Last look at the final play & the reactions to it

Super Bowl Carroll dumbfounded as Lynch walks past
Pete Carroll stands dumbfounded as Marshawn Lynch walks by after the interception.
Lynch with the wry smile
What was Lynch thinking as he walked to the sideline? Perhaps: “My price to stay just went up, boss.”

It has been three days, and the
Seahawks’ final
offensive play of the Super Bowl continues to reverberate throughout the football world —
certainly nowhere more than in
Seattle.

In that time, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have defended the play and the man who called it, Darrell Bevell. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has spoken out against the critics, lavishing praise on Carroll and his Seahawks.

EA Sports even created an alternate ending in which the Seahawks run the play nearly all of us think they should have run — with Marshawn Lynch scoring the winning touchdown.

And “NFL Insiders” showed the last play from the sidelines, listening in on the coaches and players and catching a shot of Lynch walking off the field after the interception with a wry smile on his face.

In the wake of the debacle, Carroll said he told his team he was to blame and he said he understands why people think he should have handed the ball to Lynch, but he is adamant that the pass play they ran was the right call for the situation and Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler just made an unpredictably great play.

As if there were any doubt, Carroll made it very clear that Bevell is not going anywhere.

“Darrell is an incredible play caller. He has done a fantastic job,” he said. “Look what he did again: Put us right down there to get it done. We’re so lucky to have him. He’s been absolutely instrumental in everything that we have done. There is no reservation in that thought and don’t make it out like there is, because he is an awesome guy on our staff and he is crucially important to our future as well.”

Wilson had nothing bad to say about Bevell either.

“Ultimately, I trust the preparation. I trust the calls. I trust where we are,” Wilson said. “Think about it: My rookie year we made the playoffs with coach Bevell calling the plays. Next year we won the Super Bowl with coach Bevell calling the plays. Sunday we were in the Super Bowl and we came up short. Comes down to players making plays. Ultimately it’s a players’ game. Coach Bevell does a tremendous job of preparing us. He’s been phenomenal. He’s going to be a tremendous head coach one day.”

Belichick chimed in, too, telling WEEI radio, “There has been a lot of criticism that I don’t think is anywhere close to being deserved or founded. That football team is very good, very well-coached, and Pete does a great job. Malcolm and Brandon (Browner), on that particular play, just made a great play. I think the criticism they’ve gotten for the game is totally out of line and by a lot of people who I don’t think are anywhere near even qualified to be commenting on it.

“I wouldn’t be able to say enough about Seattle,” Belichick added. “They’re a great football team, well-coached. They deserve so much credit for what they’ve done and how well they’ve done it. I know they are disappointed, as we’ve been in that spot a couple times ourselves. So the high that we feel is probably not as high as the low that they feel. But that’s a really good football team.”

Carroll has done his best to explain the reasoning behind the call, saying the Hawks threw on second down from the 1 because they didn’t want to run into the Patriots’ stacked run defense.

What seems to have gotten lost in all of this is the fact that the Seahawks should not have sent three receivers onto the field in the first place. After Lynch gained four yards to the 1 running behind 280-pound fullback Will Tukuafu, why didn’t they just line up and run it again?

Wilson tried to explain it, but it still didn’t make much sense.

“We were thinking about what we were trying to do next if we run it, and the idea was putting Zebra in the game probably, and that’s usually our best personnel. We’ve got Doug Baldwin in the game, we’ve got Jermaine Kearse, we’ve got (Ricardo) Lockette in the game and we’ve got Marshawn Lynch and we’ve got Luke Willson … so it’s a tough personnel to stop.”

Not really. Especially throughout that game. Baldwin and Kearse were shut down for almost the entire game. Willson did not record a single catch. And Lockette got knocked on his ass on the final pass.

“I had no doubt in the play call,” Wilson said. “I still don’t to this day. I just wish we made the play.”

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