Originally written January 17, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
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Where it all went wrong for Seattle against Atlanta Alright Seattle Seahawks fans, it’s time to step back from the ledge and do what we do best; point the finger at who cost us a shot at Lombardi’s trophy. And for this, we have to start at the top—head coach Pete Carroll. Yes, it’s true that the Hawks fared far better than pre-season expectations. And yes, it’s true that Carroll’s own instincts allowed us fans to witness the emergence of a dynamic young quarterback.  But just what was going through his mind in short-yardage situations on Sunday? Actually, we’ll get to that later.  The first call I would like to bring up was the fourth-down situations in the first half, where kicking a field goal seemed to be completely forbidden by Carroll. Unless Kicker Steven Hauschka was more banged up than we were lead to believe, the Hawks could have secured an easy three points twice. But sensing a weakness, Ol’ Pete went searching for major scores, both times coming up empty handed.  Just think where three or six more points would have the Seahawks now. Pete Carroll is partly to blame for the loss to the Falcons. The second gaffe in Carroll’s coaching strategy was actually a recurring theme, and proved to be most fatal in the end—the failure to shut down Atlanta’s tight end, Tony Gonzales.  It seemed like the Falcons QB Matt Ryan targeted the feature receiver on every third down pass.  And time and time again he came up with the timely catch. Kam Chancellor couldn’t stop him, and KJ Wright wasn’t able to either. But at no time was Gonzales ever double-teamed.  It was Gonzales who came down with a huge reception late in the contest to set up Atlanta’s game-clinching field goal. Coach Darrell Bevell is being considered for many head coaching spots, which is fair. His defense was solid throughout the season, but he had to do a better job of adjusting his personnel on Sunday, and it was up to Carroll to make that happen. Finally, the last point to reflect upon was those ill-fated third and fourth downs in short-yardage situations.  If there was any a time to run the read option, that was it.A simple misdirection hand-off to Michael Robinson wasn’t going to cut it.   That play took too long to develop and the Falcons’ D was positioned to shut the short run. Next time, take it wide, have the end make the wrong decision and leave the defenders in the dust.  When your backfield has Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, you keep the ball in their hands at crucial times. Two chances for one yard and Carroll goes away from the bread and butter that lead to a fantastic season. Alas I digress. I just had to get that off my chest.  When you watch the game at the local watering hole, you are surrounded by about 30 guys, who, after a few pints, are now all better coaches than Pete Carroll. They’re dead wrong most of the time, but on these three illustrations, I’d have to give them the benefit of the doubt.  So drink up lads, if it helps to ease the pain. But let it be known, our beloved Hawks are in good hands for seasons to come. Cheers, The Bartender. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
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