SEATTLE – I’m pretty sure the words “fake punt” and “Pete Carroll” have not appeared together very often over the years.
He's a conservative coach who has often taken a careful approach to the game.
But wait a minute! It’s a high-stakes game against the Minnesota Vikings for Carroll's Seattle Seahawks Monday night – a chance for them to control their own fate for the rest of the season – and there’s Carroll rolling the dice deep in his own territory in the third quarter, facing a fourth-and-three situation at his team’s own 32-yard line.
AND HE CALLS A FAKE PUNT???!!!!
Yes, he did. And Travis Homer, a backup running back stationed as one of the blockers in front of punter Michael Dickson, took a direct snap from center and swept around right end for a 29-yard gain that kept a Seattle drive alive. The Seahawks did not score on that drive but hung on for a 37-30 win that left them tied with San Francisco atop their division with a 10-2 record.
It was a monster win for the home team in front of 69,080 screaming loyalists in Century Link Field.
And when it ended, Carroll was his usual effusive self. Until he was asked about the fake punt. What went into that decision for him to make such a gamble deep in his own territory with a 10-point lead and still a quarter and a half to play?
“I’m not going to tell you that,” he said with a smile. “All due respect, I’m sure that’s a well-thought-out question, but I’m not going to tell you. But I sure liked the way it was executed. The guys did a beautiful job. A lot of people are involved with getting that done.”
Whatever, it was part of a second-half explosion by the Seahawks, who outscored Minnesota 17-0 in the third quarter and 27-13 in the second half.
“We’re in control and we like that,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Our defense has been playing great. As a team effort, you can’t get much better than how we’re playing now. There are just a few things here and there that we can fix and who knows how far we can go.”
And if Seattle wins out, the division – and home field in the playoffs – belongs to it. The Seahawks meet the 49ers in the final game of the season.
Is another Super Bowl in their future?
“I think we have everything we need,” Wilson said. “You need that ‘cluch gene’ and I think we have that. Great players have that. You have to stay the course and ignore the noise.”