What happened next was incredible: the Seattle Seahawks won 11 games in a row. They won the games that were traditional stumbling blocks for them. They won on the road, on the east coast, early starts and during prime time. And they won at home, going undefeated at Qwest Field while compiling a 10-0 record, far and away the best in franchise history. The season would end with the Seahawks first ever appearance in the Super Bowl, and leave the Seahawks, the city of Seattle and Seahawks fans everywhere hungry for more.
As we prepare for Training Camp, preseason football and, of course, our collective “Unfinished Business”, I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite moments from the Seahawks momentous 2005 campaign:
10. The Record Breaker – Okay, unless you’re from St. Louis, beating the 49ers last season was no great task, but the December 11th shellacking the Seahawks put on San Francisco was a record breaker all around. Shaun Alexander rushed for over 100 yards in his ninth straight divisional game – an NFL record. The Seahawks won their ninth straight game – a franchise record. Seattle swept the division for the first time in franchise history. The Seattle defense held the 49ers to a meager 113 yards of total offence, the best showing in team history. The 41-3 victory brought the total score for the last two games to 83-3, the largest margin of victory in back to back games in team history (and one of the best in NFL history). It also marked the first time in franchise history the Seahawks posted three games with over 40 points in one season. Sure, there were many more thrilling moments in the 2005 season, but this game was just pure satisfaction all around.
9. Are You Sure He’s Not Martz?? – Mike Martz was home recovering from a heart virus and the NFL’s version of Veruca Salt, Joe Vitt was manning the sidelines for the Rams. St. Louis had won 2 straight games and was looking to make a move in the NFC West. The Rams had a 3-0 lead and were lined up for another FG when it appeared that all the gum-chewing loosened up Vitt’s brain. Instead of taking points on the road, Vitt elected to have his kicker attempt a pass on a fake which ended predictably. Marcus Trufant prevented the throw and Seahawks offense blew the game open from there. The Seahawks went on to win 31-16 and sweep the season series from the Rams.
8. Eleven False Starts – The 12th Man made their presence felt in a big way on the national scene by forcing the Giants into a record 11 false start penalties – penalties that prevented the Giants from putting together any sort of offensive drives in a game they could have won. Left Guard Dave Diehl, flagged 3 times for false starts, commented “This is the loudest it’s been (on the road).” Not just one of the best moments of 2005, but a defining moment for the franchise that signaled Seattle was back as a football town.
7. Monday Night Destruction (aka The Lofa Game) – There are a few games before every season that fans look at and pencil in as a possible loss. This was one of those games. Seattle was traveling to the East Coast where they had traditionally struggled. In fact, Seattle’s only two losses so far this season occurred in Jacksonville and Washington D.C. The Eagles were the reigning NFC Champions and the game was featured nationally on Monday Night Football. Philly limped into the game one game under .500, suffering from the T.O. nightmare and with a long list of injured starters. Still, they were playing at home and in the snow. No one expected the complete and utter destruction of the Eagles by the “soft” Seahawks. The game began with a 16-play, 8 minute plus touchdown drive by the Seahawks followed by an Andre Dyson interception return for a score. Before halftime Lofa Tatupu would run back another interception for a score and made like Ken Norton, Jr. on the goalpost, one of the iconic clips of the Seahawks first Super Bowl season. Later in the half, Tatupu would tip another pass into the arms of Michael Boulware who would return the ball to the Eagles two setting up Shaun Alexander’s second touchdown run of the half. By the time 30 minutes had elapsed, the Seahawks were up 35-0. To add insult to injury Dyson would run back a Ryan Moats fumble on the first play from scrimmage in the 2nd half for another defensive score. It was the worst loss for the Eagles at home since 1962.
6. Jeremy Shockey’s “Premature Celebration” -- There are few moments in life as satisfying as watching a loudmouth showoff get shut up. Somehow it’s even more satisfying when the loudmouth is a professional athlete and it happens live in front of a nationwide audience. The Giants and Seahawks battled to a tie, the game was in the final seconds and kicker Jay Feeley lined up for a 40 yard FG to win the game. On the sidelines, TE Jeremy Shockey was mugging for the camera as the ball was snapped. In the middle of his celebration, he realized that Feely has pushed the kick wide right. The look of absolute astonishment on his face, the tough guy “WTF?” with his hands up, followed by him stalking away from the camera made this one for the ages. The only thing keeping it from the realm of the Don Beebe/Leon Lett play in the Super Bowl was that it occurred on the sidelines. Actually, the fact that it happened on the sidelines makes it even more delicious. He was so cocky that he wasn’t even WATCHING THE GAME.
