Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka missed another extra-point attempt last weekend, but coach Pete Carroll says he’s happy with his team’s kicking game heading into Seattle’s NFC wild-card game on Sunday at Minnesota.
“I love what we can count on from our guys,” Carroll said. “Steven Hauschka has been a great field-goal guy for us and kicked the ball beautifully on kickoffs — he’s done a great job.
“(Punter) Jon Ryan has been instrumental in how we play defense around here and field position and all of that — a great finesse kicker inside the 20-yard line and does a great job there. We’re very fortunate to have them.”
During the regular season, Ryan punted 68 times, averaging 45.7 yards, including a season-long 73-yarder.
Hauschka hit 29 of 31 field-goal attempts (94 percent) — the second time in three seasons that he’s missed only two tries.
But he was 40 of 44 on extra points (91 percent). That’s four misses from the new point-after touchdown distance of about 33 yards, despite nailing all seven of his field-goal attempts from between 30 and 39 yards.
“It’s interesting that our guy and a lot of guys, they don’t miss field goals, but they’ll miss an extra point now and then,” Carroll said. “There’s something to it.”
Hauschka said he approaches extra points the same way he does a field goal of the same length. The difference, he believes, is simply the number of attempts.
“There’s just so many of them,” he said. “You’d never have a game where you’d have five 35-yard field goals. But all of a sudden you have five or six (PATs). I’m sure if whatever the percentage is for a 50-yard field goal — probably like 70 percent or something, I don’t know— but if you were to kick extra points from there, I’m guessing it would be less than whatever the percentage is.”
Hauschka wasn’t the only NFL kicker to notice the difference. Across the league, kickers converted 94.2 percent of their extra-point attempts during the regular season. That’s the lowest percentage in decades and a notable tumble from the 99.3 percent success rate of 2014.
So to a large degree, the NFL got what it wanted when it moved the extra-point attempt back to the 15-yard line in what currently stands as a one-season trial.
“They wanted to make more question in that moment — what’s going to happen? — and that’s definitely happened,” Carroll said. “… I understand it’s a one-year experiment. They’ll figure out what they want to do with it. I’d be surprised if they changed it. It’s made it more interesting.”
Carroll said the new PAT distance could become even more of a factor in the playoffs, when the pressure increases and weather conditions — such as the frigid temperatures forecast for Sunday’s game in Minneapolis — can bring added challenges.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens,” he said.
After Tom Coughlin, 69, stepped down as the New York Giants coach, that left Carroll, at age 64, as the, ahem, “most senior” coach in the league.
Yes, Carroll is aware of that fact.
“All I can tell you is that I’ve been actively promoting Mike Holmgren to get a head coaching job,” Carroll deadpanned. “I think that would be really in the best interest of the league if somebody would take Mike. He’s done a great job in the past.”
That’s not entirely a joke.
The 67-year-old Holmgren, who grew up in San Francisco, has long wistfully regarded the 49ers’ coaching job. And on Dec. 28, Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated tweeted that Holmgren is lobbying for the Niners’ vacant head-coaching position for the second time in two years.
Holmgren last coached in 2008, his 10th and final season of coaching the Seahawks. He became president of the Cleveland Browns after that.
His first seven years as a head coach was with Green Bay. Before that, from 1986-1991, Holmgren was the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach and then their offensive coordinator.
The updated forecast for Sunday in Minneapolis, where the game will kick off at noon local time: a high of 5 degrees and a low of minus-4, with a wind chill during daylight hours approaching 10 below zero.
The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell contributed to this report.