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Seahawks 21 Cowboys 20: The unsung heroes from Seattle’s epic 2006 wild card win

NFC Wild Card Game: Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys have only met once before in the playoffs, and you know that there is but one play that everyone remembers from this 2006 wild card game.

Jordan Babineaux’s touchdown-saving tackle on what could’ve been a moment of brilliance from Tony Romo ushered in the “Big Play Babs” moniker, although some of us certainly know it started a year prior.

But there was a hell of a lot more to that game than just the infamous fumble. I present to you the biggest unsung heroes, the players who didn’t get talked about enough from that Saturday night in January 2007.

Shaun Alexander

Alexander had only 69 yards on 24 carries and no touchdowns, and frankly if social media was as popular back then as it is now, there would be tweets aplenty about Mike Holmgren’s “establishing the run” failures. However, look a little deeper and you’ll find that Shaun had three pivotal second-half carries.

Down only 10-6 in the third quarter, Holmgren eschewed conservative “kick another field goal” thinking twice on the same drive. He went for it on 4th and inches at the Dallas 31, and Shaun ran behind Mack Strong to the right side for four yards to keep the series moving. Faced with 4th and inches again at the Dallas 18, Shaun was the single back, and he was able to just get to the corner before Bobby Carpenter for three more yards. Next play? Touchdown, Jerramy Stevens and a 13-10 lead (that would be gone on the ensuing kickoff).

Following the Romo fumble, Seattle was backed up at its own 2-yard line and needing to run the clock out. Dallas had all of its timeouts left with 1:14 to go, so a three-and-out would’ve been disastrous, a safety loses you the game. Alexander rips off a 20-yard dash and makes all of that moot.

By the time the Cowboys get the ball back, there’s only two seconds on the clock, and it should’ve been none if not for Ryan Plackemeier’s shank out of bounds.

Jerramy Stevens

Let me get this out of the way by saying I feel uncomfortable putting Jerramy Stevens as a hero of anything, but for one night only, he balled out.

On a night when not much was working for the Seahawks offense, Stevens was the top performer. He had five catches for 77 yards and the only multi-touchdown game of his entire Seahawks career. In fact, those 77 yards are the second-most of his entire NFL career. The second TD of the game represented Seattle’s winning points, and what a kickass play this was.

This is the last time I’ll ever say nice things about Jerramy Stevens.

Kelly Jennings

Speaking of bad Seahawks players having a major impact on the game, it was actually rookie CB Kelly Jennings who got Seattle’s fourth-quarter comeback started!

After a failed 4th and goal at the 2, the Cowboys took over on downs. Tony Romo threw a quick out to Terry Glenn, who stumbled moving forward, regathered his balance, only for Jennings to swoop in and force the fumble. Initially, this was ruled a touchdown recovery by Michael Boulware, but Lofa Tatupu was out of bounds when he “saved” the ball from going out of the end zone. So it was officially a safety, cutting the deficit to 20-15, and setting up the winning TD to Stevens.

Jennings had notoriously bad ball skills, but this was one of the few great plays of his disappointing Seahawks career.

Pete Hunter

Not totally dissimilar to the 2018 Seahawks secondary, but the ‘06 team was banged up. I mean really banged up. It was so bad that they signed former Cowboys DB Pete Hunter, a street free agent who was a loan officer in Dallas, to be a part of the playoff team.

“Pete the loan officer” recovered a Jason Witten fumble in Seahawks territory in the first quarter, and knocked down the Hail Mary pass thrown by Romo on the oft-forgotten actual last play of the game.

Hunter actually picked off Rex Grossman the following week against the Chicago Bears, so he made the most of what would be his final two games in the NFL.

Lofa Tatupu

His injury-riddled career was short, but Lofa was the Bobby Wagner of the Holmgren-era Seahawks defense. Remember those Lofa vs. Patrick Willis debates? I do. Anyway, if Tatupu doesn’t stop Jason Witten short of the first down — the officials overturned the call on video replay — the Cowboys could’ve drained the clock all the way down and kicked the winning field goal with no time left, and there’s no guarantee the Romo fumble still happens under these circumstances.

Defend every blade of grass.

Here we are in 2019, and this time the Seahawks are the road team, but the game is also in primetime, where Seattle has excelled under Pete Carroll. While I could do without a dramatic ending like what we saw 12 years ago, all I want is the same final result of a Seahawks win.