Over the last two seasons, I used the Whatifsports engine to simulate the 1992 Seattle Seahawks against the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2013 Seahawks. Naturally, this produced some truly lopsided outcomes.
This year’s summertime edition figures to be much more competitive and actually compelling. It’s the Super Bowl champion Seahawks against the 2005 squad that won the franchise’s first ever conference championship. On one side you have MVP Shaun Alexander, the HOFer Walter Jones, potential HOFer Steve Hutchinson, prime Matt Hasselbeck, and rookie Lofa Tatupu. The other side has Russell Wilson, Beast Mode, the prime Legion of Boom, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright,
and Christine Michael.
Using advanced stats, the 2005 Seahawks had the #1 DVOA but a league-average defense and below-average special teams dropped them to 3rd overall. The 2013 Seahawks of course had the #1 defense, #7 offense, and #5 special teams to top out at #1 overall for that unforgettable season.
I conducted 12 simulations — all at CenturyLink Field so technically there’s no home field advantage — and saved the box scores so I could recap all the games for your interest.
So let’s get to it!
Game 1: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 31-3
Marshawn Lynch ran wild on the 2005 Seahawks defense, scoring on the first two possessions of the game. Russell Wilson was a fantastic 15/24 for 278 yards and a touchdown, while Lynch had 130 total yards of offense. Matt Hasselbeck was held to just 50% completion and Shaun Alexander could only muster up 56 yards on 21 carries.
Game 2: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 31-23
It looked as if the 2013 Seahawks would cruise to victory after a sensational 1st half by Russell Wilson, who overcame an early interception to Jimmy Williams by throwing three touchdowns. Mike Holmgren’s side mounted a furious 4th quarter comeback from 24-0 down to get within 31-23, as the running game battered the 2013 defense through a combo of Alexander and Maurice Morris. With less than two minutes to go, Hasselbeck led the 2005 Seahawks into the red zone with a chance to tie the game. Faced with 4th and 9 at the 19, Hasselbeck was put under pressure and Senesack’d himself for the L.
Of note from this game was that neither QB threw a pass that went for more than 20 yards.
Game 3: ‘05 Seahawks def. ‘13 Seahawks 17-13
In a dramatic comeback, the 2005 Seahawks are on the board! Despite just 213 yards of offense, they turned things around with two touchdowns in 19 seconds to turn a 13-3 deficit into a 17-13 lead. After DJ Hackett cut the score to 13-10, Russell Wilson was intercepted by Andre Dyson, and the go-ahead TD by Bobby Engram soon followed. 4th Quarter Russ imploded, getting picked in the red zone by Lofa Tatupu with under three minutes remaining. He had one last chance at victory after the ‘05 side went three-and-out. A 39-yard run by Robert Turbin set the ‘13 team deep in enemy territory. On 4th and 15 at the 18-yard line, Wilson could not find Golden Tate in the end zone. Game ovah.
Game 4: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 20-10
The 2013 Seahawks made some big plays on special teams to see this one through. Up 13-10, Russell Wilson was picked off by Andre Dyson, giving the 2005 Seahawks some life. With a chance to tie the game, Josh Brown’s kick was blocked. After the teams traded three-and-outs, the 2013 Seahawks blocked Tom Rouen and recovered the punt at the 18-yard line. With a chance to close the game out, ‘13 Seattle was backed up with a 3rd and 15 situation, but Wilson found Golden Tate for a clutch conversion. Percy Harvin scored on the next play to salt away victory.
Marshawn Lynch rushed for 74 yards on 17 carries, whereas the rest of the team had 18 yards on 23 carries, although that includes Russ’ kneeldowns at the end. Shaun Alexander’s 105-yard day went to waste for the ‘05 Seahawks.
Game 5: ‘05 Seahawks def. ‘13 Seahawks 33-14
Wow! A complete blowout thanks to 227 yards on the ground from Shaun Alexander, as well as 5 catches for 92 yards and a TD from Bobby Engram. Jermaine Kearse had the 2013 Seahawks’ only offensive plays of 20+ yards, with one of them a garbage time touchdown. It was a phenomenal defensive display by the 2005 Seahawks, who sacked Russell Wilson four times, with two courtesy of Marcus Tubbs.
Game 6: ‘05 Seahawks def. ‘13 Seahawks 19-7
In a low-scoring affair, the 2005 Seahawks led from start to finish. Joe Jurevicius had a big 29-yard catch to set up Mo Morris’ three-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. Russell Wilson pulled the 2013 Seahawks to within 13-7 in the 3rd quarter, but in the final period he tossed a critical interception to Jordan Babineaux that killed off hopes of a comeback. Golden Tate was responsible for 60 of 2013 Seattle’s 120 receiving yards and the only touchdown for his team.
Marshawn Lynch was held to just 55 yards on 20 touches, so he was a real non-factor.
Game 7: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 20-17
Darrell Bevell established the absolute shit out of the run in this one. Predictably this led to a paucity of points. Dan Quinn’s defense shut the door on the 2005 Seahawks’ comeback efforts, as Richard Sherman picked off Matt Hasselbeck with under five minutes remaining, and deep in ‘05 Seattle territory. Percy Harvin scored on third-and-goal to increase the lead to 20-10. The ‘05 Seahawks embarked on a 16-play, 79-yard drive that took too much time and only made the final scoreline prettier. ‘13 Seattle recovered the onside kick and thus locked up the W.