5. The Recovery – Both the Seahawks and Rams stood at 2-2 heading into a Week 5 match up in St. Louis. The Rams had won 4 straight against the Seattle, including a last-minute victory in the Playoffs last year. If the Seahawks were serious about making a run in 2005, they’d have to first find a way to defeat their division rivals and they would have to do it without the services of Darrel Jackson and Bobby Engram. After spotting the Rams a 7 point lead on the opening kickoff, the Seahawks bounced back with 14 points. The Rams would answer with a score of their own and it became clear that this would be another wild and wooly NFC West shootout. The Seahawks had a 6 point lead late in the fourth quarter and went three and out allowing a mere 51 seconds to elapse. Seattle punted the ball to Sean McDonald with just over 3 minutes remaining, waaaay too much time for a Mike Martz offense. Jordan Babineaux knocked the ball from McDonald’s hands during the punt return, however, and long-snapper Jean Philipe Darche, displaying tremendous hustle and field awareness, fell on the ball and Seahawks ran out the clock for the win.
4. What Was Drew Thinking??? – The Seahawks trailed the Cowboys 10-3 with 2:01 left in the game and started with the ball on their own 19. Six plays and less than a minute and a half later Seattle had tied the game. Dallas took over with good field position thanks to a great kick return by T. Thompson. Drew Bledsoe suddenly developed a serious case of tunnel vision. His third consecutive pass to Terry Glenn was picked off by Jordan Babineaux and returned 25 yards, setting up Josh Brown for a 50 yard game winning FG as time expired. The win put Seattle two games up in the division heading into the bye week and put the rest of the league on notice that these were not the Same Old Seahawks.
3. Seneca’s Over the Shoulder Grab – The NFC Championship game had plenty of great moments, but the play that set the tone of the game came on the Seahawks second drive. Backup QB Seneca Wallace lined up as a wideout and made a spectacular over the shoulder catch to bring the ball inside the redzone for the first time in the game. One play later, Hasselbeck found Jerramy Stevens in the back of the end zone and the Seahawks would never look back.
2. Mack’s Rumble Ends “The Drought” – The Seahawks overcome losing the NFL MVP early in the game to snap a 21-year playoff drought. This was exactly the kind of game the Seahawks teams of yesteryear would have lost. When Alexander went down, it seemed the excuse was already there. But the Seattle defense bottled up the Redskins, not allowing them to cross their own 22 until the 2nd quarter. Then, the NFL’s most potent offense came alive, scoring 17 unanswered points. Just as things looked to really get rolling, the pendulum suddenly seemed to swing Washington’s way: A ball bounced off of Andre Dyson’s helmet and into Santana Moss’ hands for a touchdown and the second Seattle special teams fumble of the game opened the door for a Washington comeback. With just over five minutes left in the game, and Seattle clinging to a 7 point lead, the Hawks faced third and six from midfield. Mack Strong got the rock and rumbled right for 32 yards – the longest run of his 13 year career and getting the Seahawks into FG range. Three plays later, Josh Brown iced the game with a 31 yard boot that ended the NFL’s longest Playoff Drought.
1. Defense Wins the Championship – With all of the focus during the season falling on the offense, Seattle’s defense was overlooked by the Panthers and it cost them a trip to Detroit. The Seahawks D was stifling, holding Steve Smith (who had torched the supposedly great Bears defense one week earlier for 218 yards) to a paltry 33 yards and forced him to fumble away the last possession of the game. The Seattle defense, and specifically Lofa Tatupu, knocked out Nick Goings, the Panthers 3rd string RB while surrendering a mere 36 yards on the ground. The Seahawks kept the Carolina offense out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. The ball-hawking defense picked off Jake Delhomme three times while Rocky Bernard sacked the Panther QB twice. In the end, the Seattle defense stood tall on Qwest Field and helped propel the team to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Dylan Johnson writes for Seahawks.NET. He's also well-known as "NJSeahawksFan" on our Fan Forums. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.