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Pete Carroll gives worst possible answer on ill-fated 4th-and-3 field goal vs. Ravens

Baltimore Ravens v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

I’m not going to say that the missed Jason Myers field goal cost the Seattle Seahawks the game against the Baltimore Ravens, but it certainly was a damaging ten-point swing in Baltimore’s favor.

On Sunday, I brought up how Pete Carroll having Jason Myers kick from 53 yards out in bad weather over going for it on 4th-and-3 was a terrible decision, and hardly his first time this season choosing the conservative route over being aggressive. His call came under heavier scrutiny when Ravens head coach John Harbaugh eschewed a chipshot field goal to go for it on 4th-and-2, which led to Lamar Jackson’s go-ahead touchdown.

Going for it was clearly the right move against Baltimore, but apparently Carroll had decided his MVP-caliber quarterback and his top-five offense weren’t to be trusted over his steadily failing defense.

Yup. He was going to punt it if he didn’t kick it with Myers. I think everyone would have been more pissed off if that happened.

“Total confidence that we’re going to make the kick,” Carroll said on Monday. “It’s not too long of a kick; it’s right within range from warmups and everything was fine. It was right at the point that we had already cleared that this is where we can kick it from.

”You, know, the other choice -- somebody said, would you go for it on fourth down? Well, the other choice was to kick (punt) the ball deep. My alternate was to put them in the hole if we weren’t going to kick the field goal. But it was our spot, we’re kicking it -- that’s what we do. Just a great kicker and he’s going to come through for us. That’s the way our mentality’s going to be and there’s no reason for us to change.”

Carroll added later in the day re 4th-and-3: It’s “a little longer than you want to go for.”

I’m writing this just as the New England Patriots converted 4th-and-6 from a similar part of the field against the New York Jets. The Patriots have the best defense in the NFL and Belichick didn’t decide to play the field position game.

The Seahawks are 11/13 on 4th-and-3 in the Russell Wilson era (regardless of where they are on the field). Wilson has thrown it 11 times and converted both times he ran the ball. I interpret Carroll’s “three yards is just too damn far” as concern that calling a Chris Carson run would likely not be an option in the playbook. Anything else is just too difficult to comprehend. He won’t go for it unless his back is up against the wall, like say... this 4th-and-3 play from last season.

Carroll is a defensive-minded coach who still wants to trust his defense over his offense. I suppose there’s no getting around that any time soon. As I wrote on Monday and will repeat again here, these are some “highlights” of the 2019 Seahawks defense:

32nd in QB hit rate

31st in tackles for loss

28th in pressure rate

9th most missed tackles

Zero games with positive EPA

27th in punts per drive (prior to the Ravens game and probably worse now)

That’s the defense Carroll continues to trust over the offense that entered last week #1 in pass DVOA.

I hope that the 4th down failures from the Saints game didn’t give Pete all the wrong lessons.