Dial it up wrote:
It can be argued that they should have run the ball. However, there had been 109 passes from the 1 yard line so far in the season, and not one single interception. Seattle just executed poorly because they have sub par receivers and a QB who isn't great in the pocket yet. Not to mention Belichick had his defense ready for this exact play.
You can't argue for a fade. Mathews is the only big guy they have, and he didn't even have a catch all year before this game. It would have been him lined up against Revis or Browner. Not good for seattle.
First point - how many of those 109 passes were slants over the middle with no play action? I heard this being tossed around and it is just irresponsible. I have ZERO problem with them calling for a pass play, in fact the Pete Carroll time management explanation is quality. My problem is the play call - there is a reason you don't see many over the middle slant routes while in Jumbo formation - you have 21 guys in the middle of the field, with only ~12 yards of depth to cover. With a "shorter" QB in Wilson, this is recipe for tip drill all day long.
The proper pass play to call would be some form of a boot leg, with Wilson given the option to race to the pylon, pass to a dragging TE or RB/FB, or throw it away - most importantly giving him more time to process the situation. This has been their passing game strength all season long, so why go to the slant?
As for point 2, I can argue for a fade - as Carroll himself has acknowledged, the pass play was more of a "waste" play. Therefore you need to have your lowest likely intercepted pass play, regardless of whether the likelihood of completion is relatively low vs. incomplete. There is just too much that can happen during that slant play, even if you get the look you want, that makes it too high risk for a waste play. There is a reason teams throw it up for a fade a ton (assuming your QB can throw it) - it is thrown for your WR and only your WR. Also, I don't care that Matthews never caught a ball in an NFL game prior - I care that during this game the guy has shown multiple times that he can go up and high point an acrobatic catch and come down with it. I have 100% confidence throwing a fade route to him - again, if he comes down with it great, but the likelihood of the other team coming down with it is very low too.
But as I mentioned above, and with points throughout, play to the strengths of your QB if calling for a pass play in that situation, especially a "wasted" one. The Seahawks offense is questionable in a traditional passing sense, but when it comes to running the ball, QB scrambling and TE play, they are pretty good. A bootleg with play action going the other way and a dragging TE or FB along with the QB is a perfect call there because it gives your scrambling QB Wilson a chance to throw, win a race, or throw it away. His football IQ is one of the many things that makes him as good a QB as he is, so he will know best when to throw it away.
I don't think the argument should hinge on whether or not there should have been a pass play there (I believe they had enough time for three run plays if out of the time out after failing on 2nd down they had 3rd down and play 1/2/3/4 for certain scenarios for 4th down to run up to the line. Not ideal, which is why the argument for calling a pass play is pointless. The "worst play call" is in reference to the actual call itself. Take the hindsight stuff out of it, I don't care that it was intercepted. I care that they had a 5'11 QB throwing a quick slant at the half yard line, into 21 football guys almost all bigger than him. In a scenario that, as others have pointed out, if the guy doesn't sell the fade route the CB defending him is crashing inside for the slant or the run defense anyway. That is the terrible call, not just the call to pass.
They beat New England on this exact play the last time they played. They are not a team that throws fades. They don't have the players for it. Calling for that is silly. Not to mention everyone and their mother knows Wilson is only good in scrambling situations so they were more than ready for it.