Steven Hauschka didn’t want to attempt field goal prior to Kearse TD

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With the Seattle Seahawks trailing the San Francisco 49ers 17-13 early in the fourth quarter, kicker Steven Hauschka was about to be called upon to attempt a 53-yard field goal that would have closed the gap to one.

A 53-yard field goal into the open end of CenturyLink Field was a daunting task. It was the same end of the stadium that Jay Feely missed three consecutive field goal attempts for the New York Giants in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Seahawks in 2005 – coincidentally the year of Seattle’s last Super Bowl appearance.

When faced with the chance to make a big kick for his team, Hauschka instead did something rather unusual. He turned down the kick.

I didn’t really want to kick it, to tell you the truth,” Hauschka said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “It was into the wind . . . I didn’t think it was the right decision and I let coach Carroll know that.”

A miss would have given the 49ers the ball at their 43-yard line with a chance to quickly drive into scoring range. Carroll said it was beyond the range Hauschka had converted in pregame warmups and they elected not to force the issue.

“We weren’t going to punt it, so the other option was to go for it on fourth down,” Carroll said postgame.

The decision ultimately took a timeout to determine their plan of action instead of a field goal try. Seattle elected to go for it on fourth-and-7 and Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard score to give the Seahawks their first lead of the game instead.

“I love the honesty,” Carroll said Monday. “Most guys go and say ‘I can make it’ and go out there and plunk it down at the goal line. I thought it was a great moment for us and it was a great decision.”

Hauschka converted all three field goals he attempted in the game with the longest – a 47-yard attempt – extending Seattle’s lead to 23-17 with 3:37 left to play and forcing the 49ers to need a touchdown to win and taking a tying field goal out of the equation.

24 responses to “Steven Hauschka didn’t want to attempt field goal prior to Kearse TD

  1. Not many times cowardice helps your team. Yes, I realize that it ultimately worked out but how many other players would accept the challenge and attempt a low percentage kick? Isn’t that part of being a professional football player, attempting something against the odds, being confident in your ability regardless of the circumstance?

  2. He should have been out there to kick the FG after that botched call with the fumble.

    Carroll made one of the worse choices in NFL history by not doing so.

  3. That’s good communication and there were still favorable odds to gamble for a conversion. This was some good coaching and great leadership by the kicker. Now the next time a crucial FG is the only option, Carroll can just tell him what the order is and that the choice is made for him. And the kicker will make it because it is statistically the right decision for that time. He will have that quiver ready, and the next one after that if you need it too.

  4. Good thing Hauschka doesn’t have Sherman’s bravado or it may have been a Bronco/’Niner SB.
    The offsides free play was also huge there.

  5. This is one of those times when brain outweighs brawn. It is the opposite of the stereotypical alpha-male mentality football is usually defined by.

    Ask yourself this…if he was a kicker, would RGIII have turned down that kick? Toughness and playing with pain is revered but as Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

  6. The look on his face said that. He stared it down the entire down and all his face said was, “nope!”

  7. I believe that the Seahawks plan on that play was to try to get SF to jump offside, and if they didn’t they would take the delay of game penalty have 5 more yards to try to pin the 9ers on a punt. Just so happened SF jumped and RW saw the flag, so Wilson ran the play and the rest is history.

    When Danny O’Neal from 710 radio asked Pete about the play in the post-game interview he didn’t want to answer it. If you listen to the audio it suggests Pete wanted to punt even if he dodged the question as only Slippery Pete can.

  8. “A man needs to know his limitations.” So the game winning field goal was the one he didn’t kick?

  9. Done behind the scenes, coming from an unexpected source, that message, (kicker recommends not kicking), was one of the key communications determining the NFC champion.

  10. Awesome story. How great is it that an athlete provided a reality check on the situation? We know that part of what makes these guys tick is an over-the-top confidence in themselves.

    For all we know, this realistic assessment by the kicker – that he probably would not make the kick – may well have been the very decision that sent the Hawks to the SB.

    Or maybe it was the jump-offside-free-play that let them throw it into the end zone…

    Regardless, none of that happens without a kicker providing realistic input. Almost never happens.

    Congrats on this Hawks.

  11. That’s also the end where Room botched the hold on what should have been a game winning field goal in the playoffs in 2006. Bad things happen on field goal attempts in that end.

  12. The kicker gave his input but it was up to the coach to make a decision.

    Do kickers get to practice in the pre-game warmups kicking both directions?

  13. Heads up play by Wilson, what a smart player- I saw the flag and was hoping he’d go deep. He must have seen Aldon Smith line up offsides and knew he had a free play. On top of that, the pass was right on the money.

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