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Carroll defends running fake punt with 30-point lead


By Brady Henderson

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters Sunday that he felt bad about successfully executing a fake punt while leading Buffalo 47-17 in the fourth quarter.

He seemed less apologetic when he joined “Brock and Salk” on Monday. He corrected Brock Huard when the co-host suggested that Carroll said he should have called off the fake punt given the comfortable lead.

The Seahawks led Buffalo 47-17 in the fourth quarter when they successfully executed a fake punt, handing off to Michael Robinson for a 29-yard gain. (AP)

“No, I said I could have,” Carroll said.

The fake punt was an “automatic” in the Seahawks’ game plan, something they were going to attempt if they saw Buffalo lined up in a specific formation. The play wasn’t called from the sideline at that moment, in other words.

“This was a play that we had seen all week long, that we were excited about because we knew we had a chance. I told the guys the night before the game, ‘Hey, we’re going with this. If we get a chance, we’re going for it,'” Carroll said.

The Seahawks got that chance with 12:49 remaining in the game. Chris Maragos took a direct snap and handed the ball off to Michael Robinson, who ran up the middle for a 29-yard gain. That extended a drive that ended in a field goal, the final points the Seahawks would score in their 50-17 win.

Carroll could have called off the fake but decided to stick with the game plan.

“We had not called off the dogs, we had not backed off, we had not substituted and done all that stuff at that point in the game, so we were still in an aggressive mode,” he said. “My point was that it’s unfortunate people felt bad about it or they felt uncomfortable about that. But we’re on the attack and we’re playing football. There’s a time, but it my mind that wasn’t what we were into. I could have done it, but I didn’t.”

Bills coach Chan Gailey declined to comment on the play, which is a pretty clear indication that he wasn’t too happy about it.

This is the second week in a row Carroll is facing questions about what some consider running up the score. The Seahawks led Arizona 51-0 in the fourth quarter when they had backup quarterback Matt Flynn attempt a pass into the end zone on fourth-and-23. Carroll’s reasoning was that he wanted Flynn, who hadn’t taken a regular-season snap until that game, to attempt different types of throws.

As for the fake punt, Carroll added that he wanted to maintain possession as opposed to giving the ball back to an explosive offense.

“I don’t care how late in the game it is, we don’t want to give them the football, particularly a team that’s got some firepower,” he said. “Maybe they thought that game was closer to the end but I didn’t. We were still competing our tails off to try to win the thing.”