Seahawks: A 12th Man looks back at 2012 thrill ride
Mark Tye Turner is the author of "Notes From a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks".
The offseason has sadly come to the 12th Man. The greatest thrill ride known to Seattle fans has reached the station. And I want to go on it again. Unfortunately, at this theme park known as the NFL, the ride doesn’t start again for nine long months.
But what a season we, the 12th Man, had. The Seahawks were putting themselves in the record books next to teams that played during the Truman administration. With a rookie quarterback who was the classic undersized underdog. And they were involved in a play that had them in the crosshairs of the media and pop culture zeitgeist - next to Honey Boo Boo of course.
In my book "Notes From a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks", I have chapters devoted to all the great wins in team history. Well, the 2012 season had plenty of historic wins.
Russell Wilson’s Jet City debut was also his first Seahawks win as Seattle stomped quote, unquote America’s Team. I was fortunate enough to watch the Dallas game at an event with our old quarterback Dave Krieg. It was very surreal to high-five Krieg after the Seahawks scored a touchdown.
There was also Tom Brady’s introduction to the 12th Man. Safe to say Mr. Bundchen is glad he won’t be around in eight years when the Pats play in Seattle again. As the clock expired, the lead to the story did not involve Brady.
It was all about the Hawks’ amazing comeback. Two touchdowns in the last 7:30. The 46-yard bomb from Wilson to Sidney Rice will rank as one of the most memorable touchdowns in team history.
While on the subject of comebacks, what Russell Wilson did in Chicago was nothing short of epic. Our Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks (Zorn, Krieg, and Hasselbeck) have driven the Seahawks to great come-from-behind victories. Yet Wilson did something no other Seahawks QB has ever done: led the team essentially to two massive game-winning touchdown drives in the same game - on the road, no less.
Before December, the Seahawks had scored 50 or more points just twice in its history (1977 and 1984). This season, on consecutive weeks, they laid 58 on the Cardinals in Seattle and 50 on the Bills in Toronto. Not only were the Hawks the first team to score 50-plus back-to-back since 1950, but I can safely say the Seahawks have the highest NFL scoring average in Canada.
I was among the 68,161 that jammed into CenturyLink for the Sunday Night game against the Niners. The 12th Man wanted to give the national TV audience a demonstration of the devastating din it can dish. San Francisco wasn’t thrilled with the results. Nor were they happy when Kam Chancellor channeled Kenny Easley with a nasty but legal hit on Vernon Davis. The 42 points the Seahawks scored that night were part of the highest-scoring three-game span in the NFL since before the U.S. entered WWII. It was more points than the 1992 Seahawks scored the entire season.
This year also included the so-called “Fail Mary.” The media and the fans had been expecting replacement officials to make that one ultra-controversial call. I had a feeling the Seahawks would somehow be involved in it. Sure enough, it happened on "Monday Night Football" against the Packers. “Fail Mary” exploded across the media universe. America was a mere six weeks away from the presidential election and all anyone was talking about was what happened at the Clink. Wolf Blitzer veered away from the latest international crisis to discuss it. Letterman made it a Top 10 list. Even President Obama weighed in.
Regardless of how you feel about the call, you have to believe there was some karmic payback for the Testaverde phantom touchdown of 1998 that cost Seattle a win against the Jets. That botched call led to the reinstatement of instant replay. The Tate touchdown led to the reinstatement of the real officials.
However, the “Fail Mary” was rendered moot in the playoffs. The Seahawks would have been the fifth seed regardless of the outcome versus Green Bay. As for the Packers, the Niners beat them so soundly in the divisional round the result would not been different had the game been played at Lambeau Field.
It was a year when Richard Sherman entertained fans and enraged opponents, both in his play and his tweets. It was a year when Jon Ryan became the first NFL punter to average 60 yards in a game in 66 years. And it was a year when the sprinklers in Miami took it upon themselves to water the field during the Hawks-Dolphins game.
Marshawn Lynch’s 1,590 rushing yards were the third most in team history. Beast Mode was constantly consuming Skittles while making opposing defensive coordinators devour Prozac (which, by the way, doesn’t taste as good).
Is it a coincidence the Hawks won their three Eastern Time Zone games that started around 1 p.m. Pacific Time? I think not. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was looking to move more games involving West Coast teams in the East to the later kickoff times. Good thinking, since it’s both unfair for players to play games at 10 a.m. West Coast time and for fans who are either at church or barely awake at that hour Sundays.
We must give Gus Bradley’s defensive unit a huge shout-out. The Seahawks were top five in overall defense. The Hawks also allowed only 245 points, the fewest ever by a Seattle team and led the league in scoring defense for the first time in Hawks history. The most points they allowed was 28 and only gave up 20 or more on four other occasions. And congrats to Bradley. He is the first Seahawk defensive coordinator to leave to become the head coach of another NFL team.
Remember a few years back when the Hawks were getting blown out on a regular basis, especially on the road? The most the 2012 squad ever trailed was 13 during the regular seasonm, and that was against the Pats.
In the playoffs, Washington led by 14, but the Hawks scored 24 unanswered points as the team won a road playoff game for the first time since Curt Warner was a rookie. Then, in Atlanta, the team overcame a 20-point deficit. And that’s where we’ll end that story.
And here are two more nuggets about this season to chew on:
- The Hawks held a lead in the fourth quarter in 16 out of their 18 games.
- They never lost a game by more than a touchdown.
That, my fellow 12th Man, has never happened in team history.
How do we, as Seahawks fans, survive an offseason loaded with giant expectations? For one thing, don’t listen to draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.. Last year he gave the Seahawk front office a C-minus for a draft that included not only Russell Wilson but Bruce Irvin, Robert Turbin, J.R. Sweezy and Bobby Wagner, who should be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Do go back and watch some of this season’s best Hawk games to get your 12th Man fix. That is if you are freak like me and still have them on your DVR. ( BTW, wives love it when their “Real Housewives with Freakishly Unreal Looks” reality shows get deleted quickly because you have the Hawks-Jets game permanently saved.) What do you bet this off season Russell Wilson is rewatching film from every Hawks game and watching video of every 2013 opponent? Certainly he’s not watching Mel Kiper.
And finally, do buy Pete Carroll, John Schneider, or any of the other coaches or players a beer (or another beverage of their choosing) if you see them out. After providing us with one of the most memorable seasons in team history. They deserve it. And if they don’t want a drink, send it my way. Football withdrawal makes me thirsty.