Coach Carroll hopes Seahawks can build off rally
That Pete Carroll was being asked Monday if he was second-guessing his decision to attempt a potential game-winning 61-yard field goal spoke to how impressive Seattle's rally was from a 20-point deficit.
It also spoke to how awful the Seahawks were in the first 30 minutes of Sunday's 30-28 loss to Atlanta.
Carroll wasn't backtracking a day later from his decision to send Steven Hauschka out for the lengthy attempt, rather than trying to convert on fourth-and-8 from the Atlanta 43 with 13 seconds and one timeout remaining.
Hauschka, whom Carroll said had ''bombed one in practice'' a week ago, had never made a kick beyond 54 yards and the stadium record in Seattle was 55 by Josh Brown back in 2005.
Hauschka's attempt was a low liner that landed short and wide left and led to grumbling from some fans about the choice of kicking rather than trying for the first down and giving Hauschka a more makable opportunity.
Instead, Seattle goes to New York to face the Giants this week at 1-3.
''It easily could have gone the other way on that. It's one of those coaches choices, but I wanted to win the game right then and not take a chance on not converting on fourth down,'' Carroll said. ''Steven was kicking the ball really well. He bombed one in practice on a long field goal situation a week ago that was a monster kick so I know he could kick the ball far enough. So we just took a shot at capturing the moment to win the football game.''
More than the decision to go for the field goal rather than keeping the offense on the field was the position Seattle was in after yet another stumbling first-half start.
The Seahawks trailed 24-7 at halftime thanks to a defense that couldn't get Atlanta and Matt Ryan off the field on third down and an offense that couldn't stay on the field. Seattle finally got its initial first-half touchdown of the season when Tarvaris Jackson hit Sidney Rice on a 52-yard TD pass on a play where some of Atlanta's defense was left standing believing a penalty was about to be called for offsides.
Through a quarter of the season, Seattle is being outscored 67-13 in the first half. The other first half numbers aren't any better. The Seahawks have just 17 total first downs and have yet to gain more than 138 yards in the first half. Defensively, they've given up nearly 800 yards in the first half, as opposed to less than 600 in the second.
It's led to the Seahawks constantly playing from behind. In four games, Seattle has led a total of 5 minutes and 7 seconds of the first half.
''I think we've been OK at times on defense, but I really think we need a spark offensively,'' Carroll said. ''We've got to get going. It's pretty clear that we've been able to pick it up at times in the second half and I'd like to see if we can get started faster, get off to a little better rhythm and we're going to see if we can do that.''
What makes it frustrating for the Seahawks is the success they've had in the second half. That was never more evident than Sunday when the Seahawks outscored Atlanta 21-6, outgained them 234-156 and nearly pulled off a shocking comeback.
Jackson was at his best when Seattle went to a quicker offensive pace, going 17 of 24 for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
On the Seahawks' final drive, Jackson completed his first four passes and got the Seahawks to the Atlanta 45 with 22 seconds left after Jackson stopped the clock with a spike. Rice was flagged for a false start before the next snap and those five yards proved costly as the Seahawks settled for Hauschka's attempt.
But Carroll was pleased overall with the way Jackson gave them a chance at the end.
''He did what we wanted him to do,'' Carroll said. ''He carried it out fine. ... He carried it out really the way it had been planned.''
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