Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll reprised their roles from Super Bowl XLIX with mind-numbing late-game decisions Sunday night that make me wonder: If either the Patriots or Seahawks get to Super Bowl LI in Houston, will they have to overcome their head coach choking?
Of course, Carroll made the worst decision in Super Bowl history when he had Russell Wilson attempt a pass to Ricardo Lockett from the Patriots 1-yard line on second down with 20 seconds remaining and Seattle trailing 28-24.
Marshawn Lynch had been unstoppable, but why take the easy way to a championship? Wilson was intercepted when Malcolm Butler jumped the route.
Belichick, the mad scientist in the hoodie, had made the first mistake, but Carroll bailed him out with the play call. Belichick didn’t bother using either of his last two timeouts after Jermaine Kearse’s spectacular 33-yard catch to the Patriots 5 with 1:06 left. If the Seahawks had scored on the play to Lockette, then Tom Brady would have had just 20 seconds with two timeouts to get the tying field goal. Even for Brady, who was red-hot in the fourth quarter, that’s a lot to ask.
Belichick is a genius? Really?
He gets the trophy for dumbest call of the 2016 regular season by instructing Brady to manage the clock Sunday night and not score from the 2-yard line on first down with less than one minute remaining with the Patriots down by seven points.
Once again, Belichick just thinks he’s so much smarter than everybody else. Remember, he elected to kick off after winning the overtime toss against the Jets last December and paid for it when Brady never got the ball. It cost the Patriots home field in the playoffs and probably the Super Bowl.
The game at Foxborough was the best of a dreary regular season. Seattle won 31-24, but not before Belichick and Carroll did their best to screw things up. I can draw just one conclusion: They still have a lot of the Jets in them and when they get together, the vibes must be bad.
Carroll was a Jets assistant for four seasons and their head coach for one season. Belichick was a Jets assistant for three seasons and their head coach for one day. Carroll got fired and Belichick quit but they obviously have both taken a little bit of Jets history with them that they can’t shake.
So, Seattle takes a 31-24 lead with 4:24 remaining in Carroll’s first game back in Foxborough since being fired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft after the 1999 season. It’s been so long, he had never been to Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002.
Belichick made a dumb call when he told Tom Brady to not score from the two-yard line with less than a minute remaining.
(Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Wilson hit Doug Baldwin with a 15-yard TD pass to expand the lead from 25-24 to 31-24. Kick the extra point and go up eight? Nah, not good enough for Carroll. For some reason, he felt compelled to make it a nine-point lead, a two-score game. He went for two.
According to ESPN.com, Belichick was incredulous. “Why would they go for two here?” he said into his headset.
“We wanted to see if we could put it out of reach,” Carroll said. “Make it a two-score deal.”
Wilson threw incomplete in the end zone for Baldwin. The lead remained at seven.
What Carroll failed to consider was just kicking the extra point and making it an eight-point game would essentially have made it a two-score game. Brady first would have had to get the Patriots a touchdown and then, from the two-yard line, get them into the end zone again with a two-point conversion.
But Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, who earlier had an extra point blocked and missed a chip shot overtime field goal in that tie game in Arizona on Oct. 23, didn’t come onto the field. Carroll never said anything about not having confidence he could make the kick.
Brady then got the ball at his own 25. After moving New England to the Seattle 28, he lofted a beautiful sideline pass to Rob Gronkowksi at the 2. Just 43 seconds remained. Belichick had all three of his timeouts. Carroll had two.
If the Patriots scored, they could send the game into overtime with the extra point by Stephen Gostkowksi. Even though he’s been shaky at times this season, he hasn’t been that bad that Belichick ever would have considered going for two to win it like Oakland’s Jack Del Rio did in New Orleans in the season opener. He never got the chance.
Rob Gronkowski couldn’t make the catch during the Patriots’ last play, but LeGarrette Blount was a better option behind Brady.
On first down, Brady, one of the best QBs ever in short yardage and goal line situations, just plowed into the line. He admitted after the game he didn’t try to score. He didn’t make that decision on his own. In New England, every decision is made by the head coach.
“It was just situational football,” Brady said. “We were trying to get it very close but not in.”
He was trying to take time off the clock. The Seattle defense was dug in. Every play was precious.
Belichick must not have had the confidence that his defense could stop Wilson in the final 40 seconds if Brady scored.
Brady gained one yard on first down.
LeGarrette Blount was stopped for no gain on second down. Brady fumbled the snap and recovered for a one-yard loss on third down. Then on fourth down, he threw a fade to Gronk in the end zone. Kam Chancellor was all over him and the pass fell incomplete. The Patriots argued for a flag but it looked like a clean play.
Belichick is so big that every play counts, every play is so important. But he gave away the first down play in a seven-point game at the 2-yard line with 43 seconds left.
Can’t wait to see what Belichick and Carroll have planned if they meet in the Super Bowl.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News