John Carlson isn’t a tight end known for his blocking.
It was his blocks, though, that set up his two touchdown catches in a game in which his hands played a decisive role.
In the first quarter, Seattle trailing 10-0, the Seahawks ran a play-action pass in which Carlson feigned a block to seal the edge, and then released after Matt Hasselbeck’s fake.
“The linebacker kind of ignored me when he thought it was a run,” Carlson said.
The result was an 11-yard touchdown catch, Carlson’s first score since Week 3 against San Diego. Less than eight minutes later, he added another score, this one equally wide open after he dove ahead as if he were chop-blocking, got up and ran alone to the end zone as Roman Harper assumed he was out of the play.
“It was a designed play,” Carlson said. “We knew that if I would cut on the backside, that they would kind of lose me. That’s what they showed on film, and that’s what they did.”
After scoring one touchdown all regular season, Carlson had two scoring catches in the first 19 minutes of Saturday’s playoff game.
“When you are playing a really good team, you have to come up with some ways to sort of trick them a little bit,” said Matt Hasselbeck, who threw the two touchdown passes to Carlson. “And we came up with some of those things.”
This was the kind of production that so many expected from Carlson this season after he caught more than 50 passes each of his first two years as a Seahawk. He caught 31 passes this season for 318 yards.
“Obviously, I want to catch more balls than I have this year,” Carlson said. “Some of that’s on me. I didn’t make plays at times when I was asked to, and some of it is just we needed to run the ball or I need to pass-protect. It’s fun to be involved in the offense, whether it’s catching the ball or run-blocking or pass-blocking.”
He added: “But to have a couple (TDs) in this game and get a big team win, that’s the most important thing.”
Carlson also caught the Saints’ onside kick after a late touchdown had cut Seattle’s lead to five points.