A six-pack of wins

The Seahawks’ second season under coach Tom Flores featured a rare “triple” by Eugene Robinson, an 80-catch effort by Brian Blades, the second of four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing performances by Chris Warren, another Pro Bowl berth for Cortez Kennedy and a productive rookie outing by Rick Mirer.

Oh, and three times as many victories as the team posted in Flores’ first season. It was 1993, and the Seahawks finished 6-10. Not a quantum leap, perhaps, but definitely a giant step in a better direction after they won only two games in 1992.

“This time last year, I was frustrated and just drained,” Flores said at the time. “This year, I’m drained, but not frustrated.” The darkest-night/almost-sunny-day comparisons between Flores’ first season and his second didn’t stop at the record. The Seahawks scored twice as many points – 280, compared to a league-low 140 in ’92. They forced more turnovers – plus-6, compared to minus-9 in ’92. They ran the ball better – a conference-leading 125.9 yards per game, compared to 99.8 in ’92.

“We actually felt like we had a chance to win when we stepped on the field that season,” Robinson said recently. “I can’t say that about the ’92 season.”

Robinson was a big reason for the improved confidence – and record. In ’93, the Pro Bowl free safety became the only player in franchise history to be selected team MVP, chosen Man of the Year and voted the Steve Largent Award in the same season. It wasn’t all his over-the-top personality and seemingly constant smile.

Robinson led the team in tackles (111) and interceptions (nine, to share the NFL lead), not to mention passes defensed (15), forced fumbles (three) and intensity. Not surprisingly, Robinson’s even-better-than-’92 season earned him a second consecutive Pro Bowl berth, and he missed making first-team All-Pro by a single vote.

Despite his efforts, a Seahawks defense that had been the only unit in the NFL to rank among the Top 10 from 1990-92 slid to 23rd as it allowed the second-most passing yards in club’s first 18 seasons, but also the second-fewest TD passes (16).

That made about as much sense as anything else that happened in ’93. The Seahawks started 0-2, with a six-point loss to the Chargers in San Diego and a four-pointer to the Los Angeles Raiders at the Kingdome. Then came a three-game winning streak, capped by a 31-14 win over the Chargers in a Week 5 rematch at the Kingdome. But the team won only three more times in the final 11 games, each at the Kingdome – by one over the New England Patriots, by 17 over the Cleveland Browns and by 10 over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the first win over the Patriots, Warren carried a club-record 36 times for 174 yards. In the win over the Browns, Robinson had 11 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In the win over the Patriots, Mirer threw a TD pass to Blades for the game-winner with 25 seconds left in the game. In the win over the Chargers, Mirer passes for 282 yards and one TD and ran for another.

Positive steps for a team that won two games the previous season.

“We’re still a growing and rebuilding team,” Flores said after a season-ending 34-24 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Those two joined-at-the-transition traits were personified by Mirer, who had been the second overall pick in the ’93 NFL Draft Blades, whose 80 receptions where one more than Steve Largent had in 1985 (and one fewer than Blades would catch in 1994) Warren, who rushed for 1,072 yards and seven touchdowns and Kennedy, who had the second-most sacks (6˝) of any interior lineman in the AFC and led the team in tackles for losses (13˝) even though he was forced fed a season-long diet of double-team blocks after his NFL defensive player of the year efforts in ’92.

“There’s no question, teams have had a special plan for Cortez every week,” Seahawks pro personnel director Randy Mueller said at the time. “What they’re doing to Cortez doesn’t happen with everybody. I feel for Cortez and I’m sure he’s frustrated by it, but that’s the price of being great.”

Mirer, meanwhile, would play three more seasons with the Seahawks and another eight in the NFL with six other teams, but he never passed for more yards (2,833) than he did as a rookie and his rookie-season TD total (12) was one shy of his career-high from 1995.

In fact, Mirer had more completions (274) and yards than any rookie QB in league history to that point. In a six-degrees-of-separation situation, Mirer finished second in the NFL offensive rookie of the year balloting to former Notre Dame teammate Jerome Bettis – who would later help lead the Steelers over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

The best description of what Mirer meant to the Seahawks as a rookie might have come from Drew Bledsoe, the former Washington State QB who was the top pick in the ’93 NFL Draft by the Patriots. Mirer was forced to leave the Week 3 game in New England with blurred vision after defensive end Mike Pitts raked his hand across the QB’s right eye.

“You could see a night-and-day difference when Rick was playing quarterback and when he wasn’t,” Bledsoe said after the game. “Their offense was extremely effective when he was in there and it struggled when he was out of there.”

The ’93 season had other odd-twist stories, as well.

