Moore: Rating Carroll’s questionable decisions in Seahawks’ loss to Saints

Sep 23, 2019, 3:17 PM
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll...
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted to making mistakes in Sunday's loss to the Saints. (Getty)

Perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll when Cody Barton’s pre-game pass hit him in the nose, causing a sizable gash. The Seahawks coach probably would have laughed it off if his team had won Sunday, but it didn’t, losing 33-28 to the Saints at CenturyLink Field.

Saints 33, Seahawks 27: O’Neil’s column | Rost’s notebook710 reaction

Things got worse for Carroll during the game. He might say it was one of his worst games as a decision-maker, but what I really appreciated was his accountability afterward, admitting that he made some mistakes.

I’ve picked out five of his debatable decisions and rated them on the badness scale:

6) Going for it on 4th-and-1 from the Saints’ 41-yard line in the second quarter, trailing 13-7.

Carroll second-guessed himself with this one, thinking it would have been smarter to punt and pin the Saints deep in their own territory. With a shorter field, the Saints drove for a touchdown and increased their lead to 20-7.

But it’s hard to criticize Carroll on this one. He’s used to having a good running game and liked the chances of Chris Carson picking up a yard. Instead, Carson lost a yard, but I’m guessing that seven or eight times out of 10, Carson picks up the first down.

Rating: Not so bad. In fact, it was a good decision.

5) Going for it on 4th-and-1 from the Seahawks’ 29-yard line, trailing 27-14 with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.

Might have been better to punt and hope for a three-and-out like the Seahawks’ defense got on New Orleans’ previous possession. You can question Russell Wilson’s audible if you want – he overthrew Malik Turner on the sideline on a play that had a low percentage for a completion. But the call to go for it that deep in your end of the field? Easy to have a problem with it in hindsight, but when it was happening I thought it gave them the best chance to still win the game. We know how the do-or-die decision turned out, though – the Saints covered the 29 yards in eight plays and sealed the outcome with an Alvin Kamara TD, making it 33-14.

Rating: No quibbling with that one either.

4) Challenging a non-pass interference call on the throw to Turner.

It didn’t work out because the marginal contact occurred before Wilson threw the ball, and you can only challenge a pass interference call if the ball is in the air, as Tony Romo pointed out on the CBS telecast. Still, the Seahawks were in desperation mode at that point, and the challenge was worth it.

Rating: Pete’s still doing well by me so far.

3) Going for it on 4th-and-5 from the Saints’ 13-yard line, trailing 27-7 late in the third quarter.

The Seahawks failed to convert when a hurried Wilson just missed Tyler Lockett in the end zone. I thought the Seahawks should have considered a field goal to cut the lead to 27-10 but don’t have a huge issue with this decision.

Rating: Starting to waver but still on board with Pete.

2) Not going for two after Wilson’s touchdown run narrowed the Saints’ lead to 33-20.

A successful two-point conversion would have made the score 33-22 and gotten the Seahawks within a touchdown, another two-point conversion and a field goal from tying the game. Carroll acknowledged that he screwed that one up, and I’ll agree with him.

Rating: Pete blew it, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

1) Having two timeouts and not using either one of them on the Seahawks’ last possession of the first half.

Time ran out after DK Metcalf hauled in a 54-yard catch that put the Seahawks in field goal range. If the Seahawks had used a timeout after a 9-yard reception by Nick Vannett, they still would have had one more they could have used after the catch by Metcalf and might have even had time to huck one to the end zone before settling for a field-goal attempt.

Rating: Pete goofed big-time with this one.

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