This will be a weekly article series throughout the season looking back on what happened for the Seattle Seahawks 40, 30, 20, and 10 years ago this week.
40 Years Ago
Finished with a record of 11-8, losing in the AFC Championship game.
30 Years Ago
Finished with a record of 6-10, missed playoffs.
20 Years Ago
Finished with a record of 10-7, losing in the NFC Wild Card round.
10 Years Ago
Sunday, January 19, 2014
CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, the site of the NFC Championship game for the 2013 season. This was an NFC West showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, with each team holding serve at home during the regular season. You’ve got Pete Carroll vs Jim Harbaugh, Russell Wilson vs Colin Kaepernick, and…Richard Sherman vs Michael Crabtree? We’ll get to that one later on.
The game started off in nearly the worst possible way. Seattle got the ball first and their opening drive lasted all of one play as Russell Wilson fumbled on a sack from future preseason Seahawks Legend Aldon Smith. who recovered the fumble at the Seattle 15. Credit to the Seahawks defense, as they held the 49ers to a 25-yard FG from Phil Dawson to limit the damage to a 3 point deficit. Three punts later and it was already the 2nd Quarter with SF starting a drive on their own 14. After the drive was extended on a 3rd down defensive holding penalty by Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick got loose for consecutive scampers of 12 and 58 yards to set the 49ers up inside the red zone. Frank Gore got them to the doorstep, but Anthony “Boobie” Dixon was the one who plunged in from 1 yard out – after the play was called no gain and overturned on review – to put SF up 10-0.
Seattle finally got things going on offense on the ensuing drive, helped along by a 51-yard completion from Wilson to Doug Baldwin to the SF 11. Sadly, the drive went backwards from there and the Seahawks settled for a 32-yard Stephen Hauschka FG to pull within one score at 10-3. Seattle forced a punt on the next drive and the Seahawks had the ball near FG range at the end of the 2nd Quarter but turned the ball over on downs. SF kneeled the ball to take the game to halftime with the 49ers leading 10-3.
The Seahawks defense forced a punt on the first drive of the 2nd half giving their offense the ball near midfield and Seattle started feeding the Beast(mode). After Marshawn Lynch gained 16 yards on the first two carries of the drive, Wilson found Baldwin for 4 yards to set up 3rd and 1. Lynch exploded for a 40-yard TD run to tie the game at 10-10. All of that momentum was lost on the next drive when SF drove down the field and capped it off with a 26-yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin to regain the lead at 17-10. Doug Baldwin ripped off a nice 69-yard kickoff return to set the Seahawks up in prime position. They advanced into the red zone but sputtered again and ended up with a 40-yard FG from Hauschka to claw closer at 17-13.
After another punt, Seattle took over on offense again at their own 38. The Seahawks were moving the ball well until Wilson took a 16-yard intentional grounding penalty right at the end of the 3rd Quarter. He got 15 of those yards back on 3rd and 22 with a pass to Zach Miller which would prove to be crucial as Seattle chose to go for it on 4th and 7 at the SF 35. Wilson barked out the hard count and Aldon Smith jumped, giving Seattle a free play. Russ went for it all and threw a beautiful moon ball to the end zone where it was cradled expertly by Jermaine Kearse for a go-ahead 35 yard TD to give the Seahawks their first lead of the game at 20-17. On the next drive, the potent combo of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett struck again with Avril strip-sacking Kaepernick and Bennett recovering the ball and returning it 17 yards to the SF 6.
Full disclosure – with all of the crazy happenings that will come later in the game, I totally forgot about these intermittent drives where Seattle could have possibly iced the game.
With this field position, Seattle scores 9/10 times, right? Well…
Lynch got 1 yard on the first play. Then, Alvin Bailey false started. Following this was an incomplete pass. On 3rd and goal from the 10, Wilson found his buddy Jermaine Kearse who fumbled near the goal line where it was recovered by Lynch at the 1. Navarro Bowman’s knee was collateral damage in the scrum, and he would miss the entire 2014 season. Seattle went for it and the exchange between Wilson and Lynch was fumbled and slapped around until it was recovered back at the 15 yard line. If only they had known about the “tush push”!
Never fear, as two plays later Kam Chancellor picked off Kaepernick at the SF 40 about halfway through the 4th Quarter. As usual, Seattle was moving the ball until they shot themselves in the foot when Wilson fumbled the snap on a screen play and threw it away – but not before Kearse was called for offensive pass interference. At least the Seahawks were able to get a 47-yard Hauschka FG out of that drive to extend the lead to 23-17 with 3:43 remaining. It looked as if the Seahawks defense would tap the 49ers out, but they converted on 4th and 2 to keep the drive alive. They then strung together positive plays and before you knew it, SF had a 1st and 10 at the Seattle 18 with 0:55 seconds left trailing by a mere 6 points. This was when perhaps the most iconic play in a season packed with them unfolded.
Kaepernick took the snap and looked to his right the whole way. He uncorked the ball to the side of the end zone, where Michael Crabtree was matched up with Richard Sherman. Sherm needed all of his massive wing span to get a hand on the ball, where it was corralled by Malcolm Smith for the game-sealing interception. The stadium absolutely exploded and Sherman got a taunting penalty for running up to Crabtree and sticking his hand out for a handshake. Who gives a crap about an extra 10 yards when you ice the game like that? Three glorious kneel downs later and the Seahawks were headed to their 2nd Super Bowl in team history, facing the Mile High-flying Denver Broncos who had already punched their ticket earlier in the day.
Russell Wilson was 16/25 for 215 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT. Marshawn Lynch had 22 carries for 109 yards and 1 TD. Doug Baldwin had 6 catches for 106 yards. Jermaine Kearse had 2 catches for 44 yards and 1 massive TD.
Michael Bennett had 1.0 sack, 1 FF, and 1 FR. Cliff Avril nearly matched that with 1.0 sack and 1 FF. Kam Chancellor and Malcolm Smith had 1 INT each. Bobby Wagner also deserved a shout out with 15 tackles.
Here are the full playoff results for the week:
Remember that old saying “defense wins championships”? That was definitely true for the Seahawks against the 49ers, but will it carry over to the Super Bowl? Even if you already know, it will be fun to relive it!