Seahawks’ game-winning TD shows Super Bowl pass wasn’t the problem

Sep 12, 2016, 6:45 AM | Updated: 10:37 am
Seattle's winning touchdown came in a similar situation as the decisive interception in Super Bowl ...
Seattle's winning touchdown came in a similar situation as the decisive interception in Super Bowl XLIX. (AP)

The ball was at the opponent’s 2-yard line this time, not the 1.

And there were 35 seconds left when the Seahawks snapped the ball this time instead of 26.

But other than that, the circumstances for Seattle’s final offensive snap of Sunday’s season-opening victory over Miami were virtually identical to the Seahawks’ final offensive snap in their Super Bowl loss to New England.

Sorry. I know. That one still stings.

But it was second-and-goal on Sunday against Miami just like it was in that Super Bowl loss in Arizona. The Seahawks had one timeout left just like they did against the Patriots and they needed to score a touchdown.

The fact that a pass resulted in a touchdown this time around won’t do much to change anyone’s opinion about that play call in the Super Bowl two years ago. It should point out that the problem wasn’t that Seattle decided to throw the ball against New England. The problem was the type of pass that was thrown.

Against the Patriots, Seattle threw a ball over the middle on a pattern that called for Ricardo Lockette to run inside of Jermaine Kearse. Against the Dolphins on Sunday, it was a ball thrown toward the corner with Bobby McCain futilely trailing Doug Baldwin.

You know who catches that ball if Baldwin doesn’t? No one. That’s who, and after the game Baldwin said quarterback Russell Wilson adjusted the call at the line of scrimmage.

“Russell did an excellent job of reading the defense and putting us in the best situation,” Baldwin said. “Making the call, and then obviously delivering the ball so we could win the game.”

The play-clock math was sound.

That’s not going to go over well with everyone in Seattle. There are plenty who think the problem was not handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the end of the Super Bowl. But when the game clocks ticks below 40 seconds and you’ve got second-and-goal with one timeout, the way for a team to guarantee it can run all three plays is to attempt a pass on either second or third down.

Carroll explained the protocol after Sunday’s game.

“We knew we were going to get our plays in,” Carroll said. “We just wanted to make sure we had all the shots available again. We’ve been in that situation before.”

Yes. The Seahawks have. Two years ago in the Super Bowl, and the Seahawks attempted a second-down pass that time, too. The difference was that the pass was thrown over the middle, where lots of things can happen.

The ball can be tipped by a lineman. The receiver can let it bounce off his hands. Kearse can be jammed at the line of scrimmage by a pterodactyl of a cornerback like Brandon Browner, clearing the way for another cornerback to jump the route.

But on Sunday, Seattle eliminated the downside. Wilson lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone, where if Baldwin didn’t catch it, the ball was going to bounce harmlessly to the turf.

And then Seattle would have still had time for two more plays to try and win it.

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Seahawks’ game-winning TD shows Super Bowl pass wasn’t the problem