BY Art Thiel 06:09PM 01/11/2016

Thiel: Vikings rushed final FG try; Lynch iffy

Pete Carroll says Vikings kicker Blair Walsh rushed his fateful field goal attempt Sunday. The miss allowed the Seahawks to win and the coaches to do a dive into the timing of placekicks.

Pete Carroll thinks Blair Walsh rushed his field goal attempt after CB Richard Sherman nearly blocked the previous one. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

After seeing how excruciating it was for the Seahawks to win their third road playoff game in the franchise’s 40 years — one coach Pete Carroll said, “we’ll never forget” — it is amusing to hear how much thinner was the margin of victory Sunday in the Winter Blunderland than even what was obvious.

According to Carroll, the 27-yard field goal missed by Vikings kicker Blair Walsh in the final seconds that preserved the Seahawks’ 10-9 win was rushed. Carroll didn’t say by how much, but the coaches in film review obviously cared enough to time each Minnesota  attempt on an action that figures to take, at most, two seconds to kick, and probably can’t be done in less than 1.5 seconds.

“I don’t need to give you the times, but it was considerably faster,” Carroll said. “For whatever reason, they sped up their mechanism.”

The theory advanced post-game was the near-block by CB Richard Sherman of Blair’s third field goal that provided a 9-0 lead — Carroll said of Sherman’s charge from the play’s right, “we don’t know how he missed it” — had some impact on the game-deciding attempt.

Walsh’s post-game comments added some vague credence to the theory.

“When you pull it to the left like that, you didn’t stay long enough into the kick and commit through it,” he said. “That’s what I didn’t do. I had done it all day, so I’m not sure why.”

Whatever micro-seconds Walsh shaved from his swing, it only added to the rich afternoon drama of man vs. man and man vs. nature. Twenty-four hours later,  Carroll was still exuberant over the intense win that advanced the Seahawks to the playoffs’ second round Sunday at 15-1 Carolina (10 a.m. PT, NBC), where they are 2½-point underdogs.

“I had a blast,” he said. “It was so much fun, because it was just so crazy. The mental side  everyone was dealing with, to get right to be at their best . . . there was a big energy about it, because the coaches and players didn’t want to succumb (to the cold).

“There was a real uplifted emotion about taking on the challenge, not being overwhelmed.  There was just something about this game that made it really special.”

Or as FS Earl Thomas put it a little less eloquently, “You could see crystals in guys’ snot.”

No clarity on Lynch

Carroll had nothing new to report on the status of RB Marshawn Lynch, which only adds to the mystery of why he didn’t accompany the team to Minnesota after a week of positive reports from Carroll about his return to playing health.

“One day at a time,” he said. “Get him out there practicing and see what that means. We don’t know that yet.”

Carroll did say Lynch did not have a physical setback, which contradicts what Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, told the Seattle Times Saturday:

“He had a little setback on Friday. Basically a little tweak. And he wasn’t able to go. He’s going to rehab this weekend and hope to hell they win and he gets back next week.’’

Carroll explained after the game Sunday that after Friday’s practice, Lynch said he wasn’t ready to return to play after his Nov. 25 hernia surgery.

“When he went back to his locker and sat down, he just didn’t feel it,” he said. “He didn’t feel like he could go. And that’s it. There wasn’t enough time to build the confidence that he needed to come in and do something.

“He took off and left.”

Monday, Carroll said despite Lynch’s practice activity, which including shooting some hoops Friday at the VMAC, his abdominal core wasn’t ready for football.

“It happens to be right in his core,” he said. “You all have watched him, you know what kind of runner he is, all of the lateral things that he does with his body that are so abrupt. He needs to feel that he can do those things. Even though he can run fast, and looks like he’s moving, he didn’t have the confidence that he could go out there and react.”

Conspiracy theorists are having fun with the notion that there is tension between Lynch and club management, perhaps over whether Lynch will be brought back next year for an $11.5 million hit against the salary cap. The emergence of rookie Thomas Rawls makes Lynch’s return less likely.

