RENTON, Wash. – Despite all of his rapid optimism, there came a point in the NFC wild-card game where doubt creeped into Pete Carroll's mind.
Not when the Seattle Seahawks were watching Blair Walsh line up for a potential winning 27-yard field goal in the final seconds.
Earlier. About 15 minutes of game-time earlier when the Seahawks were looking at a 9-0 deficit and had done nothing offensively.
"When they went to 9-zip it was a moment of, 'Oh boy, we haven't scored once, how are we going to score twice?' There was a moment there questioning what is going to happen next," Carroll said Monday.
"And we came right back and got going, and got our score, and got the turnover and just flurried to the lead. Made it kind of fun. We were back in it. I thought the whole thing was really cool."
Thawed out from the subzero temperatures in the Twin Cities, the Seahawks were moving forward Monday after one of the more memorable playoff games in their history. Instead of speaking about all the turmoil of the season, Carroll was preparing to play at Carolina on Sunday.
It seemed so unlikely when Walsh lined up his kick with 26 seconds left, only to see the former All-Pro badly pull his attempt to the left, leaving Seattle in a state of stunned euphoria.
Richard Sherman had nearly blocked one of Walsh's made attempts earlier in the game and Carroll said re-watching the game it was obvious Walsh was quicker in his approach and kick than his previous attempts.
"The final kick was kicked much faster than their other kicks. I don't need to give you the times but it was considerably faster," Carroll said. "For whatever reason they sped up their mechanism. [Sherman] couldn't have been closer. We can't figure out how he didn't get it. So they went quite a bit faster."
Seattle's victory means another week of pondering the status of Marshawn Lynch, who decided Friday he was not going to be able to play. Carroll said there was no setback, simply Lynch telling the Seahawks staff he didn't have the confidence he needed to run with his style in a playoff game.
Carroll said the plan will remain the same with Lynch this week and that he will be evaluated daily.