Michael Bates, an Olympic sprinter who had been selected in the sixth round of the ’92 NFL draft but didn’t sign with the Seahawks until ’93, set a then-club record with 22 coverage tackles on special teams. He also downed Rick Tuten punts at the 1-, 2- and 4-yard lines, forced two fumbles and led the club with a 20.1-yard average on kickoff returns.

Rod Stephens, a middle linebacker who had accepted a job as a baggage handler at the Atlanta airport before re-signing with the Seahawks as an injury replacement in December of 1990, won the starting job in training camp and finished third on the team with 105 tackles – despite missing three games.

Michael Sinclair, a sixth-round draft choice in 1991, would play in only nine games and start just one before breaking his right thumb. But he had nine sacks for led the club – the first of four times he would do that.

In addition to Kennedy, Blades, Robinson and Sinclair, the ’93 club included three other players who also would end up being voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team: Defensive tackle Joe Nash, who returned an interception 13 yards for a TD in the opener against the Chargers and linebacker Rufus Porter, who played in only seven games because of injuries and Tuten, who set a then-club record with a 44.5-yard average on 90 punts.

After his second Seahawks team tripled the win total of his first Seahawks team, Flores offered, “I’m proud of this bunch.”

Year in Review
Record
6-10 (fifth in AFC West)
Owner
Ken Behring
Coach
Tom Flores
Captains
FB John L. Williams (off.), FS Eugene Robinson (def.), FB Tracy Johnson and Snapper Trey Junkin (ST)
MVP
Robinson
Man of the Year
Robinson
Largent Award
Robinson
Leading Passer
Rick Mirer (274 of 486 for 2,833 yards, with 12 TDs and 17 interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Chris Warren (1,072 yards)
Leading Receiver
Brian Blades (80 receptions for 945 yards)
Leading Tackler(s)
Robinson (111)
Special Teams Tackles
WR Michael Bates (22)
Interception Leader(s)
Robinson (9)
Sack Leader
DE Michael Sinclair (8)
Leading Scorer(s)
K John Kasay (98 points)
Pro Bowl Selection(s)
DT Cortez Kennedy, Robinson, Warren
All-Pro
Kennedy (first team); Robinson (second team)

1993

1993: A six-pack of wins

The Seahawks’ second season under coach Tom Flores featured a rare “triple” by Eugene Robinson, an 80-catch effort by Brian Blades, the second of four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing performances by Chris Warren, another Pro Bowl berth for Cortez Kennedy and a productive rookie outing by Rick Mirer.

First Free Agent Signed Under New NFL System
March 12, 1993

Ferrell Edmunds, two-time Pro Bowl tight end with the Miami Dolphins, signs as an unrestricted free agent. Edmunds, a five-year veteran, is the first free agent to sign with the Seahawks under the NFL new free agency system.

Key Date
December 26, 1993

Chris Warren rushes for 168 yards to become the second Seattle player to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, but the Phoenix Cardinals tie the game on the last play of regulation and go on to a 30-27 overtime win in the Kingdome.

Key Date
October 24, 1993

Rick Mirer throws the game-winning touchdown pass to Brian Blades with 25 seconds left in a 10-9 win over New England in the Kingdome.

Key Date
November 14, 1993

Eugene Robinson records 11 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumble, and one fumble recovery to spark a 22-5 win over the visiting Cleveland Browns. In all, the Seahawks defense forces seven turnovers and accounts for a touchdown and a safety.

Key Date
January 02, 1993

The Seahawks finish the season 6-10 after dropping a 34-24 decision to the AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. John L. Williams rushes for 102 yards, to give the Seahawks three straight games with an individual over 100 yards, a franchise first. Rick Mirer becomes the first rookie quarterback since 1973 to start all his team’s games and only the third since the 1970 merger. Mirer ends the season with NFL rookie passing records for attempts (486), completions (274), and yards (2,833), while helping to improve Seattle’s win total by four games.

Key Date
February 05, 1993

Phil Neri, a Seahawks scout since 1985, is named College Scouting Director.

Key Date
September 19, 1993

Chris Warren rushes a club record 36 times for a personal best 174 yards in a 17-14 win over the Patriots in New England, Seattle’s first win after two losses.

Key Date
April 22, 1993

Buffalo guard Mitch Frerotte signs with the Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent.

Key Date
December 26, 1993

Jon Vaughn, who learned during warmups that he would start for an injured Chris Warren (abdominal muscle), rushes for a career-high 131 yards in a 16-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Seattle gains 267 yards rushing, giving them back-to-back 200-yard rushing games for the first time in franchise history.

