Before kickoff in St. Louis, the last play the Seahawks offense executed was an interception with one yard to earn before crossing the goal line for a touchdown, costing them Super Bowl 49. Fast forward seven months, their fate was decided on a similar distance.
Seattle had the ball on the four yard line with four plays to win back to back Super Bowls. The thought process was simple, hand the ball off and let the most powerful running back in the league get you six points. Instead, they opted to pass and the result was an interception by Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler and the Lombardi trophy not returning to the Pacific Northwest for a second consecutive year.
All of the country sat in shock when the pass was thrown; Hawks fans were in complete disbelief of the turnover, but no matter what side of the spectrum the audience was on, we were all amazed that the opportunity to hand the ball off to a player with the nickname “Beastmode” was skipped.
The logic behind the philosophy is understandable; when there is one timeout and 20 seconds left, so call a pass then run the ball twice while using the last timeout in between 3rd and 4th down. The only issue was that Seattle wasn’t ever able to run the last two plays. It is easy to be skeptical of the result; if the pass play isn’t there then throw the ball away and do not assume it is an automatic reception to the receiver. Worst case scenario, it is intercepted, but avoid that at all costs.
What if the offense ran the ball three times? If Lynch is unable to score on second down, hurry to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball and stop the clock seems reasonable? Wrong, that would waste a down, then the team is left with only one play remaining and a timeout.
No matter the scenario we imagine in our minds, the result will always be the same, a Seahawks loss.
Now Seattle is in a two minute drill against the St. Louis Rams to open the 2015 regular season. Russell Wilson is methodically piecing together a winning drive to be 1-0 after the first game of the year. The Seahawks are faced with a fourth and one, down four with only seconds left in the game.
What to do? If Darrell Bevel throws another pass play and it fails, the 12s would be calling for his resignation, or to at least give the play calling duties to someone else with the game on the line.
They don’t pass though, it is a run play to Marshawn Lynch and the result is exactly same as before. Ram defensive tackle Aaron Donald blows up Seattle’s right guard J.R. Sweezy and Lynch doesn’t even sniff a first down. Rams win, Seahawks lose again with one yard to gain.
Is there still going to be irritation among 12s and the offensive coordinator? Will we say J.R. Sweezy is incapable of run blocking and therefore we need to find a replacement? Lynch has lost his “Beastmode” quality as a runner?
No, as 12s we won’t because it is the first game of the 2015 season, 15 contests remain. Last year, the Hawks struggled through a 6-4 record after a loss at Kansas City, but won their next seven games before losing in the Super Bowl, Seattle is only 0-1. Yes, it was a divisional match-up against the Rams and we are doomed in the NFC West race, but the Hawks lost to them last year as well in St. Louis.
Sleep well tonight 12s, we still have plenty of football left.