Like the foot wizard that he is, Blair Walsh professes to have a “bag of kicks.”
And it includes various poock kickoffs, like the one he displayed Monday in Seattle’s 34-31 loss against Atlanta.
After Walsh had just nailed a 30-yard field goal with more than eight minutes remaining in the first half, Seattle special teams coach Brian Schneider noticed that the Falcons did not cover a certain area near their own 15-yard line.
So, Schneider called for a pooch kickoff, which Walsh ran to perfection. Rookie safety Tedric Thompson recovered the loose ball at the Atlanta 11-yard line.
“Blair had a great kick — and I did see the ball bounce, and that is when I dove on it,” said Thompson, who easily made his most impactful play of the season with the fumble recovery.
Russell Wilson scored minutes later on a 1-yard touchdown run to cut Atlanta’s lead to 21-17.
On a day coach Pete Carroll said he has not lost confidence in Walsh-- “no. He’s our guy”-- the kicker explained perfecting shorter kickoffs “is something you have to develop the longer you are in the league.” Walsh added that he will practice certain kickoffs in certain directions throughout the week based on how an opponent sets up its kickoff team.
In all, Walsh said he has 15 different variations of pooch kickoffs.
“You try and keep the other team guessing and keep them honest,” Walsh said.