Down five points with just 2:41 remaining in the game, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll decided that rather than go for it on 4-and-11 on their own 36-yard line he would punt the ball away to Green Bay and hope his defense could shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense and get the ball back with enough to time still win the game.
The Seahawks never did get the ball back, thanks to a controversial spot on a Packers third down play, and Green Bay advanced on to the NFC Championship game versus the San Francisco 49ers.
On the season Seattle was successful 53.33% of the time on fourth down and had converted another one on Sunday, but Carroll said following the game that he just didn’t feel comfortable going for it at that point in the game.
“We were thinking about going for it in that sequence but not at fourth-and-11,” Carroll told the media. “We thought our odds were so low. We had all the clock, we had the time, we had all the opportunities to stop them to get the ball back. So we didn’t want to put it all on one play. If it were fourth-and-5 or 3 — we went through the whole discussion, but it winds up being a sack unfortunately.”
Carroll was referring to the fact that prior to that punt Seattle had the ball with a third-and-5 at its own 42-yard line, but Russell Wilson took a sack, moving that ball back to the 36 and making it a longer fourth down attempt.
Even so, analytics says that in that situation Carroll still should have gone for it.
NFL fans, including many in Seattle were very disappointed in Carroll’s decision.