For a bunch that continually says they are a power running team and Marshawn Lynch is their bell cow, the Hawks have a funny way of showing it sometimes. Sunday was one of those times.
Why in the world would the Seahawks consider giving Lynch a big contract extension if they refuse to use him in the most important moment of the season?
The inexplicable decision to eschew Lynch in favor of a pass from the 1-yard line, trailing 28-24 with 26 seconds left, was the most head-scratching move in a season that already had caused most fans to claw their noggins raw.
How do you not give the ball to your best offensive player on the 1-yard line? Other than Pete Carroll, who made the decision to throw the ball, and Darrell Bevell, who called the play, there’s not one person who understands why Lynch did not get the ball. Give it to him three straight times and see what happens.
Let’s make this clear: This is not second-guessing. This is first-guessing. Everyone knew the smart move was to give the ball to Lynch and put some blockers in front of him. We were saying it as soon as Lynch was tackled at the 1 after a 4-yard gain with about a minute left.
But the Hawks got fancy, and it cost them a historic win as they failed to become the ninth team to repeat.
Carroll said the Hawks threw the ball because he didn’t want them running into the teeth of the Patriots’ goal-line defense when the Hawks had three receivers in.
OK, Pete, so why were you trotting three receivers out there in the first place? Why didn’t you send in big fullback Will Tukuafu and your tight ends and smash the ball in a couple of times? And, if that didn’t work, maybe try a zone read with Russell Wilson?
The Hawks had plenty of time to run three plays if they needed them.
After seeing the bad run matchup, Carroll said the coaches decided to make that second down a “throwaway” play. Great word for it, as Malcolm Butler jumped the route and knocked Ricardo Lockette on his ass as the New England rookie picked off the pass.
It was an ignominious end to an offensive season that ran off the rails from the start and never really got back on track.
The visceral reaction many of us had to Bevell’s call — calling for the offensive coordinator to be fired ASAP — was not just because of that call. It was the culmination of three years of frustration with Bevell and the Seattle offense, which has not evolved as it should have.
Last summer, they stupidly built the offense around Percy Harvin; and, when they dumped him at midseason, they were lost. They went back to running the ball, but they had almost no passing game amid an ongoing avalanche of injuries to offensive linemen and receivers who were overmatched most of the time.
In Wilson’s rookie season, the Hawks ranked 27th at 189 passing yards per game. In 2013, they were 26th at 202. In 2014, they were 27th at 203. Their quarterback is in his third season, and the passing game has not gotten any better.
Sure, they were the No. 1 rushing team in the league in 2014 — but so much of that is just the individual effort of both Lynch and Wilson. They bail out Bevell all the time.
The Hawks should bail on Bevell — but Carroll won’t. The Seahawks will continue to intermittently rely on Lynch — if he is even back in 2015 — and they will continue to throw those ineffective receiver bubble screens and consider “the scramble game” an actual offensive scheme.
After three years with Wilson, the Seahawks still don’t have an offensive identity. They proved it on the final play of the Super Bowl.