Thomas Rawls thought he was just playing ball but owns key Seahawks penalty in ending loss
Former reliable Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka and his new team, the Buffalo Bills, are going off to the AFC playoffs next week.
Hauschka’s replacement — the younger, less expensive Blair Walsh — will be staying home from the postseason, just like his Seattle teammates.
It many ways, it was an almost fitting end to the Seahawks’ mistake-filled season Sunday that Walsh’s game-winning 48-yard field goal attempt sailed way right with 32 seconds remaining, giving Arizona a 26-24 victory at CenturyLink Field.
“I just played it to an area that didn’t go off my foot in the direction I wanted it to,” Walsh said. “It stinks.”
To Walsh’s defense, by the time he took the field, Seattle was already eliminated from advancing to the NFC playoffs after Atlanta defeated Carolina, 22-10, to sew up the final berth.
All in all, Walsh called his first season — and quite possibly his only year — with the Seahawks “up and down.”
Seattle cut Hauschka last offseason to save $2.45 million in salary, and instead signed the younger Walsh to a one-year deal with a base salary of $800,000.
For the first part of this season, the move looked like a steal: Walsh made 12 of his first 13 field goals.
But in the team’s eighth game, Walsh missed all three field goals in a 17-14 loss to Washington, and that triggered a second-half swoon.
Including the Redskins’ game, he made just nine of 16 field goals to close out the season.
And on Sunday, it didn’t help that Walsh’s counterpart — Arizona’s Phil Dawson — made all four of his field goals, including ones from 53, 49, and 42 yards.
“I have usually been good from long distance in my career,” said Walsh, who set an NFL record by making all 10 field goals 50 yards or longer as a rookie in Minnesota in 2012. “You’ve got to make the 48- and 52-(yarder) to help your team. I didn’t. I am accountable.”
RAWLS’ PENALTY COSTLY
Running back Thomas Rawls says he gets excited after most plays, and his 12-yard catch on a screen pass late in the third quarter was no exception.
He was knocked out of bounds. He yelled. And he was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty that knocked the Seahawks out of field-goal range.
“I didn’t ever think the flag was on me,” Rawls said. “Everybody is out there talking and stuff like that. In that situation, in that case, I was the culprit. I will bite the bullet.”
The loss marked the end to Rawls’ frustrating season, gaining just 157 yards on 58 carries with no touchdowns in 12 games.
He said he would like to return to the team next season.
“I am not sure. I’ve got to see how everything plays out,” Rawls said. “I love it here. I love it here.”
The Seahawks made running back Eddie Lacy inactive again Sunday, ending his rocky first season in Seattle.
Not playing him against the Cardinals saved Seattle $62,500 against the salary cap. That’s the per-game bonus Lacy got this season for each game he was active.
Seattle’s splashiest signing (one-year, $2.865 million deal) last spring, Lacy played in just nine games. The former NFL rookie of the year finished with 170 yards on 69 yards with no touchdowns.
Offensive guard Ethan Pocic left early in the second quarter with a knee injury, and did not return. He was replaced by Jordan Roos, who saw his first snaps on the offensive line. ... Linebacker Terance Garvin (concussion) also departed in the first half. ...
Wide receiver David Moore and tight end Tyrone Swoopes were active for the first time Sunday. Moore played a few snaps in the first half, and Swoopes saw two plays in the second half. Neither player was targeted with a pass. ...
Former Seattle Supersonics forward Sam Perkins raised the “12th Man Flag” on Sunday before kickoff. He played 5½ seasons in Seattle (1992-98). … Before the game, linebacker Bobby Wagner was presented the player-voted Steve Largent Award by general manager John Schneider. It is given to the Seahawks player that best exemplifies spirit and integrity.