Game 8: ‘05 Seahawks def. ‘13 Seahawks 20-17
Same scoreline, reverse result.
I just want to point out that the play-by-play listed Zach Miller’s touchdown as follows:
“Catch is good and Miller speeds down field and into the endzone.”
There is no such thing as Zach Miller “speeds down field.”
Anyway, the 2013 Seahawks relied heavily on the big play out of the passing game. Russell Wilson threw for 281 yards on just 12 completions, including long touchdowns to Miller and Golden Tate. It was otherwise a rough day at the office for the offense, as they were poor on third-downs and got nothing done on the ground. Still, they held a 17-6 lead with under five minutes remaining against the 2005 Seahawks. A Mack Strong one-yard plunge (and a two-point conversion from Shaun Alexander) made it 17-14 with 4:54 to go.
Faced with a critical 3rd and 1, the ‘13 Seahawks called a pass play and Russell Wilson overthrew Luke Willson. Punt time. And they would pay for it dearly, as the 2005 Seahawks drove 86 yards on just 7 plays and took the lead on a Bobby Engram catch-and-run. There was still time left for Russ to be the hero, but he was sacked twice by Grant Wistrom on the final drive, and his desperation heave to Doug Baldwin from the 39-yard line fell short on the game’s last play. A shocking comeback, to say the least.
Game 9: ‘05 Seahawks def. ‘13 Seahawks 35-6
A total beatdown. Russell Wilson was sacked four times, the 2013 defensive line could not lay a finger on Matt Hasselbeck nor could they stop Shaun Alexander (24 carries for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns). Hasselbeck was a sparkling 19/26 for 207 yards and 3 TDs. Nothing about this game was competitive.
Game 10: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 20-17 (OT)
It’s not everyday that you see fullbacks getting the only touchdown receptions in a game, but here’s an exception. This was a closely contested, hard-fought battle that saw the 2013 Seahawks have all of their scores answered by the 2005 Seahawks... that is, until overtime happened.
The 2005 Seahawks received the ball first and couldn’t muster up a first-down, largely thanks to a crucial sack by Michael Bennett. Needing only a field goal to win, the 2013 Seahawks marched 39 yards in 6 plays, and Steven Hauschka split the uprights.
Lynch went Beast Mode on the ‘05 Seahawks, rushing for 117 yards and a TD. Bobby Engram was the standout for the ‘05 offense, with 5 catches for 96 yards.
Game 11: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 24-21 (OT)
This had the makings of a rout. The 2013 Seahawks scored on their opening drive, then Matt Hasselbeck was picked by Richard Sherman. Even on a 3rd and 19, the lead extended to 14-0 on a touchdown throw to Jermaine Kearse. Remarkably, the score stayed that way until well into the 4th quarter, and then all hell broke loose.
Shaun Alexander dashed in from 25 yards out to bring his team to within 14-7. Christine Michael fumbled the ball on the next play, and the 2005 Seahawks recovered and eventually tied the game on another Alexander score. Marshawn Lynch then coughed it up, but the ‘05 ‘Hawks failed to capitalize on this turnover. Golden Tate then gave the 2013 team the lead back on a 78-yard jet sweep with 2:06 to go. Hasselbeck and Alexander then led the way for another game-tying drive, this time assuring us of another overtime.
In overtime, the 2013 Seahawks got the W on a 12-play drive that seriously consisted of 10 runs, 1 pass, and 1 pass that resulted in a sack. Those Pete Carroll approved body blows set up the winning field goal by Hauschka. A harsh defeat for the 2005 Seahawks to take, especially with Alexander going off for 166 yards and a hat trick of TDs.
Game 12: ‘13 Seahawks def. ‘05 Seahawks 27-24
The simulation series ends with another narrow triumph for the Super Bowl champs against the Super Bowl runners-up. It was an early 13-3 advantage for the ‘05 group, but an interception by Earl Thomas led to a short touchdown for Robert Turbin. A well-executed two-minute drill turned that ten-point hole into a tied score at halftime.
It was a Big Play Babs INT in the 3rd quarter that resulted in a Josh Brown field goal to make it 16-13 for the ‘05 team, but it’d be the last time they would enjoy a lead. Doug Baldwin put the ‘13 team up for good with a 21-yard touchdown, then after a Brandon Browner interception, Wilson threw a TD to Percy Harvin just before the quarter expired.
Not to be denied, Mike Holmgren’s team embarked on an eight-minute drive that culminated in a Joe Jurevicius touchdown. After the 2013 Seahawks were forced to punt, Hasselbeck had a game-winning drive opportunity with 2:06 to go. On 3rd and 5, Hasselbeck was sacked by Michael Bennett, and a 4th and 12 throw to Jurevicius was overthrown.
With two timeouts in pocket, the 2005 Seahawks pushed their 2013 counterparts into a game-deciding 3rd and 12. Beast Mode gashed them for the dagger 18-yard burst to clinch the win. It was tied for his second-longest run all day.
While the 2013 Seahawks prevailed in terms of overall wins (7-5), the 2005 Seahawks had a +10 point differential (240-230). Seven of the twelve games were decided by no more than one possession, and only four times did either team exceed 30 points.
Hopefully you enjoyed this special “What-if?” series between two of the greatest squads in franchise history.