Seahawks hurt themselves by playing safe in loss to Falcons

After a narrow defeat, another controversial decision by coach Pete Carroll quickly became the focus. Seattle played it safe and probably paid the price.

SEATTLE (AP) — After a narrow loss, another controversial decision by Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll quickly became the focus.

Seattle played it safe and probably paid the price.

There were several other opportunities for the Seahawks to find scoring chances in their 27-23 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. But Carroll’s decision to hit a field goal late in the third quarter while he was at 20-20 and hitting fourth- and second-placed Atlanta 10s became a point of contention.

“We were just a little bit mixed up there, so getting the points was probably for the best thing,” said Seattle quarterback Geno Smith. “We didn’t want to just try to force it there, so we just took the time-out, kicked the field goal and gave ourselves the lead.”

The Seahawks lost their second consecutive game and that one pick didn’t determine the outcome. The Seattle defense was a sieve, giving up big passes in the first half before seeing Cordarrelle Patterson run wild in the second half.

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But Seattle’s defensive problems were evident before Carroll’s decision to let Jason Myers attempt a 25-yard field goal at 3:11 in the third quarter. Touchdowns would probably make all the difference.

In third and second on the Atlanta 7, Smith shot incomplete when attempting to hit DK Metcalf, who had pulled off an acrobatic 18-yard touchdown catch in the first half. Seattle’s offense initially stayed on the field before Carroll called the time-out.

When the time-out ended, Myers was on the field and debate over the decision began.

“I don’t really want to talk about it too much. I don’t want to tell everyone what I think. But we wanted to try and that was the mentality, and then we got a little bit confused and needed time to talk about it,” Carroll said.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t be fourth and whatever that was, two and a half or whatever. I thought we’d be in a better position if we tried. I’ve been thinking about possibly trying it. The guys on the field weren’t ready, so we had to take the time-out.”

Failure to score a touchdown immediately hurt Seattle. Atlanta needed five games before taking a 27-23 lead on Drake London’s 14-yard touchdown reception.

“We ended up shooting a field goal, they went down at the end to score. If we could score on that (drive), it would have been a tie and it would have been a whole different ballgame,” said Seattle receiver Tyler Lockett.

According to, the Seahawks have previously had fourth-and-1 or fourth-and-2 wins in the opponent’s 20 32 times under Carroll. The Seahawks have gone all out and won thirteen times. They were stopped nine times. Eight times Seattle kicked a field goal and twice there was a penalty.

Despite the conservative decision, the Seahawks still had two possessions left in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead. Both suffered penalties, most notably the final drive where Damien Lewis’ holding call erased a screen pass to Rashaad Penny that would have given Seattle a first down on the Atlanta 10.

The hold call was followed by a sack and Smith was intercepted by the Atlanta 38 on the fourth and 18th. The Falcons ran the final 1:17 by the clock.

“We still have to try to find ways to overcome it. Especially in this situation where the game is on the line, we have to find out,” Smith said. Seahawks hurt themselves by playing safe in loss to Falcons

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