If you were surprised to see the Seahawks run a play when they got the ball back with 22 seconds left and a 26-23 lead Sunday against the 49ers, coach Pete Carroll was too.
But there was as purpose for Russell Wilson’s decision to change the call of a kneel down to a play in which he tossed it quickly to receiver David Moore as Moore ran in front of him at the snap.
The play gained five yards, but more importantly was the 35th reception of the season for Moore, which earned him a $100,000 bonus.
“We called that play because David had $100,000 if he gets that catch,’’ Wilson said. “So you know, it’s a blessing to be able to help his family and his daughter and all that stuff. It was part of the game, we wanted to get him that catch and so we were able to dial that up for him that last play.’’
That catch was the only one of the game for Moore, a fourth-year receiver who finished with 417 yards on 35 catches, the latter number a career high.
“We were going to kneel it and then we ended up changing it,’’ Wilson said, saying he had been talking with quarterbacks coach Austin Davis on the sidelines before the series, which began after the Seahawks recovered an onside kick after the 49ers final touchdown.
“Austin actually said, ‘Hey, let’s get it done; let’s get it done,’’’ Wilson said. “… So when we ended up calling it and I said, ‘Dave you’re going to get the ball right here, here we go,’ kind of winked at him. So that was pretty cool.’’
Wilson may have been particularly eager to do Moore a little favor after Moore had to take a pay cut at the start of the season. He was a restricted free agent at the end of last season and signed a tender for a non-guaranteed $2.13 million.
But as cutdown day neared in September, Moore agreed to a restructured deal for a salary of $825,000 and a signing bonus of $75,000. Moore may have had to agree to the deal to assure he stayed with the team because the Seahawks may not have kept him at the higher price and because since none of that money is guaranteed, all of it could have been saved against the cap.
Wilson said he heard about Moore’s incentive during the week and had it in the back of his head. When the game got to the final series and Moore still didn’t have a catch, Wilson decided to make the call to make sure he got it.
Moore ran out of bounds after picking up five yards, which meant Seattle had to run one more play.
No matter. Wilson this time took the kneeldown to end the game.
“He’s worked so hard this year,’’ Wilson said. “He’s definitely earned it.’’