One of the biggest turning points in the NFC Championship Game was when the Seattle Seahawks elected to go for it on 4th and 7 early in the fourth quarter instead of attempting a 53-yard field goal into the wind. Russell Wilson drew the San Francisco 49ers offsides to give them a free play, and he hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown pass to put his team up 20-17 — a lead they didn’t relinquish.
Now we’re learning that the play was possible thanks in part to the recommendation of kicker Steven Hauschka, who dissuaded head coach Pete Carroll from attempting the difficult field goal.
“I didn’t really want to kick it, to tell you the truth,” Hauschka told Newsday after the game. “It was into the wind . . . I didn’t think it was the right decision and I let coach Carroll know that.”
Hauschka told Newsday that he had never before turned down a kick, but he didn’t think this one was one he could make given the conditions.
“You have to be honest with yourself,” he said. “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.’ ”
The Seahawks initially sent out their field goal team to attempt the kick, but Carroll called timeout and sent out his offense. The move paid off — the touchdown may have been the biggest play of the game.
As another interesting note, the play the Seahawks called for 4th and 7 changed once San Francisco jumped offsides. The receivers ran streaks instead, which is how Wilson ended up throwing a touchdown pass to Kearse.