Down 28-24 with under 30 seconds remaining, the Seattle Seahawks had the ball at the New England 1-yard line with the game on the line.
The Seahawks opted for a pass over a Marshawn Lynch run. Russell Wilson took a shotgun snap and looked for Ricardo Lockette on a slant. Undrafted free agent rookie Malcolm Butler stepped in front and intercepted the pass at the goal line, sealing the Patriots’ victory.
Within seconds, the play call was being criticized — by everyone. And it’s bound to be the topic of conversation for days from the television’s talking heads to sports radio shows to the water cooler at work.
Here’s what you need to know about the interception:
1. Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll Took the Blame for the Call
Carroll took the blame for the play call in a postgame interview. While Darrell Bevell is the offensive coordinator, Carroll said it was the play they wanted to call.
Carroll told NBC:
I told those guys, ‘That’s my fault, totally.’ But we had plenty of time to win the game … we were playing for third and fourth down, give them no time left … but didn’t work out that way.
The Seahawks had just got the ball to the 1-yard line, then called a timeout and set up the pass play.
Wilson added in a postgame interview:
I don’t question the call. I thought it was a good call.
2. Bill Belichick Was Not Surprised by the Call
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not surprised by the pass play call.
He said in a postgame interview with NBC’s Dan Patrick:
They’re goal-line plays. That didn’t surprise me. They do a lot of things down there. We had to be ready for everything.
I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true. I’m just blessed. I can’t explain it right now. It’s crazy.
3. Seattle Had a Timeout Left & 26 Seconds
Seattle had the ball at the 1-yard line. It was 2nd down and the Seahawks had a timeout with 26 seconds left on the clock.
That was plenty of time to get at least 2 shots at the end zone, especially since they had a timeout.
4. Marshawn Lynch Had Already Run for 102 Yards
Marshawn Lynch had already run for 102 yards and a score in the game. The play before he ran for 4 yards to the Patriots’ 1.
Lynch tied for the NFL lead with 13 rushing touchdowns in the regular season.
He’s known for his tackle-breaking prowess and his nickname is “Beastmode.”
5. The Call Is Being Bashed on Social Media
From athletes to armchair quarterbacks, social media, namely Twitter, is blowing up with criticism for the play call.
Seemingly everyone believes Lynch’s number should have been called.
Here are some other Tweets questioning the call: