the first half. It wasn't Carroll's fault the Legion of Boom got boomed.
Mistakes are often magnified in the post-season. Green Bay muffed a punt Saturday night, giving the '49rs the ball inside the Packer 20 yard line. The resulting score tied the game at 14-14 and killed the momentum the Pack had just started to establish.
Who knows? Had Green Bay not done that, maybe Aaron Rodgers would have driven down, scored, and the Packers had a 17-7 or 21-7 lead, instead of tied going towards halftime. Green Bay had been moving the ball rather easily against the San Francisco defense.
Mistakes and big plays did affect the outcome of the games this weekend, but there is not necessarily anyone to "blame." As we said earlier, the playoffs are a whole different animal. The teams are much better, the stakes are much higher, and literally every play can make a difference in the outcome.
So don't go calling for Carroll's head. It's just playoff football!