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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll explains ‘gripes’ about calls vs Packers

Nov 15, 2021, 11:50 AM | Updated: 12:18 pm
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll speaks to officials during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

A lot went wrong for the Seahawks in their 17-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

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Star quarterback Russell Wilson was off his game in his first appearance since suffering a finger injury in Week 5, and the offense in general failed to regularly move the ball down the field in what became Seattle’s first shutout loss since Week 2 of 2011.

And while it wasn’t the only reason why the Seahawks fell to 3-6, the officiating in the game left a lot to be desired on Seattle’s side of things.

On Monday, head coach Pete Carroll joined Mike Salk for The Pete Carroll Show on 710 ESPN Seattle and explained how some of the game’s biggest calls hurt the Seahawks.

“We lost advantages that we could have had. When we throw the ball, (Wilson) throws the interception (to Packers cornerback Kevin King) in the end zone, I see the ball on the ground, and the guy’s got to finish the catch,” Carroll said.

After struggling to move the ball in the first half and entering the third quarter down 3-0, the Seahawks were finally able to drive down the field. On third-and-10 at Green Bay’s 12-yard line, Wilson scrambled to his left and threw a pass to receiver DK Metcalf. King caught the ball but appeared to lose it as he hit the ground as Metcalf hit him from behind. The call on the field stood upon review (all turnovers are automatically reviewed), meaning the Seahawks missed out on going for a field goal on fourth down.

“I don’t know why that was looked at in that manner,” Carroll said. “… But that’s points off the board.”

That interception wasn’t the only questionable call that went Green Bay’s way.

Lost challenge

During the second quarter, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers fumbled a snap and tried falling on it. Both he and Seahawks defensive end Darrell Taylor lunged for the ball.

Taylor appeared to grab the ball earlier than Rodgers and left the bottom of the pile with the ball, but before that, officials ruled that Rodgers had simultaneous possession with Taylor. Thus, the Green Bay offense kept the ball.

Carroll challenged the call and lost. Had Seattle won the challenge, the Seahawks would have taken the ball around midfield with roughly four minutes left in the first half down by just three points.

Salk asked Carroll if the play was similar to the now infamous “Fail Mary” between these two teams in 2012 when Seahawks receiver Golden Tate was awarded a touchdown on the last play due to what replacement officials deemed simultaneous possession. Carroll answered that he didn’t think so.

“They didn’t both have the equal opportunity on the ball. Darrell was laying on top of the football and the quarterback was reaching underneath them,” Carroll said. “Darrell had it from the moment that ball’s on the ground, he got his chest on the ball and was laying on it … He’s laying on the ground and the guy reached underneath him and they gave it to the offense. That’s a big play. That’s such a big play in the game.”

First down becomes third down

In the grand scheme of things, this play was the least consequential of the calls Carroll brought up, but it was the one that seemed to upset him the most.

On the Seahawks’ first drive of the game, Wilson scrambled on third-and-8 for what was initially called a first down. But after an injury timeout, the officials moved the chains back, deemed it fourth-and-short, and the Seahawks punted.

So what happened?

“The very first chance when Russ scrambles for first down and there’s a fella hurt on the play, time passes, and we’ve got the first down,” Carroll said. “We’re in the huddle, we break the huddle, we’re at the line of scrimmage, we’re ready to go. And they stopped the game and reversed that play.”

Carroll said the way he understands the rule of changing the spot on the field is that the booth official has roughly 20 seconds to make the decision to overturn a call that might have been wrong on the field. But due to a Packers player being hurt, that caused more time to pass.

“They had minutes and minutes and minutes,” Carroll said. “Did they open up the span of time to look at it? I don’t know. I don’t know how that happened. So I’ve got some gripes about this. We still had the opportunities. You stack them up, we had plenty of chances and we just didn’t take advantage of it.”

Later in the interview, Carroll revisited the sequence, saying that his offense was on the field prepared for a first-and-10 when all of a sudden the chains were moved backwards as a referee explained what happened. As Carroll received his explanation, the game clock had already started counting down.

“So I don’t even know what the distance is on the play. I’m looking around and going ‘It’s fourth down? Heck, we’ve got to kick the football and kick them deep,'” Carroll said. ” … I didn’t have a chance to even figure that out in enough time to go ahead and decide to go for it. My mentality, I’m thinking, ‘It’s the weather, it’s all this, it will keep them backed up.’ … That’s why that happened like that. Had we had a normal sequencing and the normal spot and all of the information had come in normal fashion, I don’t have to tell you what I would have done, but it would have been different because that was a very unique situation.”

Overall takeaway

“We were good enough to go get this game done,” Carroll said. “We needed all those situations to just be balanced out and then we might have had our opportunity. We needed that interception to not be an interception, we needed that fumble to be our ball, we needed to not get that (holding) call on the third down when ‘D-Lew’ got run over. That took us out of field goal range.”

“D-Lew” would be left guard Damien Lewis, who was called for a questionable hold on a second down play late in the second quarter with the Seahawks in Packers territory. Really, Lewis just got blown backwards by a Packers rusher to the point that he fell to the ground, but the call cost the Seahawks 10 yards. As a result, instead of giving kicker Jason Myers a 53-yard field goal attempt to try and tie the game heading into the half, Seattle had to attempt a Hail Mary.

“Those are all points off the board situations,” Carroll said. “There were a number of them and it was just a very difficult opportunity for us to get it done under the circumstances.”

Listen to the full Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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