Coming up short put a spotlight on a head-scratching fake field goal attempt at the end of the first half by Pete Carroll's bunch.
With seven seconds to go in the half, trailing 24-17, Walsh lined up for a 35-yard try. After the snap, holder Jon Ryan flipped a shovel pass to tight end Luke Willson, who was gobbled up by Falcons penetrating defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Seattle earned no points on the drive. They eventually lost by three.
After the game, Carroll defended going for a home-run play.
"That would have been a really good call if we made it," Carroll said. "We saw what we wanted to do. Terrific opportunity, right where we wanted it. Defensive tackle made the better play ... he wasn't supposed to be there."
It's easy to disparage a call after it doesn't work, but the high risk for low chance of reward on this play leaves Carroll open to critique. With just seven seconds remaining, Willson -- not the fleetest of foot -- would have had to beat every Falcons defender to the end zone or at least the sideline.
Carroll was asked after the game if he expected to score on the play from so far out with so little time left in the half.
"We had a chance to. [Or] run out of bounds and stop the clock," Carroll said. "We knew exactly what was going on. We figured we were going to break it. It was a matter of giving ourselves another shot -- if you don't score, keep it, if not, get out of bounds. We knew exactly what was up."
After watching the replay about 670 times, Willson does have blockers out in front walling Falcons defenders. Could he have made it to the end zone before one of them chased him out? Debatable. Jarrett's fantastic play blew any chance of seeing if the tight end could lumber for a TD or get out of bounds to simply set up a short field goal attempt. The risk didn't seem worth it at the time and looks worse after the loss.
"It was a chance to make a big play. We had a chance to make a touchdown or get out of bounds," Carroll said. "If that pops, he may walk in. We were prepared, we worked on it, saw something we liked. We didn't expect the nose tackle to make the play. We thought we'd get him knocked off, we didn't. It didn't work out. But I was being aggressive and going for it, trying to get a touchdown there."
In a three-point loss the decision to eschew kicking a relative chip-shot turned out huge. But Carroll has never shied away from going for the grand slam when a single might do. You don't get the nickname "Big Balls Pete" for nothing. Shooters shoot. With his secondary decimated and showing no signs of slowing down Matt Ryan, Carroll took his shot.