The Seahawks’ first primetime game played at the stadium we now know as CenturyLink Field was a Sunday night showdown against the Minnesota Vikings on September 29th, 2002. Seattle came into this matchup having started 0-3, with the Arizona Cardinals spoiling the home opener 24-13. During this dismal stretch, Shaun Alexander had rushed for just 110 yards on 44 carries, and the Seahawks offense as a whole just looked like a complete mess. Minnesota was also 0-3 under rookie head coach Mike Tice, and had an ugly turnover differential of -7.
Seattle burst out of the gates with a 14-0 lead, off of a pair of touchdowns runs by Alexander. Minnesota closed the gap to 17-10 with over three minutes left in the opening half.
Then the deluge happened.
Trent Dilfer threw a screen pass to Alexander on the first play of the drive. Steve Hutchinson and Robbie Tobeck were there to lead the way. Hutchinson got his man, while Koren Robinson did a terrific job getting in the way of two Vikings as Alexander cut towards the Minnesota sideline. Itula Mili and Bobby Engram took care of the remaining blocking downfield and Alexander was gone. An 80-yard touchdown with 2:53 left increased the lead back to 14.
Vikings returner Nick Davis was leveled by Tim Terry on the ensuing kickoff. The powerful hit jarred the ball loose and Reggie Tongue was there for the recovery.
After Dilfer found Darrell Jackson over the middle and down to the 3-yard line, Shaun sauntered his way in for his mindblowing FOURTH touchdown of the half, and the game was effectively over, but the Seahawks showed no mercy.
With Nick Davis out, it was D’Wayne Bates’ turn for kickoff duties. Again it was Tim Terry with the hit and forced fumble, this time with Alex Bannister falling on the loose ball at Minnesota’s 14.
One play later, Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson paved the way for Shaun to burst through for his fifth touchdown, as the Vikings defense suffered further humiliation. Alexander racked up 203 yards of offense on just 14 touches. Very efficient, in my opinion.
Minnesota’s offense finally saw the field again, not before three straight Alexander touchdowns of course, and Daunte Culpepper promptly threw a pick-six to Reggie Tongue. In the span of 107 seconds, the Seahawks turned 17-10 into a 45-10 obliteration. The 2nd half was decidedly boring, but the damage was already done, and Seattle triumphed 48-23.
To my excitement, there is video that not only proves this game actually happened, but the Seahawks indeed had fans before 2012, shattering that myth better than anything the Mythbusters team could manage. Why don’t you have a gander at the game in the clip below?
Seattle finished the season 7-9, and of course the very next game following the Minnesota win was the Terrell Owens Sharpie celebration on Monday Night Football. To date, the Seahawks have a regular season primetime home record of 18-5 at CenturyLink Field, and they just so happen to have three night games on tap for the 2017 season.