So close to another celebration. So close to becoming the next NFL dynasty.
"The shock of disappointment that this game gets away from us and goes another way right at the finish line," a sombre Carroll said Monday, before Seattle returned to the Pacific Northwest after the 28-24 loss to New England. "It's something that we have to deal with that in the long run of it will make us stronger, and we'll be able to put it in some kind of perspective. It's pretty hard right now."
Carroll stood by the decision for Russell Wilson to throw from the New England 1 with 26 seconds left, a pass that was intended for Ricardo Lockette and intercepted by Malcolm Butler.
Carroll also defended offensive co-ordinator Darrell Bevell, who was widely criticized for calling a pass with Marshawn Lynch in the Seattle backfield.
"We're so lucky to have him. He's been absolutely instrumental in everything that we have done," Carroll said. "There is no reservation in that thought, and don't make it out like there is, because he is an awesome guy on our staff, and he is crucially important to our future as well."
Carroll said the clock and the Seahawks' timeout situation dictated they would have to throw once and possibly twice from the 1. He gave credit to Butler for making the interception and fellow cornerback Brandon Browner for jamming up wide receiver Jermaine Kearse on the play, creating open space for Butler to break on the ball.
Seattle decided to throw after seeing New England bring in its goal-line defenders, Carroll said. The Seahawks were also attempting to melt as much time from the clock with Tom Brady standing on the other sideline.
"We easily could have gone otherwise, but when they sent their goal-line guys in, I know that we have the advantage on the matchups in the passing game so let's throw it. It's OK," Carroll said. "One of those downs we were likely to throw the ball — maybe two of those downs we would have thrown the ball depending on how we had to save the clock. We had to get all of our plays."
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