‘Jekyll and Hyde’ version of Seahawks return postseason

Seahawks end their season with a disappointing loss to Carolina

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

I can’t even tell you how much fun it would’ve been to be sitting at my desk on a Sunday night, writing about the second-biggest comeback in NFL postseason history, pulled off by the Seattle Seahawks. But there was just too much Mr. Hyde and not enough Dr. Jekyll.

Instead I sit slumped back in my chair, trying my best to use a metaphorical umbrella to prevent myself from being drenched in the torrential downpour of “what ifs.” I couldn’t.

What if Russell Wilson hadn’t thrown an uncharacteristic pick six on the second offensive snap of the game?

What if Alvin Bailey hadn’t been called for a hold on a Wilson rush that would’ve given the Seahawks a first down in the red zone late in the second half? Would it have led to a touchdown, rather than a failed fourth down conversion attempt?

What if Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham hadn’t suffered season-ending injuries in the regular season? Would it have made enough of a difference? It may not have, but it won’t keep me from thinking, “What if.”

What if they had just three more minutes in the fourth quarter? Three more minutes for Wilson and the offense to lead a game-tying touchdown drive. Three more minutes to make up for two wasted quarters.

As Pete Carroll put it bluntly in his postgame press conference, the game was a microcosm of the Seahawks’ season: they started the game as slow as a slug and finished in a frenzy. In the regular season the Seahawks were 2-4 in their first six games, but finished 8-2 in their final 10 games.

The playoffs are a whole other breed for the Seahawks, though, as they find themselves trailing early – and late – more often than not. But unlike this game, the Seahawks usually find a way to crawl themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into.
In the 2010 playoffs, the first playoff game under Carroll, the Seahawks trailed the heavily-favored New Orleans Saints, 17-7, in the second quarter. The Seahawks would go on to outscore the Saints, 34-19, the rest of the game, winning, 41-36, and stunning the rest of the NFL.

The next week in the Divisional Round against the Chicago Bears, the Seahawks would trail, 28-0, midway through the third quarter, before scoring 24 points in the last 17 minutes of the game. The Seahawks would lose, 35-24, but a theme was developing in Carroll’s first year manning the Seahawks.

Seattle would return to the playoffs in the 2012 season, traveling to the nation’s capital to take on Washington. Again, the Seahawks would fall behind early, down, 14-0, after one quarter. But like they had in 2011, the Seahawks would awake from their slumber, scoring 24 unanswered points to comfortably close out the game.

But like the 2010 season, the Seahawks couldn’t overcome a second-straight deficit of at least 20 points, falling behind, 20-0, at halftime against the Atlanta Falcons. The Seahawks would rally again, scoring 28 of the first 35 points in the second half, grabbing a miraculous, 28-27, lead with just 31 seconds left in the game. Alas, the Falcons would move the ball 41 yards on just two plays and kick a 49-yard field goal to send the Seahawks home feeling miserable.

The Seahawks would redeem themselves in 2013, defeating the Denver Broncos, 43-8, in the 2014 Super Bowl, leading for all but 12 seconds of the game. But Seattle wouldn’t have made it to the Super Bowl without a comeback in the NFC Championship game, where they trailed the San Francisco 49ers, 10-0, in the second quarter.

The Seahawks would score 23 of the game’s next 30 points, and clinched a Super Bowl berth when Richard Sherman tipped Colin Kaepernick’s pass into the waiting hands of Malcolm Smith, closing out yet another playoff comeback.

The 2014 playoffs would feature yet another furious Seattle comeback, again in the NFC Championship game. Through the game’s first 40 minutes, the Seahawks trailed, 16-0, with Wilson having thrown three interceptions on what had been the worst game of his professional career.

A fake field goal pass from Jon Ryan to Garry Gilliam for a touchdown would give the Seahawks their first points of the game, and the Seahawks would score 22 of the last 28 points in regulation to send the game to overtime, where Wilson would find Jermaine Kearse in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, redeeming both of their sloppy performances in regulation.
And in the 2015 playoffs, the Seahawks would show shades of their 2010 and 2012 postseason runs.

The Seahawks would overcome a 9-point, fourth quarter deficit against the Minnesota Vikings to win, 10-9, and fall behind 31 points at halftime to the Panthers, only to score 24 unanswered points in the second half and lose by just one possession, a game they probably would have won if they played five quarters instead of four. But they don’t, and there’s only the Seahawks to blame for a pitiful first half performance.

In all, the Seahawks have been outscored by 53 points in the first half in their 12 playoff games under Carroll, and have outscored teams by a massive 114 points in the second half of those games.

But on a Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, North Carolina, 24 couldn’t catch 31, and the Seahawks couldn’t quite capture the playoff magic of seasons past.