Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been forced to explain some difficult tactical decisions in the postseason over the last year. Going for it on fourth-and-5 from the Carolina 18 with 2:22 remaining in the first half of Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Panthers should not have been one of them.
Various analytic sites have measured the success rate between 45 and 50 percent, and the Seahawks were trailing by 31 points. Still, Carroll was nice enough to stand at the podium after the game and admit that he'd be losing sleep -- for not nailing the attempt to go for it.
"I'll be kicking myself because we didn't convert on the fourth down in the first half," Carroll said, via 710 ESPN in Seattle. "Fourth-and-5. To make that a good decision you've got to win it."
Had Seattle kicked a field goal, it could have changed some of the parameters late in the game after the Seahawks stormed back. The Seahawks could have been down 31-24 instead of 31-21 on their final drive, which would have forced them to go for it and attempt a tying touchdown instead of a field goal to put them within seven at the 1:16 mark.
"We talked all about it," Carroll said. "I didn't want to give up the three points, but I thought we had a chance to make the fourth-and-5. I felt like we had a little momentum."
This isn't one he should agonize much about. The call was meant not only to try and erase the deficit, but get his offense back into the game emotionally. Seattle was down by more than 30 points on the road in a playoff game against the best team in football. Converting that certainly makes the second half different.