SEATTLE (AP) When it left his foot, Blair Walsh thought his potential tying kick was good and the Seattle Seahawks were headed to overtime with the chance to erase a questionable decision from earlier in the game.
Walsh was wrong, putting an even greater emphasis on the special teams follies of the Seahawks in their 34-31 loss to Atlanta on Monday night. Walsh’s 52-yard attempt in the final seconds fell a few feet short and left coach Pete Carroll to answer for a failed fake field goal just before halftime.
”I thought it was good. I don’t know how much it missed by, but it’s tough when you’re not there for your team in a moment like that,” Walsh said.
It wasn’t all Walsh. There were a number of other issues that led to Seattle losing its second straight home game and missing out on a chance to take the lead in the NFC West. Playing without Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman in the secondary, Seattle’s pass rush was unable to get any pressure on Atlanta QB Matt Ryan, who was sacked just once. The Seahawks run game was non-existent yet again, and for all the good Wilson did, he also threw a careless interception in the first quarter and fumbled early in the second quarter. The latter was returned by Adrian Clayborn for a 10-yard touchdown.
Because of how the final minutes played out, Seattle’s special teams blunders were in the spotlight.
In particular, there was Carroll’s brazen fake field goal call. Seattle opted against a 35-yard attempt by Walsh at the end of the first half, even though the kick would have pulled Seattle within 24-20. Instead, holder Jon Ryan completed a shovel pass to Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.
”It was a chance to make a big play,” Carroll said. ”We had a chance to make a touchdown, or get out of bounds. If that pops, he might walk in. We were prepared. We had worked on it, we saw something we liked. We didn’t expect the nose tackle to make the play.”
Willson said Atlanta defended the play differently than it had on film. Willson believed it was a touchdown if Atlanta played defense the way Seattle expected.
”What they showed on film was a 100-percenter,” Willson said. ”If they do what they do, I think it would have been an easy TD for me.”
Instead, the Seahawks left the field to boos and wishing they had those three points in the final moments. Seattle had one timeout remaining and contemplated running one more play before sending Walsh out for the tying attempt. They chose to give Walsh the chance, and he couldn’t deliver.
While Walsh has been reliable most of the season – outside of missing three kicks in Seattle’s 17-14 loss to Washington – he has yet to make a kick beyond 49 yards.
”He’s had a good year. He had one game in some conditions where he didn’t kick very well, but other than that, he’s done a nice job for us,” Carroll said. ”I wish he would have hit that one.”
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