Down 10 points with little more than two minutes left, the Seahawks were done. Unless they weren’t.
After rocketing down the field, scoring a touchdown, going for two (due to the Sebastian Janikowski injury), and getting it, the Seahawks found themselves trailing by the score of 24-22 with 1:18 to play and an onside-kick away at stealing a victory. If they could score another touchdown, because field goals seemed to be off the table.
A conventional onside kick was off the table, too. Punter Michael Dickson tried a drop kick instead. But when it came off his foot it looked like a shot from a pitching wedge that inadvertently sailed over the green. In this case, the rough on the other side of the smooth, flat stuff was the waiting embrace of Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley, who easily caught the ball on the fly and sealed the game.
So what was Dickson trying to do? Apparently, exactly what he did.
“He was trying to get it over the top so we could go get it,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. “Beasley was up there closer than we thought and he just popped it a bit too hard.”
It’s hard to blame the Seahawks for getting creative. The safety-driven reconstruction of the kickoff formation has made it much more difficult to recover the normal rock-skip-on-a-pond onside attempt.
Which should push the powers-that-be toward the fourth-and-15 alternative, where the team that otherwise would be kicking off can punt or go for it. However it would have played out last night, the effort surely would have been a lot more intriguing than what the Seahawks tried to do in order to keep alive their slim chance of pulling off what would have been an incredible comeback.
It that’s what the league is trying to do as the extinction of the kickoff looms, it’s brilliant. Faced with a potential fan and media mutiny for revolutionizing a key aspect of the game, fans and media could actually start clamoring for something other than what the league currently does, if there’s no realistic way for a team that is trailing late to have a chance to keep the game interesting.