Seattle Game Ball Goes to… Mike McCarthy

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Packers Seattle

I’m proud the Green Bay Packers and their performance against the Seattle Seahawks. But amid all the happy feelings, I’m not about to give Big Mike a pass.

You saw it. Seattle gets the ball at its own 11, 53 seconds to go in the first half. Their only intention is to go into the locker room in a scoreless tie, so they run up the middle and lose a yard. Enter Mike McCarthy, who calls a timeout. The Hawks run up the middle again, for two yards – and McCarthy uses his final timeout to again stop the clock, with 43 seconds left.

Seattle runs again on the third and three, gaining four yards and getting a new set of downs. Now Seattle has an incentive to try to score. After taking their second timeout, the Seahawks reel off a 34-yard pass play, and Russell Wilson then scrambles for another 29 yards. Seattle has two shots at a touchdown from the Packers’ 15, but the Green Bay defense continues to be rock-solid, so Seattle settles for a chip-shot field goal as time runs out. A touchdown under those circumstances would have been psychologically devastating.

The two McCarthy timeouts were more than just dumb. Big Mike gifted the Hawks a halftime lead when they weren’t even inclined to try to score. It switched the momentum – after the Packers had held it for 29 minutes, and gave Seattle a spark as the receiving team to start the third quarter.

Here’s why McCarthy’s strategy was stupendously dumb. Big Mike was obviously hoping he’d regain possession and launch a final drive to close out the half. But if Seattle doesn’t get the first down on the 3rd-and-3 (assuming they didn’t stop the clock with an incomplete pass, which they didn’t), then there is just under 40 seconds left and Green Bay is out of timeouts. The Seahawks would have let the clock run out without even needing to punt the ball away. Because of your two timeouts, coach, your team wasn’t going to get the ball back even if Seattle didn’t convert on that third down.

McCarthy Doesn’t Listen, Doesn’t Learn

If our head coach would follow Total Packers, maybe he’d cut down on such dumb-ass mistakes. Just two days before Sunday’s game, I spoke of New England coach Belichick making much the same blunder on Thursday against Kansas City, adding:

“Mike McCarthy has done this – and had it come back to bite him – three or four times in the past two years. The Chiefs got a first down, kept the drive alive, and – helped by their opponent stopping the clock – scored in the final seconds of the half. It’s a bad percentage choice. Save the timeout until you are sure you’re getting the ball back.”

Outside of this coaching blunder, and one other drive leading to a field goal, the Seahawks were thoroughly stifled by the Packers’ defense. While the Packers’ D gave a great effort and a great start to a promising season, the head coach put the game in jeopardy by his continued clock management stupidity.

These blunders constituted the high point of Seattle’s afternoon. For that, I trust the Seahawks will award you a game ball, Mike – you certainly earned it.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

13 Comments on "Seattle Game Ball Goes to… Mike McCarthy"

  1. TyKo Steamboat

    I’m an eternal Fat Mike apologist, but the time outs before half time were miserable.
    Yes, in hindsight. I too probably would have called them also. You force the SeaCocks to run 3x. Maybe you can force a fumble & go up 3-0. If that happens, he looks like a genius. Instead, Seattle had 2 improbable deep passes to go up 3-0 themselves.

    My only other knock would be the lack of running early on. Seattle’s D-Line is good & I know its not easy. But i’d like to see a more creative run game with Williams & MontG

    All-in-all, look around the NFL landscape. Be thankful your head coaches are not named Ryan, Pogano, Fox, etc.

  2. I’m all for trying to steal a possession at the end of a half. This time MM was wrong. There was no way to steal a possession. As I said at the time there was nothing positive that could be attained by the Packers with the amount of time left and having only 2 timeouts.

    I look at what Belechek did against the Chiefs as slightly different. There was a little over 2 minutes left, the Chiefs had their backs against their end zone, and the Pats had 3 timeouts. You could maybe make the case that Belechek should have let the clock go down to the 2 minute warning after the first down stop, then see what happens on second down before using the first timeout. Otherwise what Belechek did is what winning teams should do.

