It was actually a fascinating moment - great read on that call:
*Belichick kind of put Carroll in a corner by not stopping the clock (it quickly got eclipsed by what happened next, but at the time no one in the room could figure out why Belichick didn't call a time out). He had three downs, but only one time out so at best he could run twice or rsk the game clock running out on them at 4th and goal.
*Ignoring actual results, throwing vs running barely budged the probability of the Hawks winning, and may have given favorable assumptions actually have been the more prudent call.
*538 argues that Belichick's decision to NOT stop the call actually may have hurt the Pats' chances more than Carroll's decision to throw did, again looking at ex ante probability rather than what actually happened.
*Belichick probably deserves credit for drawing the pass on this down. It may have been the "right" call for the Seahawks to throw, and clearly there was a little gamesmanship between the two coaches here (a totally valid question raised by one of our traders from the Pittsburgh area and therefore no horse in the race here was, with a minute on the clock on the 2nd down, it's just as inconceivable that Carroll didn't call his last time out, and start at 2nd and goal with one yard to go with, say, 58 seconds instead of 28, giving him three plausible shots to run). There's also the fact that the Pats' D was configured to guard against a pass on that down, not a run; they were expecting it.
*taking this one step further... Butler has said in a couple interviews since that he'd drilled on this exact play all week.
, guarding against and trying to pick a pass across the goal line from short distance. As a good Bostonian I could fairly be accused of being biased here, but for all the negative things you guys may want to say about Belichick, he's a very thoughtful, very methodical, very crafty, and very rigorous coach. I don't pretend to be able to put myself in his head, but I think you can fairly imagine a situation where suddenly after a freak catch and a run the Seahawks are on the one yard line with less than a minute to go, Carroll doesn't
call a time out figuring Belichick will, and Belichick, knowing if he doesn't Carroll will probably pass to not risk running the clock down further especially with his adrenaline up after losing 2/3 of the game time setting up, decides to call his bluff, and puts his team in a passing defense formation knowing that it's a play they've been running all week and they have a way-better-than-normal chance of intercepting it since they've just done countless dry runs. And, boom. Just like clockwork.
If that's actualy the case, well, you don't have to budge the probabilities much (2.1% in fact) on the liklihood of a turnover for running the clock actually being the winning strategy in this play, and in that case where Carroll really lost was letting Belichick into his head and letting him call his bluff by not calling that time out.
Also, parting thought - considering for the past two weeks the Patriots have had press conference after press conference patiently answering questions about a scandal whose physical evidence, forgive the pun, lost air with every passing day, while meanwhile Lynch held a press conference where he answered "I'm only here so I don't get fired" to every question, and then the Seahawks started a fistfight when it became apparent they were going to lose... How is it the Patriots
whose sportsmanship is still under debate here?