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Seahawks beat Ravens: Benchwarmer blowout closeouts

Putting in the backup QB to kill the clock during a blowout is a time-honored tradition. Doing it twice in as many weeks? That's a rare event worth a few more words.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

There's always that one guy on the bench whose appearance in a regular season or playoff game says "blowout". During the Sonics' heydey, it was Steve Scheffler; in football, it's almost always the backup quarterback.

With the not-unanticipated 35-6 domination of the banged-up Baltimore Ravens, Seattle closed out this weekend's game with Tarvaris Jackson on the field. Last week, Jackson made his inaugural showing in the 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings.

The kind of blowout scores that motivate calling up the second-string QB aren't especially common, but they're highly unusual in back-to-back games. The natural question is when the last time the Seahawks put in their backup quarterback in consecutive weeks out of anything other than necessity. The answer to that lies below, but we'll dig through all the blowouts of the last few years to find it because, let's be honest, it's just fun to relive some of this.

What follows are all the blowout victories of the Russell Wilson era in which his backup has closed out the game.


Week 16 -- 35-6 at Arizona Cardinals: The Cards were vying for the division lead -- they were 11-3 at the time and would finish out 11-5 -- but were rolling with Ryan Lindley at quarterback. Lindley went 18-for-44 on the night as Arizona generated just two field goals in the first three quarters. But the Seahawks didn't salt the game away until the beginning of the 4th quarter, when Russell Wilson hooked up with Luke Willson for a couple big gains, including a score; Marshawn Lynch followed with a 74-yard TD run on their next possession; and Russ converted a well-returned Sherman pick into another 7 on a 40-yard capstone. T-Jax closed the game by handing off to Christine Michael, throwing an incompletion to Ricardo Lockette, and giving to Garry Gilliam.


Week 3 -- 45-17 vs Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville had a brutal year, and the eventual Super Bowl champions were a terrifying early-season matchup. PFR's Win Probability graph for the game pretty much sums it up. Seattle went up 7-0 early, which is when the contest looked over. The Seahawks put up 17 more in the 2nd quarter, and it was all but over. RW came in to produce a TD strike in the 3rd, threw a pick, played one more three-and-out series, then hit the bench before the period was through with the score 31-7. But there was enough time left that Jackson went 7-for-8 for 129 yards and a 35-yard TD toss to Doug Baldwin, which kind of felt like it would have been enough on its own. Poor, sweet Jacksonville.

Week 11 -- 41-20 vs Minnesota Vikings: At one point in the 2nd quarter, the score was 10-10. That initiated the first Seahawks burst: a deep drive capped by a Lynch TD run, a short field and Baldwin TD strike, and it was suddenly 24-13. Neither team scored for a full 15, but facing Christian Ponder, the Seahawks defense came up with a pair of interceptions in the final frame -- one led to an 18-yard touchdown drive, one was a pick-6 that broke the llama's back. Neither team wanted to keep its starting quarterback in with the tally at 38-13. Matt Cassel took over for the Vikes and quickly chucked a pick; T-Jax dropped back for 3 passes in 10 plays under center, completing one for 6 yards.

Week 15 -- 23-0 at New York Giants: The Giants were in dire straits already, and hosting Seattle killed their post-season dreams. Russ stayed in for most of the game as the Seahawks held onto a 16-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter. His dagger was a pass to Doug Baldwin. Jackson joined the fray with about 10 minutes left, turned in a 3-and-out, then got the ball back after New York ate some clock before an Eli Manning INT to Earl Thomas. T-Jax closed the game by going 2-for-2 for 16 yards.

Super Bowl -- 43-8 vs Denver Broncos: You all saw it. The game opened with a safety, and Seattle tacked on points on its next 4 possessions, not stopping until a punt 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter and up 29-0. Jackson answered the phone with the game thoroughly out of hand at 43-8 with 3:44 left; he threw an incompletion to Ricardo Lockette. And we all celebrated because Tarvaris Jackson finally got his Super Bowl ring. 


Week 14 -- 58-0 vs Arizona Cardinals: This game may be the definition of a mauling. Russell Wilson played 39 snaps, while his backup Matt Flynn played 30. Wilson went 7-13-148-1-1, Flynn lined 5-9-68, and Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin both went over 100 yards rushing. On the day, Seattle racked up 493 yards to Arizona's 154, an astonishingly one-sided affair. On the plus side for the Cards, it was only 10-0 after the first quarter; by halftime, it was 38-0, and Lynch and the Seattle D had 2 TDs apiece. It was ugly, but fun -- as long as you weren't a Cards fan. Since "fugly" is already taken, I'll claim this as "uglun". It was also an announcement that the Seahawks might be a little better than everyone thought after all that Fail Mary nonsense.

