Late in Sunday’s Seahawks-49ers game, San Francisco, trailing 17-16, marched deep into Seattle territory. The 49ers were able to run six plays, force the Seahawks to use their remaining timeouts, run two minutes off the clock, and finally kick the winning field goal with 26 seconds left.
That raises an interesting question: Should the Seahawks have allowed the 49ers to score a touchdown as soon as they got into field goal range? That would have meant the Seahawks would need a touchdown, not just a field goal, to come back and win. But it also would have given the Seahawks a lot more time to score.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that question occurred to him at the time, and he briefly discussed it with his assistants. But Carroll said it was his gut feeling that he doesn’t believe in allowing opposing teams to score.
“There’s a lot of gut in that decision,” Carroll said on 710 ESPN. “We had the talk, and it’s just not in our mentality to let anybody have anything.”
Still, Carroll said he’s going to look into whether it might have been beneficial for the Seahawks to let the 49ers score.
“I’m going to do a little research this week and see if anyone has ever done that and won,” Carroll said.
There have been high-profile instances of teams allowing opponents to score touchdowns, including the Patriots allowing the Giants to score late in Super Bowl XLVI and the Packers allowing the Broncos to score late in Super Bowl XXXII. In those cases, however, the tactic didn’t result in a dramatic come-from-behind win. And unless Carroll can find a prior example of a team actually winning after letting the other team score, he doesn’t sound interested in conceding a touchdown to an opposing team.