So the question could revolve around whether Lynch thinks he can use what could be his last game as a Seahawk Sunday to showcase his return to health, or protect his health by sitting out, knowing there may be no more games this season.

Carroll and Hendrickson say there’s no ulterior motive beyond being healthy. But until he plays, the drama persists. Always good to have subplots this time of year. Right, Peyton Manning?


The Seahawks are 5-2 when being down nine points in the playoffs, while the rest of the NFL is 6-41, something that gets Carroll beaming.  “I didn’t know it (until today), but I couldn’t be more proud of that.” . . . FB Will Tukuafu came out of the game with a hamstring problem of unknown severity, but that was the only casualty other than the looks of P Jon Ryan. He did a face plant after being upended on a first-quarter run following a low snap, breaking his nose. “He’s not looking too good,” Carroll said.  “He’s got a couple shiners. Jon got his face smashed on the turf, nose all over here and over there. They fixed it on the sidelines. They stick the cotton up your nose, and say, ‘Get back in there, kid.’ He went back in and pulled it off.” . . . TE Luke Willson is expected back after a concussion . . . RB Bryce Brown was healthy but did not play Sunday. “We just didn’t get him in,” Carroll said. “We had planned to play him, it just didn’t happen.”






  • MrPrimeMinister

    Couple of random thoughts. If jon ryan on that botched punt goes left he runs for 25 yards, easy. I have difference of opinion on russell. what art thiel calls a spin move, i call running backwards. I want russell to knock it off. The thing is, while he looks fabulous recovering from those predicaments, i think we need to be reminded that he is the one putting himself in those situations in the first place.

    • Bruce McDermott

      I want Russell to do what his instincts, refined by experience, tell him to do. If that is to spin out of a sack, or try to, then fine. He spins out of them a heckuva lot more often then he spins into them.

      • art thiel

        Agreed. Wilson has primary responsibility to recover the enterprise from his own or others’ errors. Just as the CEO must do in every business enterprise. It is his signal virtue.

        • MrPrimeMinister

          The NFL, of all the leagues, is the LEAST instinctual. Head coach game plans are predicated on probabilities and likelihood of success, not instinct. Plays are designed with cohesiveness. Sometimes it’s better to take a 3 than go for 6. The less imrpovisational Russell is, the more successful they will be in the long run. I can’t believe I have to explain this.

          • dingle

            Maybe. But in an individual situation, it might save their bacon. I can’t believe I have to explain this.

            Run, Russell, run.

            If you want a traditional pocket quarterback, Peyton Manning might be available next year.

          • MrPrimeMinister

            Or anyone who doesn’t throw an INT at the 1 yard line on the final play of the Super Bowl.

          • Bruce McDermott

            On one level, of course this is true–to the extent he doesn’t need to be “improvisational” to save a play, then surely the team will be more likely to be successful. But that just assumes the conclusion. No matter how “cohesive” the design of a play, sometimes it goes bad, and a QB has to adapt. He is brilliant at adapting, and his own coaching staff loves him for it. They continue to work with him so he doesn’t bail too soon, but they sure as heck do not want him to lose his ability to save bad plays. That ability won us the game last Sunday, plain and simple.

          • John M

            Amen, Bruce. Russ has something you can’t coach, yet he works as hard as anyone I’ve every seen at the position to do it by the book. I’ve seen some great QB’s play the game, but I wouldn’t trade Russ for any of ’em . . .

          • MrPrimeMinister

            I heard differently, that the defense won that game.

          • Bruce McDermott

            Interesting idea. Given that the defense didn’t score, and Minnesota’s offense did. Pretty sure that means the offense was instrumental in the win, and Wilson was instrumental in that offense.

    • Pixdawg13

      ” i think we need to be reminded that he is the one putting himself in those situations in the first place.”

      Right. He’s the one who doesn’t block the opponent’s pass rushers.