    What MM did yesterday was a no win situation for the Packers. I have defended MM for calling timeouts before the half before when it is the correct situation. Some of the times it works (washington 2015 playoff game) some of the times it doesn’t work (Dallas regular season 2016).

    I also did not like MM defending the timeouts after the game. I hope when he thinks about it he realizes even though the defense was playing very good, he was wrong. He may never admit it , but in yesterday’s circumstances the risk was far greater than the potential reward (fumble). There was no way the Packers were going to force Seattle to punt the ball!

    • The Packers also did almost the same thing as Belechek at the end of the first half of the 2016 Giants playoff game. Got the ball back and scored at the end of the half. So it can be a very good move if you have the right amount of timeouts and time left on the clock.

  3. Kato

    Speaking of other gaffes, did you guys happen to hear Paganos sound clip at post game press conference? He gave “the 49ers” credit for winning that game, when it the rams they had just lost to. I think there is a very real possibility that Pagano is not coaching that team into December. We complain about the packers management, and some of it justifiably so, but holy crap, what a circus in Indy with a franchise QB in place

  4. KORNKOBB

    I didn’t have a problem with the timeouts before the half and here are my reasons why.

    1. McCarthy was just trying to maximize possessions. With the possibility of one more possession comes an extra opportunity to put points on the board. I have no problem with that.
    2. McCarthy had a lot of confidence in his defense. He was probably confident that even if the Seahawks were to get a first down, they would still be able to prevent them from scoring before halftime.
    3. I don’t think the Seahawks plan was to go into halftime with a 0-0 tie. It’s possible that the during the first set of downs, the Seahawks knew they could try a few run plays on early downs, thinking that the Packers would probably call timeouts if they didn’t get a first down. Maybe their goal was just to get one first down and then start mixing in a few passing plays to try to get into field goal range.
    4. After the Packers last time out was called, the Seahawks had 4 yards to go. If the Seahawks were to attempt a pass play and it is incomplete, the Seahawks would have to punt it away and the Packers then have time to try to get info field goal range.

    The Seahawks attempted a run play on that third down and gained the yardage needed for a first down. But it cannot be assumed that it was going to be a run play. If they would have failed on a pass play, they would have had to punt the ball away. But I’m sure the Seahawks would have been confident enough in their defense to prevent the Packers from scoring before half.

    I don’t agree with everything McCarty does, but I did agree with the timeouts.

  5. DJ

    Yes, the timeouts were ill advised for sure. His logic just doesnt add up. Having said that, however, I think there may be some residual angst for past McCarthy sins because giving him a Seattle game ball is a bit over the top. Albeit funny as shit. lol

    We know nobody can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like MM. We know nobody can crush positive momentum like he can. We know his game management has always been lacking. But he did call a helluva game when it mattered, man. We were carving until ARod’s flukish pick which rattled both MM & #12. MM went straight to the ground game & ARod started holding the ball too long, getting greedy, & pressing which led to sacks. Second half 1-2-3 step drops got the ball out & established some much needed rhythm. MM fourth quarter play calling was excellent and far more aggressive than we’ve seen in the past. Throwing on 1st & 2nd down off play action allowed us to move the chains, burn clock, & ice it. Even ARod was surprised at the aggressiveness MM showed & mentioned it in the presser. Lord knows I blamed that man 1000x so despite his time out adventures, to be fair, I’ll also give him his props today.

  6. Jack Feinstein

    I was screaming at the top of my lungs – “What the hell are you doing”!!! My girlfriend couldn’t understand why I was getting pissed. I told her “nothing good can come this”. Then two 30 yard plays and eventually a field goal. Then she understood.

  7. icebowl

    All’s good in The Land o Cheese, call me a skeptic but one game a defense does not make….

    Some tough games coming up really quickly… considering how offenses typically starr off slow I wouldn’t bet that ATL is gonna look anything like the team that shoulda lost to Glennons Kids

  8. Gort

    Saints just did the same crap at Minnesota. Gruden said its a great way to test your young defense. Packers gave up only 3, but Nawlins just gave up 6 (Queens missed the PAT). DUMB ASSES

  9. Mike K

    Fat & Clueless McCarthy has done this numerous times & it always bites us in the ASS!!! Its that HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL coaching of his.

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