Seattle Center Max Unger Can’t Stop Thinking About Seahawks’ “Horrible First Half of the Football Game”

January 15, 2013 – 8:40 am by Eric Schmoldt

The Seattle Seahawks nearly pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in NFL playoffs history. They trailed 20-0 and 27-7 in Atlanta Sunday, yet briefly led 28-27 before falling on a last-minute field goal that ended their season. The comeback was impressive, but to many, like Seahawks center Max Unger, the story is all about Seattle’s troubles in the first half, particularly in the red zone.

Max Unger joined KJR in Seattle with Dave “Softy” Mahler to discuss what cost the Seattle Seahawks the game in Atlanta, not being able to get a yard on third or fourth down late in the first half, not putting points up right before halftime, if the Seahawks should’ve whittled more clock down before scoring the late touchdown to take the lead, the mood on the sidelines after taking the lead and just how much the loss hurts.

What are the top one or two things that maybe cost you guys the game at Atlanta?:

“It really isn’t that many things, man, just our inability to score in the red zone in the first half. That’s the name of the game right there. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to win in the playoffs. That’s pretty much what it came down to for us.”

Did they do anything you weren’t expecting?:

“No, no, not at all. And that’s not really their style of defense, either. Their defense isn’t built as a big, crazy blitz machine or anything like that. It worked in the first half; they did their thing and it didn’t break.”

How big of a turning point was it when you guys couldn’t convert on third-and-1 or fourth-and-1 late in the first half?:

“It shouldn’t have ever even really coming down to that. We should’ve been better in there — should’ve converted that third down and fourth down and at least gotten points out of it. We weren’t able to do that, and we missed pretty bad right at the end of the half when time expired, too. If we could’ve just got any points out of either of those two situations, it would’ve been a different game.”

What happened on that last drive of the first half when Russell Wilson was sacked and you guys couldn’t get the snap off before time expired?:

“We just ran out of time. … That was a tough series. We’re trying to spike the ball. We just can’t give up a sack in that situation; that’s really what it comes down to. And that’s on all of us. And it’s just stuff like that. There is a bunch of small plays like that that had a pretty profound impact on the game.”

Some people are saying maybe you guys should’ve whittled the clock down at the end of the game before scoring to take the lead. Does that make any sense?:

“No. We’d come back from so far and we’re knocking on the door and we had to score a touchdown, obviously. To think that we’d burn time off the clock and almost take a touchdown for granted is a tough call to make. You never know. That’s a coin flip. … That’s the coaching staff’s department. We had a bunch of stuff going on. Just to be honest with you, I wasn’t looking at the clock too often. We’re just trying to go as quickly as possible and get in the end zone.”

What was the attitude on the sideline after you guys scored and you’re getting ready to kick it back to Atlanta in the final minute?:

“Everybody was obviously flying pretty high. You never know, I guess as we found out. It was a little bit in check, also. We knew it was a possibility — a good offense is on the field and they’ve got a little bit of time and some timeouts. But we were pretty fired up. We scored 28 points in a half, a couple really nice two-minute drives. This is something we’ve practiced … and finally executed one and got in the zone, but it didn’t work out.”

How much did it hurt to the guys in that locker room?:

“This is probably the worst. I can’t think of a loss that affected me this much. We were right there. Unfortunately, I just keep going back to our horrible first half of the football game. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Obviously the future’s bright — there’s stuff to look forward to — but this is a tough one.”

Listen to Max Unger on KJR in Seattle here

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