Top two seeds make Super Bowls. The last team to make the Super Bowl without earning a first or second seeding was the Baltimore Ravens in 2012. Pushing out to an excellent record is great, but holy hell do we know, finishing the regular season strong and earning a bye is much more important. Losing to San Francisco was crushing. The possibility of falling from the first seed to the fifth seed loomed.
Winning the first overall seed would not prove easy. Two division rivals stood in Seattle’s way in an unbelievably stacked NFC West. First, Seattle had to face a scrappy Giants team on the road. And by scrappy I mean crappy.
Week 15: In which Seattle measures the drapes
3RD & 10 AT NYG 15(11:02)
(11:02) (Shotgun) E.Manning sacked at NYG 7 for -8 yards (B.Wagner).
The 2013 Seahawks were incredibly deep with quality pass rushers. This sack gets credited to Bobby Wagner but it really should be credited to white hot terror.
Dan Quinn works into a relatively common six-man blitz a nifty wrinkle. Seconds before the snap, Seattle is aligned thus.
Clinton McDonald moves into the left ‘A’ gap right as the ball is being snapped.
This opens a gaping pass rush lane for Wagner.
Giants back Andre Brown is left to cross in front of Eli and attempt a block. It doesn’t work.
Brandon Myers pops out on a shallow, out-cutting route, but in the moment in which Eli must calculate
[front side pressure by Wagner
A quite nearly free Bruce Irvin, who ran a 4.5 forty
Cliff Avril totally free closing from his throwing side
and how he would explain to Mrs Myers the death of her son after Kam Chancellor hit him with a 20-yard running start]
he suffers from a spell of Myotonia congenita.
Wagner, a kind man, rushes to shield the incapacitated Manning from a shower of blows.
New York punted, that punt badly out-kicked the coverage, and Golden Tate meandered in his deceptively quick way to a good return.
Seattle’s O achieved little, losing EPA for the drive, but the 49-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka put Seattle up for good.
Week 16: In which Doug Baldwin is made of fullerenes
It took coaching by a court-ordered psychologist for me to remember this, but REMEMBER THIS!?
1ST & 10 AT SEA 26(02:06)
(2:06) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep left intended for D.Baldwin INTERCEPTED by K.Dansby at SEA 47. K.Dansby to SEA 47 for no gain (D.Baldwin). The Replay Assistant challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was Upheld.
Seattle lost in part because referee Scott Green could not suss out that a ball does not bounce like this off someone’s arm.
Tricky, that one.
You may notice the rubber pellets spraying out from just under the rebounding ball. You may also notice aaaahh! aaahhH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Seattle never even got the ball back.
Week 17: In which Malcolm Smith previews the Super Bowl
Seattle had to win. If the Hawks lost, they could fall to the fifth seed. Playing at the same time, San Francisco sprinted out to a 17-0 lead of Arizona in the first quarter. Seattle really, really had to win, you see. A 49ers win, and they would win with some difficulty, and a Seahawks loss, would doom Seattle to the fifth seed. The fifth seed
Luckily, Jeff Fisher had already achieved his greater goal for the season. By beating Tampa Bay in Week 16, he had assured himself a finish of either 7-9 or 8-8 or even the kinda kinky 7-8-1. In 18 full seasons of head coaching, he had finished 7-9, 8-8 or 7-8-1 in eight. No result in Week 17 would change 2013 from becoming his ninth. Fisher could relax and enjoy the simple pleasure of watching Kellen Clemens sling pigskin.
2ND & 14 AT SL 33(10:01)
(10:01) K.Clemens pass short left intended for L.Kendricks INTERCEPTED by M.Smith [B.Mebane] at SL 37. M.Smith for 37 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Clemens play fakes opposite the direction the running back is running.
Putters around against Seattle’s rush specialists attempting pass rush.
And, finally, as only the great ones do, sidearms a rocket ball to his outlet receiver.
The game was never again close. Some nearly four quarters later the Seahawks won ensuring themselves the first overall seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.
The crowd erupted into a wild roar of fretfulness.
Tomorrow: Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round