This Sunday is only the second time that the Indianapolis Colts have played the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Due to the NFL tinkering with the scheduling system so that East Coast teams didn’t have to make too many cross-country trips to play West Coast teams, the last two meetings between Seattle and Indy have taken place at Lucas Oil Stadium, with the Colts prevailing both times.
On Christmas Eve 2005, a win for the 12-2 Seahawks would clinch the #1 seed in the NFC. The story for the Indianapolis Colts was much different, as their quest for 16-0 was dashed by the San Diego Chargers in week 15. They’d already clinched the #1 seed in the AFC, so with no undefeated season to chase and everything else wrapped up, the hype for Colts-Seahawks had cooled considerably. Things took a much more somber turn midweek, when Tony Dungy’s eldest son James committed suicide at just 18 years of age. While Dungy returned home to be with his family, assistant coach Jim Caldwell was temporarily put in charge. The Colts elected to sit their starters for the majority of the game, giving Seattle a golden opportunity to lock up home field advantage before week 17.
Shaun Alexander dominated Indianapolis’ defense, rushing for 139 yards on 21 carries and scoring a hat-trick of touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving), and Matt Hasselbeck had a workmanlike performance: 17-of-21 for 168 yards with 2 TD passes, as the Seahawks easily defeated the Colts 28-13 at what was then known as Qwest Field. One thing that sticks out, especially in light of the Tom Cable era we’ve so gleefully dissected for years, is how clean the pockets were for Hasselbeck. I miss those days.
Finding old footage of the 2003-2007 Seahawks teams is incredibly difficult, presumably because of the urban legend that the franchise did not exist until 2012. There is, however, an old episode of ESPN NFL Primetime, which has highlights of Colts-Seahawks (plus anything else you want to peruse from week 16 of 2005). Unfortunately, the NFL usually blocks its content from being displayed anywhere outside of Youtube, so you’ll have to watch it there. I’ve timestamped the game at 16:48.