By Brady Henderson
You weren’t alone if you got that deja vu feeling while watching Steven Hauschka attempt a 61-yard field goal during the Seahawks’ preseason opener Thursday night.
It was back in 2011 when coach Pete Carroll sent the kicking unit out to attempt a field goal from the same distance in the closing seconds of what would be a two-point loss to the Falcons in Seattle. The second-guessing began even before Hauschka mishit the ball, leaving it short and wide left.
“He has enough leg to hit a big kick,” Carroll said after that 2011 game, explaining his rationale for attempting an improbably long field goal.
That moment came to mind Thursday night when Carroll sent Hauschka out for another 61-yard attempt, this time at the end of the first half. Hauschka got the kick off clean but came up just short, his attempt bouncing off the crossbar before landing in the end zone. Another foot, perhaps, and it would have been good.
This is worth noting not because of how it might validate a decision Carroll made two seasons ago but because of how it could alter perceptions of Hauschka’s leg strength.
He’s made 49 of 57 attempts in his two seasons with Seattle, good enough for an 86 percent conversion rate that ranks second in franchise history. But the criticism of Hauschka has been his ability to hit from long range as he’s made three of eight attempts from 50 yards and beyond. The fact that he’s missed five of those tries and attempted only eight in two seasons raised questions about Hauschka’s leg strength.
That near miss Thursday night should answer some of them.