      • MrPrimeMinister

        Sometimes it is well enough to take the 6-8 yard loss and live again for another day, rather than absorb the 15-20 yard loss trying to be miraculous. That is perhaps the missing piece in his arsenal. He needs to know when to go down. And it is patently ridiculous to blame the O-line on a fumbled shot-gun snap.

        • art thiel

          There’s no room in split-second decision-making for that. His instincts and speed have pulled him from many more jams than they’ve caused.

  • jafabian

    Pictures showed that it wasn’t a clean hold for Walsh. The laces were in (forever damning him to Ace Ventura jokes) and the ball wasn’t straight which could suggest a bad snap. Which in itself could suggest that Pete Carroll is spot on with his suggestion that the Vikings rushed their special teams play. I’ve seen Vikings fans posting videos of themselves kicking FG’s and saying if they can do it Walsh should have been able to do it and that just makes me laugh.

    Though he’s not getting it as bad as Walsh, Jon Ryan has to be getting some grief from his teammates. Not many people can say they got the stuffing beat out of them by the ground. No worries for him though since he’s an American Ninja Warrior.

    • art thiel

      Technically, Canadian Ninja.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Whatever you want to call him…Cannuck swashbuckler….punters just do not have Tyler Lockette blaze or style.He was funnier than his GF with that so called run.
        The “other guy” was some foe named Frozen Sod….something from little house on the prarie Minnesota style with that bully mister Elements.
        Hope you are well in time for the game from the self concussion Jon.
        Go Hawks!

  • Warchild_70

    That last kick was all wrong. The obvious was of course the laces, the angle of the ball wasn’t up strait and lastly the kicker was torqued to the left which directed the kick to the left, badly. My heart is with him it was a devastating loss. Just as the Steelers won by a fumble we won by a botched kick. This game was one to forget and plan on taking it to the Carolina. GO HAWKS!!!

    • art thiel

      It was a physical error. But whatever the Seahawks do, don’t forget this outcome. The game is instructive on so many levels, one that every participant and spectator will remember exactly forever.

  • The Minnesota fans are crying “Lucky.” I heard one talking head on a radio call-in to a Vikings fan, “You couldn’t get in the end zone all day. That ain’t luck.” True story.

    • art thiel

      As I wrote above, luck is a random event. Scoring no offensive touchdowns in two games against the same defense is not random.

  • PokeyPuffy

    As much as i like seeing the fluid high scoring offense of the last half of the season, I have to conclude that the Vikings game is more akin to what Carrol feels comfortable coaching. I will for the life of me never get it but it seems like he would prefer this type of grinder to a blowout, even with the tense ending. He’s like a kid in a candy shop explaining it.

    Art, BTW is Super Bowl 48 considered a playoff road victory?

    • Pixdawg13

      SB48 was a neutral site, so isn’t a road game per se.

    • art thiel

      It’s obviously a neutral site, but I don’t think it’s tabulated in in home-road post-season counts.

  • Bonneville T100

    I suspected Walsh and the Vikings were worried about a blocked kick. My friends don’t believe that. They say it was luck. Yeah? Well the Hawks manufactured their own luck by applying serious pressure on the previous FG and anyway, luck counts!

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    • Mike Barnes

      Yup. As Chuck Knox used to say, luck is the residue of destiny. That missed FG was Exhibit A, bro.

      • rosetta_stoned

        Luck is the residue of design.

        • art thiel

          You are correct. Design. Sherman’s miss was close enough to cause apprehension and induce haste on the next try.

          That’s design.

        • Mike Barnes

          Thanks for the correction, makes more sense. How could I misquote Ground Chuck?!

    • art thiel

      Luck is a crazy bounce of a double-pointed ball. A missed field goal is human error brought about by pressure.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      There is no luck to holding what was a decent offense this season (Vikings) to ZERO offensive TDs in two games combined vs the Hawks.

      Sunday it was Field goal- Field Goal -Field goal~missed field goal.
      They are suppose to have the premium back in Football…he never sniffed the end zone in EIGHT Qtrs at home. At home where the “Luck” is supposed to be all yours….. our guys stifled them at home and in the 2nd W?What a grind it out performance that had nuthin’ to do with horseshoes.

