Looking back at Seahawks' playoff loss, and ahead to next season

Jan 18, 2013

Seahawks fans still have a lot of anguish and, for some, anger about Sunday's playoff loss to Atlanta. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel has some answers for fans, and a look ahead to next season.

Why not kick the field goal?

The Seahawks were down 20-0 at halftime. They had a chance to put some points on the board in the first half with a field goal attempt. But, instead, they ran the ball on 4th and 1 and didn't make the first down, forcing them to give up the ball to the Falcons.

Art says he had no problem with head coach Pete Carroll's decision to go for it, but he did have a problem with the play he called - giving the ball to fullback Michael Robinson instead of Marshawn Lynch.

"It's worked on six of the seven times that they've called it on 4th and 1 during the regular season. But Atlanta knew it was coming. And in playoff football, you have to break your tendencies."

Amazing comeback falls short

In the second half, the Seahawks staged one of the greatest comebacks in NFL playoff history. They were winning 28-27 with 31 seconds left in the game.

But the defense failed to properly cover Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who got off two long passes to set up a 49-yard field goal attempt. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant essentially got a practice kick and missed, after Pete Carroll called a timeout but the referees failed to stop the play in time.

Bryant made the kick when it counted and the Falcons won 30-28. Pete Carroll said he spoke before the game to referees about what they would do in that situation. Because he had seen a previous playoff game in which the extra kick was allowed.

The referees told him "we will not allow that if you call a timeout in time." Carroll said "How will you stop that?" Because it's not a penalty if the kick follows through.

"The NFL, I think - because Pete Carroll will push this - will identify a procedure in the offseason to clean that up so that there isn't any dispute."

Next season: new assistant coach, same key players

The Seahawks have lost defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. He has accepted the head coaching job for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"This is what happens when you have success - especially when you have unusual success."

Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is staying put. ESPN reports Bevell has been given a new contract. He was a candidate for the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals, but ESPN reports Bevell withdrew his name after receiving the new deal in Seattle.

And the Seahawks star players aren't going anywhere.

"Most every key member of the team is under contract for next year. So they have an opportunity to keep this young core together. And they have 10 draft picks in the seven rounds of the April draft. And, given what John Schneider, the general manager, has done, everyone is very happy that he's got multiple opportunities here to improve the team."

For more of your questions answered about Sunday's playoff loss, listen to Art's entire commentary here.

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.