Week 15 -- 50-17 at Buffalo Bills: A week after dropping a full 50-burger and donut on Arizona -- the old breakfast-and-dinner combo -- the Seahawks still had enough to make hash out of the Bills with a brutal combination of Wilson runs and Lynch pounds. By halftime, Wilson had 3 TDs on the ground and one through the air, though Seattle led only 31-17. But Seattle's offense marched for a pair of long scoring drives to open the 2nd half, then saw Earl Thomas bring back a Ryan Fitzpatrick miscue 57 yards for a score; by the time the third quarter closed, it was 47-17. In spite of the absurd lead, Russ opened the final frame with a field goal drive; Matt Flynn entered with just over 4:30 to play, gave the ball to Robert Turbin a few times, and the Seahawks never saw the field again.

(Honorable Mention) Week 16 -- 42-13 vs San Francisco 49ers: Yes, three weeks in a row, Matt Flynn entered the field of play in 2012, but this game only gets honorable mention because Flynn came in to sit on it. Prior to kickoff, the contest had all the makings of what we now think of as an old-school Seattle-San Fran tilt. Seattle was 9-5, San Francisco 10-3-1, and the Seahawks were looking to make the playoffs by either winning the division or securing a wild card berth. After a failed 49ers possession, Seattle got the ball at the SFO 35-yard line and ran 2 plays, the second a 24-yard Lynch rumble for a score. The 49ers punted again, Seattle scored a TD; the 49ers drove for a field goal try, Seattle blocked it and Sherman took it back for a third score; the 49ers finally got a field goal, Seattle scored another TD. By the end of 3, this on-paper tight game was 35-6, but the Seahawks wanted more. Russ stayed in through the next series, capping it with a Baldwin TD pass. Matt Flynn got in the game with 1:40 remaining, took a knee thrice, and the Seahawks got on everyone's radar as The Team You Don't Want To Face.


So the last time a backup QB appeared multiple weeks in a row was in 2012, Weeks 14-16. And prior to that?

Turns out Mike Holmgren wasn't into putting in the second-stringer in the later Matt Hasselbeck years, even with really big leads. But near the end of 2005, Seattle was on a roll, busy making its way to a 13-3 regular season record and its first Super Bowl appearance.


Week 13 -- 42-0 at Philadelphia Eagles: With 11:30 left in the 2nd quarter, Lofa Tatupu returned a Mike McMahon interception for the Seahawks' second defensive score of the game, and six minutes later, Michael Boulware came 2 yards shy of adding a third. It would take until the first play from scrimmage in the second half (and Koy Detmer taking over) for the D to pick up that hat trick and put the 'Hawks up 42-0. Hasselbeck stayed in until Seattle got the ball back with 3:44 left in the 3rd, when Seneca Wallace spelled him. Wallace played 17 snaps, went 0-for-2, and fumbled once (but recovered it).

Week 14 -- 41-3 vs San Francisco 49ers: Bobby Engram caught a 28-yard touchdown, and San Francisco answered with a field goal, and 7-3 was how the 1st quarter ended. Within 22 seconds in the 2nd frame, though, Matt Hasselbeck added two more TD passes, and the Seahawks were in command. The rest of the quarter was quiet, but a Hasselbeck-to-Engram hookup and an Alexander rushing score put Seattle up another 2 TDs as time expired in the 3rd. Wallace once again came in for the entire 4th quarter, this time taking 19 snaps and going 3-for-5 for 43 yards.

That year, Wallace also played the final 6 plays in Week 6, a 42-10 spanking of the Houston Texans, and went 1-for-1 for 42 yards in an 11-snap drive to close out Week 3's 37-12 drubbing of Arizona.


As far as I can tell, there were no appearances of a backup quarterback (in Steve Scheffler-style relief) between 2005 and this entertaining game in 2009:


Week 5 -- 41-0 vs Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags again! Hasselbeck threw 4 TDs, while Edgerrin James and Justin Forsett combined for 99 rushing yards. Jacksonville did nothing offensively with David Garrard under center, except where they drove to the Seattle 2 yard line -- and lost the ball on downs. A 79-yard fumble return for a TD at the start of the final frame was dirt on the grave. Seneca came in to close the game as the Seahawks killed the clock with an insane 16-play, nearly 12-minute drive that included two fumbles and was kept alive by a terrible unnecessary roughness penalty on a 3rd-and-21 run. Seattle ran the ball every down. The only record that Wallace was even in the game is the trio of kneel-downs that finally ended it, but he was QB for the entire series. It must have been torture getting those calls from the sidelines.


The rest of the team's second-stringer game closings surely live in the minds of various netfolk. Add your Benchwarmer Blowout Closeout memories in the comments!