No. Not again. No. Freakin’. Way.

There’s unbelievable, there’s inexcusable, and then there’s that.

Once again, the Seahawks had the ball on the 1 with victory imminent. Once again, they had Marshawn Lynch in a helmet with a chance to take it home. And once again, the coaching staff fumbled it away like a world-class klutz.

(Rich Boudet / The Seattle Times)

How the hell did that happen?

Everything was in place for the fairy tale to come to fruition in that regular-season finale. Seattle rallied from 12 points down in the fourth quarter and had a chance to take the lead with 22 seconds to go.

Russell Wilson led the Seahawks from their 27, completed an 11-yard pass on fourth-and-10 from the 12, spiked the ball and then … a DELAY OF GAME?!?!?!

You have got to be kidding. The only way that’s fathomable is as a practical joke.

No way the coaches’ brains were capable of that level of flatulence, right?

Alas, they were. Those guys gave the division away.

“We just didn’t quite get it communicated with the backs. We were just late. We just burned the time,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, whose team lost to the 49ers, 26-21. “We just didn’t get it done. We didn’t function cleanly.”


Carroll saying they “didn’t function cleanly” is an all-time exercise in understating. General Custer didn’t function cleanly. Miss Teen South Carolina didn’t, either.

The Seahawks bungled a basic element of the game and cost themselves an NFC West crown and home playoff game as a result.

This isn’t how it was supposed to go down with this team. Not with the way it has played all year. The Seahawks (11-5) had won nine of their previous 10 games decided by one score — including two in overtime.

Moreover, in an almost too-corny-for-Hollywood moment, they had just re-signed Lynch to give them a boost at the depleted running-back position. And when Lynch scored early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to five, the boom from CenturyLink Field registered on the Cal Tech Richter scale.

It looked like he was going to do it again when he ran onto the field with 22 seconds to go. Then came of the delay of game. Barf bag, anyone?

“I was sick. I didn’t know what was going on. I was just like, ‘What the freak happened?'” said Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. “It’s part of the game. Nothing I could do about it. It made a difference, though.”


The Seahawks still had three chances to score but had to do it from the 5 instead of the 1. They almost did it, too, as tight end Jacob Hollister was stopped one inch short of the goal line on fourth down. Fans will gripe that San Francisco (13-3) should have been called for pass interference one play earlier, but after that delay of game, you have to live with potential missed calls.

Now the Seahawks have to go on the road to take on Philadelphia. Now there will be no division banner to signify their season.

Now they will have to spend the next six days — and maybe more once the season is over — wondering how this one got away.

“It gets your blood boiling,” right guard D.J. Fluker said.

One of the most famous lines in movie history comes from “Cool Hand Luke,” when the police captain yells out, “What we have here, is failure to communicate.”

The Seahawks’ coaches had that same failure Sunday. And like “Luke,” it led to a tragic ending.