Key Date
September 26, 1993

Rod Stephens’ fumble recovery in the end zone provides the winning touchdown in a 19-10 win at Cincinnati.

Howard Mudd Named Offensive Line Coach
January 28, 1993

Howard Mudd is named offensive line coach replacing Hudson Houck, who joined the Dallas Cowboys. Mudd is an eight-year NFL veteran guard and a 19-year NFL assistant, including a stint with the Seahawks from 1978-82.

Key Date
April 14, 1993

Linebacker Kevin Murphy signs with Seattle.

David Behring Named Team President
January 19, 1993

David Behring, son of majority owner Ken Behring, is named team President. Tom Flores is named General Manager/Head Coach, while Player Personnel Director Mike Allman is placed in charge of both professional and college personnel.

Rick Mirer Second Overall Draft Choice
April 25, 1993

University of Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer is selected by the Seahawks in the first round of the NFL draft. Mirer is the second player chosen overall.

Key Date
April 01, 1993

Wide receiver Kelvin Martin of the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys is signed as an unrestricted free agent.

Key Date
October 03, 1993

Seattle makes it three straight with a 31-14 win over the San Diego Chargers in the Kingdome. Rookie Rick Mirer passes for 282 yards and a score and also rushes for a touchdown. The three-game winning streak is the Seahawks longest since 1990.

Key Date
April 20, 1993

Four-time Pro Bowl center Ray Donaldson signs with the Seahawks as a free agent.

We actually felt like we had a chance to win when we stepped on the field that season. I can’t say that about the ’92 season.
Eugene Robinson
You could see a night-and-day difference when Rick was playing quarterback and when he wasn’t. Their offense was extremely effective when he was in there and it struggled when he was out of there.
Drew Bledsoe, ’93 NFL Draft by the Patriots
1993 Season Schedule
DateOpponentScoreW:L
9/5 AT San Diego 12-18 L
9/12 L.A. Raiders 13-17 L
9/19 AT New England 17-14 W
9/26 AT Cincinnati 19-10 W
10/3 San Diego 31-14 W
10/17 AT Detroit 10-30 L
10/24 New England 10-9 W
10/31 AT Denver 17-28 L
11/7 AT Houston 14-24 L
11/14 Cleveland 22-5 W
11/28 Denver 9-17 L
12/5 Kansas City 16-31 L
12/12 AT L.A. Raiders 23-27 L
12/19 Phoenix 27-30 L
12/26 Pittsburgh 16-6 W
1/2 AT Kansas City 24-34 L
1993 Record
610
1993 Offense
PosPlayerStarts
C Joe Tofflemire 0
C Grant Feasel 0
C Ray Donaldson 16
G Bill Hitchcock 14
G Jeff Blackshear 0
G Darrick Brilz 16
G Mitch Frerotte 0
T Mike Keim 0
T Ray Roberts 16
T Rickie Shaw 0
T Jason Childs 0
T Andy Heck 16
TE Ferrell Edmunds 16
TE Trey Junkin 0
TE Paul Green 8
WR Michael Bates (R) 1
WR Brian Blades 14
WR Kelvin Martin 14
WR Doug Thomas 0
WR Robb Thomas 0
WR Terrence Warren 0
QB Stan Gelbaugh 0
QB Jeff Graham 0
QB Dan McGwire 0
QB Rick Mirer (R) 16
FB John L. Williams 9
RB Chris Warren 14
RB Rueben Mayes 0
RB Tracy Johnson 0
RB Jon Vaughn 0
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1993 Defense
PosPlayerStarts
DE Tyrone Rodgers 0
DE Michael Sinclair 0
DE Michael McCrary 0
DE Natu Tuatagaloa 15
DE Antonio Edwards 0
DE Jeff Bryant 15
DT Joe Nash 16
DT Cortez Kennedy 16
LB Dean Wells 0
LB Bob Spitulski 0
LB E.J. Junior 0
LB Anthony Davis 0
LB David Brandon 0
LB Dino Hackett 0
LB Ray Berry 0
MLB Rod Stephens 13
OLB Kevin Murphy 10
OLB Rufus Porter 6
OLB Terry Wooden 16
CB Dwayne Harper 14
CB Carlton Gray 0
CB Patrick Hunter 15
DB Brian Allred 0
DB Rafael Robinson 0
DB James Jefferson 0
DB Dave McCloughan 0
FS Eugene Robinson 16
SS Robert Blackmon 16
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1993 Special Teams
PosPlayerStarts
K John Kasay 16
P Rick Tuten 16
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1993: Back on Track

VIDEO: 1993: Back on Track

On this Day in Seahawks History