With a 20-13 win over the St. Louis Rams, the Seahawks have finished the season going 8-0 at home and Russell Wilson becomes the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to achieve that feat.
That wasn’t the only significant achievement the Seahawks achieved on Sunday.
Held to one field goal in the first half, Wilson and the Seahawks didn’t score a touchdown until Michael Robinson rumbled into the end zone on a 10-yard pass late in the third quarter. The score put Seattle on top 13-10 and also tied Wilson with Peyton Manning for 26 touchdown passes by a rookie.
The Rams were able to tie the game on a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Although the Seahawks couldn’t get any pressure on Sam Bradford all game, they did come up with defensive stops when they needed them most.
The field goal was the last score the Seahawks allowed in a record-setting performance for the 2012 season. The 245 points allowed by the defense sets a franchise record held by the 1991 Seahawks defense (261 points allowed). The 1991 team finished 7-9 and failed to make the playoffs.
Tied at 13, the Seahawks’ offense went back to work. Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a deep pass to give the Seahawks a first-and-goal opportunity, but the play was called back on a holding call charged to Breno Giacomini. A Wilson scramble on 3rd-and-19 came up 6-yards short and the Seahawks were forced to punt.
Three plays later it looked as though the Seahawks defense would add to their touchdown total. Clemons sacked Bradford and linebacker Malcolm Smith ran the ball in for a 28-yard score. But upon review, Bradford’s arm was moving forward and it was ruled an incomplete pass.
With just over five minutes remaining, the Seahawks started on their 10-yard line after getting called for a holding penalty on the punt. With all of the penalties and called back touchdowns, things seemed to be going in the wrong direction, but at the stadium there was still the feeling that the Seahawks would pull off the comeback.
Then Golden Tate had two big plays to help set up the Seahawks final score.
The first was a fumble recovery when Marshawn Lynch lost the ball on the second play of the drive. The second was a 44-yard catch and run to put him over 100 yards receiving. It was the first time all season a wide receiver topped that mark for Seattle.
The Seahawks continued their push toward the end zone on the ground and Lynch looked like he had put Seattle up by six after crossing the goal line on a 4-yard run. But after review, officials placed the ball just short of the goal line.
Another big play reversed by the officials. But everyone was seemingly holding their breath waiting to see if Wilson could break Manning’s rookie record.
On the next play, Wilson had opportunity, but opted to run it in instead. Steven Hauschka kicked the extra point and Seattle took a 20-13 lead.
The Seahawks got the lead, but there was still enough time left on the clock for the Rams to drive down the field.
On 4th-and-10 on the Seahawks’ 29-yard line, Bradford went for the end zone and Richard Sherman jumped in front of what would have been a game-tying touchdown. Sherman brought the ball out to the 7-yard line and Wilson downed the ball for the win.
After the interception, you could tell that Sherman was celebrating more than the win. Days after winning the appeal of his four-game suspension and getting snubbed from the Pro Bowl roster, Sherman’s catch was huge. His eighth interception tied him for second place, just one behind the leader Tim Jennings.
A couple remarkable statistics about Wilson tying Manning’s record was that he did it with almost 200 fewer pass attempts. Wilson had 393 versus Manning’s 575, and also threw 18 fewer interceptions than Manning (Wilson 10, Manning 28). When was the last time the Seahawks had a quarterback that provided this kind of excitement about the future?
The Seahawks now take on the Washington Redskins on the road next Sunday. It will be a matchup of two of the league’s top rookie quarterbacks.
Personally, I’m disappointed that the Seahawks won’t be playing the Dallas Cowboys. Had the Cowboys won, the game would have been held on the six-year anniversary of Tony Romo’s botched hold for the field goal that helped seal the 17-16 playoff win by the Seahawks.
Of course the reason why the Seahawks are even going to be playing this coming Sunday is because the Cardinals disappointed us all with their loss to the 49ers. After going up 6-0 early on, Arizona’s defense fell apart in the second half and San Francisco won 27-13. The Vikings were able to pull off a 37-34 win over the Packers to get into the playoffs.
It is interesting to learn that the Seahawks are the early favorite for the road game. Fortunately the game won’t kick off until 4 p.m. out east, because I still worry about those early game starts for Seattle. The only way they’ll have a game that early is if the Packers win on Saturday to send the Seahawks to Atlanta.
Of course, the easiest route to the Super Bowl for the Seahawks is set up if the Vikings can beat the Packers in Green Bay on Saturday. A win by the Seahawks would earn them another matchup with the 49ers in San Francisco. If the Vikings and Seahawks both win those games, which I think is possible, then the NFC Championship would be held in Seattle.
I know players say they don’t look ahead. But, as fans, we can look ahead all we want. It’s been a few years since we’ve had the opportunity to really believe that we have a chance to make it back to the Super Bowl, so I know I’m going to be taking advantage of it as much as I can.