The biggest play of the year for the Seattle Seahawks occurred in the NFC Championship Game. No, it wasn’t Richard Sherman’s epic defended pass that turned into a game-winning interception, although that is probably what people will remember as the biggest play of the season. It was actually the fourth-and-7 in the fourth quarter that miraculously turned into a Jermaine Kearse touchdown catch. What many people may not realize is that Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka is actually the one responsible for the play even occurring.
Many may recall Hauschka late to get onto the field for the field goal attempt, which resulted in a Pete Carroll timeout. The reason for the delay was because Hauschka never intended to attempt the field goal.
“I didn’t really want to kick it, to tell you the truth,” Hauschka said, according to Newsday. “It was into the wind . . . I didn’t think it was the right decision and I let coach Carroll know that.
“You have to be honest with yourself. It was the wind at that moment. Sometimes you can make that, but I felt the wind at that moment was into the face enough to not want to try that kick. I grabbed him on the sideline as I ran out because I could see the flags [on top of the uprights] and I told him: ‘We shouldn’t kick this.'”
Carroll acknowledged his kicker’s words of wisdom and decided to go for it on fourth down instead. The rest is history as the San Francisco 49ers jumped offside, which allowed the Seattle wide receivers to run straight for the end zone. Quarterback Russell Wilson tossed a beautiful pass that was brilliantly caught by Kearse for the score.
So, why exactly was the fourth down call the biggest play of the year? Think about it. If the Seahawks do indeed attempt the field goal as originally planned and make it, the 49ers are only down by two instead of six. That means instead of Colin Kaepernick heaving the ball into the end zone to allow Sherman the opportunity to make the game-winning play, San Francisco kicks a field goal that sends them to the Super Bowl instead.
Hauschka deserves a lot of credit for being honest with his coach. Not many players would want to admit they didn’t think they could accomplish a specific task in the biggest game of their career. However, Hauschka decided to put the team first and it paid off huge.