ST. LOUIS – No matter what decision he makes, late-game calls aren’t working for Pete Carroll.
Seven months after he didn’t give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in the Super Bowl’s key play, Carroll decided to go to his star running back with the season opener on the line.
Trailing 34-31 in overtime with fourth-and-1 from the Rams 42, Lynch was stuffed for a loss and the two-time defending NFC champions lost to St. Louis Sunday.
“We’ve been making 2 or 3 yards on that all day long and that was a call we’d been relying on all day,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I don’t know how they got the penetration, but they did.”
The Rams defense was ready.
“We were thinking run,” said Aaron Donald, who teamed with Michael Brockers for the game-ending stop. “It’s short yardage and we know they’ve got Lynch back there and we knew they were going to give it to him.”
In last year’s Super Bowl, the Seahawks had the ball on the New England 1 and a chance to win in the final minute against the Patriots. Instead of handing off to Lynch, Russell Wilson attempted a pass and was intercepted.
On Sunday, the Seahawks had an 18-point fourth quarter to overcome a 24-13 deficit.
Wilson hit Jimmy Graham on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 12:04 to go. Earl Thomas forced Isaiah Pead to fumble and Bruce Irvin recovered at the Seattle 25, and the Seahawks turned the turnover into a 35-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Then Cary Williams stripped Nick Foles and returned the fumble 8 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:39 to go.
“I had a great bounce on the ball and was able to get into the end zone,” Williams said. “I’ve had fumbles and I’ve had sacks, but I’ve never had the trifecta.”
Seattle then made two mistakes that turned the game.
The first came when safety Dion Bailey, playing in place of holdout Kam Chancellor, stumbled on Lance Kendricks’ 37-yard touchdown catch with 53 seconds left in regulation.
“That just can’t happen,” Bailey said. “I just was too flat-footed, tried to open up and fell down. At that point I’ve got to tackle him and live to fight another day.”
“I don’t think he thought I was going to run a go route,” Kendricks said. “I think he tried to grab me and he just fell.”
The Seahawks opened overtime with a failed onside kick that Bradley Marquez caught at the Seattle 49. After throwing a flag for an illegal fair catch, officials ruled the ball was kicked directly in the air so Marquez was OK to raise his hand.
“That’s not what was supposed to happen,” Carroll said. “We were kicking the ball in a certain area of the field and we didn’t hit it right. We didn’t execute, simple as that.”
“I mishit it,” Hauschka said. “I put my team in a bad position there to start the overtime.”
The Rams took advantage with Greg Zuerlein’s 37-yard field that proved the difference.
The Rams sacked Wilson six times, with Donald and Robert Quinn getting two apiece.
Tavon Austin was virtually untouched on two Rams touchdowns, a 53-yard punt return and a 16-yard run.
Rookie Tyler Lockett followed up on a sensational preseason with a 57-yard punt return TD for Seattle.
“It’s all about instincts,” said Lockett, a third-round pick. “For me, the biggest thing is not to think too much.”
The Seahawks overcame a Wilson interception in the first half and three sacks, scoring on special teams and holding the Rams to 91 yards for a 10-10 tie.
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