Happy playoff Saturday!
One potential Seattle opponent next Saturday will be determined this afternoon as Arizona and Carolina face off in Charlotte. Seattle went 3-0 against those two teams this season, allowing no touchdowns and just six field goals in 12 quarters.
Games against both, you could argue, marked real turning points in the season.
Seattle was 3-3 when it went to Carolina, having lost two in a row amid all that was swirling around them concerning the Percy Harvin trade (that was the week of the is-Russell-Wilson-black-enough story, etc.). When Seattle was down late, fingers were hovering over the send buttons on stories about the death of the Seahawks.
Instead, Wilson hit Luke Willson with a 23-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds to go, and then Bruce Irvin sacked Cam Newton twice, and the Seahawks had not only breathed a huge sigh of relief but go on to win nine of the last 10 games.
The last crisis point in the season for Seattle occurred before the first Arizona game, after the loss to Kansas City dropped the Seahawks to 24-20.
Arizona came to town 9-1, Seattle was 6-4. And while the Seahawks were favored by seven, there was trepidation in the air — had the Cardinals won that game, logically the division race was over.
Instead, the Seahawks played stellar defense throughout and pulled away late to start one of the greatest stretches of defense in NFL history, and start a run that saw them overtake the Cardinals for not only the NFC West but for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Unless Detroit wins at Dallas tomorrow, then whoever wins today is how the Seahawks will face a week from today. If you’re like me, you’re going to get huddled on the couch and watch it all.
And what do I think will happen? I’m going with the home team, as the Panthers have gotten some solid play out of some young guys in the secondary to go on a late-season roll, while the Cardinals have stumbled under an avalanche of injuries and will again have to go with Ryan Lindley today. Carolina will join Seattle as a 7-win regular season team to win a wildcard game, 17-12.
Until then, a few links. …
- For our main Seahawks story for today’s paper, I looked at how some young players from the last two draft classes have begun to emerge in recent weeks, and then reviewed the draft classes as a whole.
- Here’s a roundup of NFL power rankings.
- Seahawks.com with some pre-game sound of coach Pete Carroll before last week’s game.
- ESPN with some of Doug Baldwin’s thoughts on how the Seahawks turned things around at mid-season.
- This video shows Seahawks fans being heard cheering from two miles away.
- The Jets, who were in Seattle yesterday to interview Seattle assistants Tom Cable and Dan Quinn are today interviewing former Buffalo coach Doug Marrone, who could be the front-runner for the job.
- The Chicago Bears are also talking to Quinn, and this story examines some of the issues involved in trying to hire assistants from teams in the playoffs.
- Jack Del Rio interviewing with the Raiders, and some consider him the front-runner for that job.
- Some thought this could be Larry Fitzgerald’s last game today for Arizona if the Cardinals lose.
- NFL.com with some good stuff on how the Panthers turned their season around.
- The Arizona Republic with a good breakdown of the Arizona-Carolina game.
- Lots of interesting numbers on the game here from ESPN.
- And worth remembering — six of the last nine Super Bowl champs have played on this weekend.
Finally, an interesting stat involving the Arizona Cardinals to which the Seahawks contributed greatly:
Cardinals only scored 73 points over the final 6 games (12.2 PPG), the fewest by a playoff team since Giants in 1935. pic.twitter.com/YfLMxtbX1d
— History of the NFL (@TheNFLHistory) January 3, 2015