Pete Carroll explains fake punt was 'automatic,' not attempt to run up score
The trick play was triggered by the Bills' defensive formation, but Carroll said he should have stopped it as the Seahawks were up by 30 points.
Seattle Times staff reporter
TORONTO — Coach Pete Carroll didn't call for the fake punt specifically.
The problem was that he didn't call it off with his team leading by 30 points in the second half of Sunday's game against Buffalo.
"I feel bad about this," Carroll said.
The Seahawks faced fourth-and-four at the Buffalo 43, leading 47-17 with 12:49 to play in the game. The Seahawks had prepared a fake punt in their game plan, designating it to be used if the Bills used a specific formation.
"It was an automatic for us," Carroll said.
Safety Chris Maragos is the one responsible for diagnosing the opponent's formation on that play. He saw it, called for the fake punt, and took the snap directly. Maragos handed it off to fullback Michael Robinson, who came from the right side of the formation. After handing the ball off, Maragos continued to run as if he had the ball.
The execution couldn't have been better. The timing, however, was a little off.
"We looked for it every time we were going to punt, and it was just there," Carroll said. "I should have stopped it in the sense that it looked bad."
Robinson gained 29 yards on the play, setting Seattle up for a field goal.
Bills coach Chan Gailey was asked about it after the game.
"No comment," he said.
Lynch all business in return to Buffalo
Marshawn Lynch didn't have much to say about his first game against his former team, declining to comment after Sunday's game. His production spoke plenty loud, though, as he gained 113 yards on 10 carries. It's the second consecutive week he averaged more than 11 yards per carry.
Carroll spoke with Lynch during the week about playing Buffalo, the team that drafted him in the first round out of California in 2007 before trading him to Seattle three years later for two draft choices.
"He was just rock solid," Carroll said. "I didn't have to say anything to him. I asked him if he was OK going back, and he said he was fine."
Success is in
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick never saw Chris Clemons coming when Clemons' third-quarter pass rush resulted in a sack and forced fumble.
Neither did the rest of the league when Seattle traded for Clemons in 2010. A reserve linebacker with the Eagles before coming to Seattle, Clemons has recorded double-digit sack totals in each of his three seasons as a Seahawk.
He had 2 ½ sacks against Buffalo Sunday, giving him a career-high 11 ½ on the season.
"I give all my credit to these guys," Clemons said, motioning toward fellow defensive linemen Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant. "I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for them. They're always communicating with me. Since I first came in, they welcomed me."
• Safety Earl Thomas' winding path to the end zone wasn't the most surprising thing about his 57-yard interception return Sunday. The surprise is that he hadn't reached the end zone sooner.
"Every time I catch the ball, I'm trying to get to the end zone," Thomas said.
Thomas is one of the fastest players on the team, and he scored on an interception return in his third exhibition game as a rookie ion 2010. It took him until his third season in the NFL to get back to the end zone.
"When you talk about the great safeties in this league, that's what they do," Thomas said. "And I definitely want to be one of the best."
• Receiver Deon Butler was inactive for Sunday's game after being signed to the team Saturday. Cornerbacks Walter Thurmond, Marcus Trufant and DeShawn Shead were inactive, as were offensive linemen Mike Person and Rishaw Johnson and defensive tackle Jaye Howard.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil.