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Seahawks Vs. Packers: An Improbable Win

Monday, January 19, 2015

 

If you didn’t watch the NFC Championship Game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, you missed a tremendous game!  It was nothing short of a miracle for the Seahawks and their faithful “12th Man” fans to come up with a win and celebrate a third trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history – and not to mention, their second consecutive appearance.(The last NFL team to win back-to-back championships were none other than the Seahawks’ opponent for Super Bowl XLIX: The New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.)

If you are one of the unlucky few to have missed the game and you’re in need of some water cooler talking points at the office, let’s look at some stats to appreciate the Seahawks’ improbable win against the Packers on Sunday, January 18, 2015. 

1.) Goose Egg in the First Half

Going into halftime, the Seahawks were trailing the Packers, 0-16.  Those who follow the Seahawks know they are a second half team – making adjustments at the half and winning down the stretch.  That’s part their style and why they’re so fun to watch.   

In the Russell Wilson Era (2012-Present), Wilson has led the Seahawks to six post-season games, not including Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, with a record of 5-1.  In three out of those six games, the Seahawks trailed their opponent going into halftime, but only once did the Seahawks ever enter into the half with no points at all. 

That was in 2012 against the Atlanta Falcons: the Seahawks were down 0-20 going into the half.  Against the odds, they put together a comeback and scored 28 points, only to eventually loose in the last 31 seconds, thanks to an Atlanta field goal.  The final score was 28-30 and the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game that year.  So history showed that a big goose egg did not bode well for the Seahawks, especially in this case against the Packers, with the offense struggling and down by three possessions.

2.) Wilson-Kearse Disconnect and Interceptions

Wilson threw four interceptions on the day – the last at the 5:13 mark in the fourth quarter, with the Seahawks down 7-19.  All four passes were intended for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.  

What a stark contrast to Wilson’s career numbers: before Sunday’s game against the Packers, Wilson only threw one interception in the post-season.  That pick was in the game against the Atlanta Falcons in 2012, but that was a Hail Mary pass in the last seconds of the game.  

Also unusual about this game was the Wilson-Kearse disconnect.  As a Seattle native, playing for Lakewood High School and the University of Washington, Kearse is a fan favorite, as well as a favorite target for Wilson.  In last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers, Kearse was Wilson’s top receiver, with three receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown (TD).  This made it even more heartbreaking with each interception coming at crucial moments – three times at the beginning of drives, and once in the end zone, right before halftime.

But those four interceptions didn’t get to either Wilson or Kearse going into overtime.  With the score tied at 22 and after the Seahawks won the coin toss, under four minutes and six plays later, the last play was a 35-yard TD pass from Wilson to Kearse to win the game!  All was redeemed!

3.) That Onside Kick

Onside kicks are rarely successful.  In the regular 2014 NFL season, there were 56 attempted onside kicks with only nine successful recoveries – a 16 percent success rate.  During the regular season, the Seahawks never attempted an onside kick and haven’t done so since 2012, when kicker Steven Hauschka was 0-2.

Nevertheless, in the fourth quarter, after scoring their second TD with only 2:09 to go and down 14-19, the Seahawks were hoping that small percentage would be in their favor.  And by some serendipitous combination of skill and chance, Hauschka’s 15-yard kick was recovered at the 50-yard line by Seahawk Chris Matthews after bypassing Packers tight end Brandon Bostick.

Against the odds – that seems to be an appropriate theme for this Seahawks squad.  Throughout the 2014 season, they were second-guessed and counted out, like when they started the season with a disappointing record of 3-3; when they barely beat the winless Oakland Raiders; or when they lost their fourth game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, dropping them behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West standings, and tied with the San Francisco 49ers.  The Seahawks were constantly reminded how difficult it was to repeat not only a Super Bowl Championship, but even just a playoff appearance.  And yet despite the numbers, the commentators, the naysayers, the critics, and the cynics, the Seattle Seahawks pulled off win after win, and here they are, now headed to Arizona for another Super Bowl. Go Hawks!

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

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