A vast multitude of factors contributed to the disheartening loss that the Seattle Seahawks suffered at the hands of the LA Rams yesterday, but it is hard to ignore the sequence in the final seconds that led to Jason Myers attempting an ill-fated 55-yard field goal. Following a clutch reception by DK Metcalf to put the ball on the Rams 39 with no timeouts and the clock ticking, the team elected to hurry up to the line of scrimmage and call... a two yard run to Zach Charbonnet. Flash forward to :07 remaining, and Geno Smith is spiking the ball so the field goal unit can take the field. For the record, those extra two yards were not enough to help Myers bang it through, in case you forgot.
Since clock management has been a recurring issue for Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, many of us were under the assumption that this was simply some poor decision making or failure to be prepared during the most critical drive of the game, and this may be partly true. However, details emerged following the game that indicated that Geno Smith’s radio went out and he had to make a split-second decision to get the team to the line and make the call. To provide some further perspective, Geno and Pete were quoted in the Athletic as saying the following:
“I thought we had a good chance (to get more yards),” Smith said. “You guys will watch the film, I’m sure, and then you’ll see what happened.”
Speaking before Smith’s revelation that his helmet speaker went out, Carroll said of that sequence: “We didn’t do it right. We didn’t do that exactly the way we’d like to do that. Didn’t come out right.”
The more info that becomes available, the more it sounds like this whole sequence was a convoluted cluster-frick that should have been avoided, even in spite of the external factors. Pete Carroll voiced his support for Smith, but the subtext in what he said clearly suggests that the correct call would have been a spike, as we can all agree on in hindsight. Michael-Shawn Dugar elaborated a bit with the following.
Pete says he’s ok with Geno, who has freedom in that situation, calling the run instead of a spike following DK’s catch.— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) November 20, 2023
“It was a terrific run that we didn’t block properly.” https://t.co/vviAg4CmYz
Our own John Gilbert has a closer look at how this play did have a chance to gain more yards than it did.
I mean, if Peters doesn't whiff or Brown senses that there is no one to block to the left and blocks to the right, it's not a small hole for Charbonnet. pic.twitter.com/P07NwZAC6I— John P Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) November 20, 2023
After the Seahawks-Rams game, per @MikeDugar, Geno Smith said that his helmet speaker went out before that run call and that we would see what happened on film.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) November 20, 2023
Here's that play. That's a pretty juicy gap on the weak side! No OL reaches 53, though, and so it only gets two yards. pic.twitter.com/ZviUrMBR6T
Personally, I don’t give the team a pass based on this excuse. Geno Smith had a great opportunity to make the call here and spike it; he is a decently compensated veteran who shouldn’t need a playcaller to tell him to spike the ball in this situation. That being said, this would be the second consecutive week that Geno would need to lead a game-winning drive in the final seconds to set up a game-winning Jason Myers field goal. Teams can’t bank on consistently winning games like this, and they certainly can’t expect to win playoff games like this — or even make the playoffs, if injuries and inefficiencies continue to render this offense inert. This is all particularly frustrating when you consider how they have now dropped two games where they were in position to win in the final minutes. They are literal plays away from being an 8-2 team. Of course, the difference between good and bad teams can come down to who makes the right call at the right time, and the Seahawks seem to be making all the wrong calls right now. And no radio can fix that — functional or not.