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Pete Carroll can’t help himself

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

Remember DK Metcalf’s touchdown grab? That wouldn’t have been possible had the Seattle Seahawks not gone for it on 4th and 2 at Atlanta’s 41. Geno Smith threw a pass to Marquise Goodwin that kept the drive going.

We got aggressive Pete Carroll! That was cool!

And then we got “take the points and play defense” Pete.

That would be the Seahawks’ final scoring possession, which was a Jason Myers 25-yard field goal in lieu of going for it on 4th and 2 at Atlanta’s 8. Even worse is that the Seahawks blew a timeout, which was pretty damn valuable in a close game. Atlanta would score a touchdown and take the lead for good right after this.

Here’s why Carroll kicked it.

The play before was that weird Geno fade to Metcalf that had no chance. It seemed like not everyone was on the same page and that prompted the timeout and the decision to go for the field goal.

If anything, the timeout was all the more reason to go for it. And beyond that, the upside to converting that 4th down was much greater than scoring 3 points.

In the flow of the game, Smith was on the money and the Seahawks finished 9-of-17 on 3rd down, and 2-of-3 on 4th down. If you don’t score then that’s an annoyance after a 13-play drive. The upside is converting and getting a fresh set of downs and possibly going up 27-20. Instead, Carroll went the conservative route and trusted his defense, who let the Falcons get into field goal range in a single play.

If you’re going to kick the field goal then be decisive, if you’re going for it then either be decisive or use that timeout to organize and run a good 4th down play. The Seahawks took the second worst possible outcome (only to taking the timeout and missing the field goal).

As ever, Pete Carroll will trust his defense even when it has been years since they have warranted that trust level. If the prime Legion of Boom was back there and playing at its best, I wouldn’t be bothered all that much. With that defense performing at bottom-of-the-league standards, Carroll has to coach like they need to score touchdowns on every drive.

That’s an issue that can’t be chalked to rebuilding or inexperience of the roster. We’ve seen this story one too many times even in better years.