No team had ever come back from a 20-point deficit on the road.
But with 31 seconds left in the game, the Seahawks had erased that deficit to take a 28-27 lead in front of a dome filled with shocked Falcons’ fans. But those precious seconds left Atlanta with plenty of time to get downfield and kick a 49-yard field goal for the win.
Even though the Seahawks only had the lead for 20 seconds, it felt as though it was a game they should’ve won – maybe even destined to win. But it just didn’t work out.
If you’re at all like me, you went to bed the night after the Seahawks game running the entire “what if” list in your head.
- Down only 3-0, Marshawn Lynch holds onto the football after the Bobby Wagner interception.
- Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell calls a running play on third down to Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch on third down on their first trip to the red zone.
- Wilson actually fakes a handoff or two to Lynch and runs it himself. The Falcons defense was clearly focusing on going after Lynch on every option play Seattle ran.
- Down 13-0, Pete Carroll opts for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down.
- Richard Sherman doesn’t fall down on Matt Ryan’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White.
- Wilson doesn’t get sacked inside the red zone with about 15 seconds left in the first half.
- The Seahawks actually get lined up in time to get off the snap before halftime (it kind of looked like it did according to the TV game clock, but some argued they could’ve been called for illegal formation).
- The defense stops the Falcons for a three-and-out on their only possession in the third quarter.
- The Seahawks don’t have to punt away one of their 4th quarter possessions.
- Successfully defend at least one of the two passes thrown during the Falcons last possession.
- Carroll doesn’t call timeout before the winning kick (If you’re wondering what he was Carroll was going crazy about on the sidelines, see Nick Eaton’s article in the Seattle Times).
- Games were only 59:30 long.
I could probably find more, but those were the most dominant thoughts that were all going through my head after the game.
I know I wasn’t the only one. There were a lot of people upset about the missed opportunities in the first half, saying that points there would have ensured the win.
After coming all the way back to lead 28-27, I had completely erased my thoughts on the missed opportunities from the first half. I was so caught up in the excitement of an incredible comeback.
I know they had the opportunity for points, but until the day after I couldn’t really explain why those missed opportunities didn’t bother me as much as some of the things late in the game. But I heard someone on the radio explain exactly why I felt the way I did.
Everything that happens in a game after a particular play—happens because of that play.
One way to explain it would be to say that if the Seahawks opt for a field goal to make the score 13-3, perhaps the Falcons don’t drive down the field immediately after. Then again, if it is a closer game, perhaps if the Falcons don’t end up in the position to be up 27-7 in the fourth quarter. As a result, maybe they don’t play quite as conservative to allow Seattle as many possessions as they had that late in the game.
Once you play the “what if” game with a play earlier in the game, it changes the rest of the game significantly.
Granted, it still doesn’t help to know that Seattle left points on the field inside the red zone. But thinking about it over and over doesn’t change the final score either. Trust me, I keep checking all the different websites and re-watching the highlights to be sure it didn’t happen the way I saw it the first time.
What I did see was a quarterback of the future Seahawks fans can be excited about.
Russell Wilson, with his 385 passing yards and two touchdowns, did just about everything in his power to put the Seahawks in position to win that game. He even broke a 75-year old record for passing yards by a rookie in a playoff game.
I love this team. I think this team is even better than the 2005 team that lost the Super Bowl (Leroy Hill even said he thought so during the recent episode of the Real Rob Report). What could have happened if this team would’ve won just one more game and had a first-round bye? I know . . . I’m going to be playing the “what if” game for weeks.
I just have to keep telling myself, “Even though it is disappointing, it is exciting to know that there are much better things we’ll see from this team in the years to come.”
Finally, I want to thank all of you who have emailed me over this past season to pass along words of encouragement, gratitude and well wishes. I’ve never had more fun following a Seahawks team than the one we had the opportunity to watch this year. Of course, this is the first time that they’ve had a winning record since I took over the blogging/recap writing duties from Traci when she deployed during Mike Holmgren’s final season with the team.
I think I can speak for Traci and others (Mike, Armando, Rick and those who have served on the color guard), when I say what we have the opportunity to do is incredibly rewarding. Being able to get service members on the field for reenlistments, working with season ticket holders who want to pass along tickets to you, and honoring our nation by putting outstanding Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman on the field as part of the Military Sea Hawkers Color Guard – and it’s all thanks to an amazing football team that knows what you do for our country is worth honoring.