One of the mystifying plays in the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 Sunday came on fourth down just minutes before halftime. The Seahawks, facing 4th & 9 from their own 20 yard line lined up for a Michael Dickson punt, and what transpired next was not a punt, but rather absolute disaster.
The announcers calling the game were under the impression that it was a fake punt where Dickson tucked it to run. However, after the game Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll provided an alternative explanation that shed a little more light on what transpired.
Some of Pete Carroll’s opening remarks. Said the Michael Dickson play wasn’t a fake. Dickson was supposed to kick it on the run rugby-style but hesitated. pic.twitter.com/HiiD1gD1rY— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) October 9, 2022
This makes sense watching the replay, as rather than blocking, several members of the line release down the field in order to provide coverage for the kick. However, just as Dickson prepares to kick the ball, Saints defensive end Carl Granderson (96) closes in on Dickson, who hesitated and opted to eat the ball rather than attempt a kick that had an elevated probability of being blocked.
The result, of course, was a turnover deep in their own territory which the Saints turned into points, The big question then becomes why the Hawks opted for a rugby style punt, as opposed to simply lining up and punting it, which likely avoids a block.
In addition, as can be seen in the still shot above, even as Dickson is still preparing to punt the ball, several members of the Seattle kicking team are releasing down the field. This is of note because, outside of the gunners, the members of the kicking team may not cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is punted. Thus, even if Dickson had been able to execute the kick as called, given the fact that multiple members of the Seahawks are about to cross the line of scrimmage and how tightly the refs called the game against Seattle, the punt likely comes back due to an ineligible man downfield penalty.
In any case, it was simply and absolutely horrific play that basically summed up the Seahawks entire day Sunday.