  • notaboomer

    don’t you know that god has big plans for russell wilson?

    • art thiel

      So you’re say God is all ’bout that action, boss?

  • Mike Barnes

    Marshawn: Hernia or Harvinitis?

    • Pixdawg13

      Stupid Q from someone who clearly knows nothing about ML.

    • art thiel

      Hernia. No doubt.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    They can key all day long how they fell short on that field goal but it was the Viks body of work.
    Adrian Peterson is suppose to be all world…yet he got them a half yard less than they needed on that final drive.He never found the end zone.He said as much.
    A frozen kicker fretting about the near block on the last field goal…miserable conditions. Miserable effort.This is all on Minnesota and now its up to the Hawks to prove they are the team of destiny.
    Marshawn is right at the low end of normal rehab for his injury.They debated it on ESPN yesterday and i agree with their conclusion.If ML says his body is telling him he cant carry 3 guys five yards trying to get that crucial 1st down then he has no business being out there.They all agreed he would really be screwing the team by coming back early and I agree. It is strange though with all of the negativity about Micheal when he was traded that he is now our #1 hope. Go Hawks!

    • art thiel

      You’re right about Peterson. It was his job in the red zone to get the first down, if not a TD, and avoid leaving it to the kicker.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Sure. He was healthy for the first encounter in pristine conditions and as you pointed failed …in fact in my view he layed a Big Minnesota Goose double yoke ….enough to concoct a nice Emerald City omelet.
        Call it the wide left with extra cheese Omelet ( cheese to add to the whine as many Viking fans are doing this week).

        • John M

          ML is a great RB, but so is AP. Marshawn has been stopped more than once by teams that key on him the way the the Hawks keyed on AP. ML still usually got the job done well enough to help deliver a win. AP has not been able to do that against the Seahawks. The great credit the D has received for their work against the Vikes and others is well deserved . . .

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            No argument there on AP…in fact as training camp transpired last summer many teams would have loved to have had either in the backfield… SB dreams dancing in their heads that it might be the treasure needed to reach an elite level with such a dominant RB.
            Seattle has a strong team on both sides of the ball.
            Offense is hard to come by in the NFL esp playing vs the Best D since the Chicago Bears of the early/mid 80s.
            It is a luxury to have a D that rises to each challenge with such a fervor as does the Hawks D. They will need the same shut down mentality with J Stewart this week…the Olympia born product.
            I will take another drama filled game as long as the result is another Seahawk victory.Its hard to believe but the pressure is really on the big Cats. They may seem supremely confident given their season but I like our guys chances with that D you mentioned. Go Hawks!

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        He was lavished with extra money on his contract in the off season with the vision that when they needed that tough as nails back to get that crucial extra yard or two he would provide and be the guy.
        Not in this lesson. Do not forget the learning tool in this one….It is indeed yoda like words.

  • Sonics79

    It’d be shocking if Lynch *could* play but didn’t – either last week or this week. You don’t earn the respect of your teammates the way he has by bagging out on them in the playoffs.
    He’s never really had to recover from an injury that cost him a series of games before, so this is new to him.
    If he can play, he’s going to. Most minimally because it helps his brand. If he goes out with a whimper, his brand will suffer. Go out a hero, even in a loss, your merch still gets bought after you’re gone.

    • art thiel

      Agreed. Lynch would not bail because of some undisclosed agenda with management.

      • Sonics79

        Pete and Marshawn just weren’t on the same page.
        I don’t think they communicate very well with each other in the first place, and Pete just knows to stay hands off.
        Reminds me of the Super Bowl win…
        “Coach, can we score mo points?”
        “Heck yeah, of course! We can score more points.”
        “Can we? Can we?”

        • art thiel

          Carroll has said that Lynch doesn’t like to be told what to do. Which means he will be in conflict with every authority figure in his life.

          • John M

            So that’s it. I’ve been in conflict most of my life and now you have made it clear. Well, f**k ’em if they can’t take a joke . . .