NFC West champs, at last

With 27 seconds left in regulation and the Seahawks trailing the St. Louis Rams by seven points in their wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field, Matt Hasselbeck had the ball right where he wanted it: Heading toward the sure hands of Bobby Engram in the end zone. Instead of overtime, however, the Seahawks lost to the Rams – one more time – as the fourth-down pass went off Engram’s hands and fell incomplete.

Hasselbeck slumped to his knees and put his hands on his helmet. Engram looked at his hands, and then the ball. The Rams began to celebrate.

It was on that disappointing note that the Seahawks’ 2004 season came to an end.

“I don’t know how much I could have done differently,” said Hasselbeck, who had to duck away from a Rams defender, which caused Engram to lose sight of him – and the ball.

“The first question I get is: Could you have run? No. I know that for sure. Could I have thrown the ball better? Yeah, probably.” The game played out much like the season, as the Seahawks overcame a 14-3 deficit to take a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, only to watch the Rams score 10 points in the final eight minutes.

The ’04 season had begun on a historic note, as the Seahawks won back-to-back road games – 21-7 over the Saints in New Orleans and 10-6 over the Buccaneers in Tampa. The only other times they had opened with two consecutive road wins came in 1994 and 1985. They then ran their record to 3-0 for the second consecutive season, and in emphatic fashion with a 34-0 romp over the San Francisco 49ers in the home opener.

But that was followed by three consecutive losses, including a six-pointer in overtime to the Rams at home. After two more wins, the Seahawks dropped three of their next four before rallying to win three of their final four. It was enough – just enough – to clinch the NFC West title for the first time with a 9-7 record and advance to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1987-88.

The steadiest performers in this up-and-down season were a familiar cast.

Shaun Alexander led the NFC in rushing with 1,696 yards, but missed tying the Jets’ Curtis Martin by 1 yard for the NFL rushing title.

The Seahawks would not have won the West without Alexander, who also scored 20 touchdowns.

As was the case during the other seasons in which he scored 16-plus touchdowns (2001-05), Alexander’s trips into the end zone came in bunches: three against the Saints in the opener, three against the 49ers in Week 3, three against the Cardinals in Week 16, two in the rematch with the 49ers in San Francisco in Week 9, and two against the Cowboys in Week 13.

It was a similar situation with his rushing yards. In one three-game span at midseason, Alexander ran for 195, 160 and 176 yards. In the final month of the season, he had 112- and 154-yard games. He also had 135 yards in the opener and another 150 in the first game against the Rams.

Much of the credit also goes to his line – the left side of Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, who joined Alexander in being voted to the Pro Bowl, center Robbie Tobeck, right guard Chris Gray, and Chris Terry and Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack, who split the season at right tackle.

Hasselbeck, meanwhile, passed for 3,382 yards and 22 touchdowns, with Darrell Jackson catching a then-club record 87 passes for 1,199 yards and seven TDs.

Things didn’t go as well on defense, as the Seahawks ranked 26th in the league and allowed opponents to convert 56.3 percent of their third-down situations in the team’s eight losses. Cornerback Marcus Trufant led the team in tackles (93) and tied for second in interceptions (five). But coordinator Ray Rhodes was not able to overcome the combined 51 games that linebackers Anthony Simmons, Chad Brown and D.D. Lewis, defensive end Grant Wistrom and cornerback Bobby Taylor would miss because of injuries.

The 34-year-old Brown missed the first six games after breaking his left leg during training camp and then three more while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, but he had 21 tackles and two sacks in the final two games. The defense definitely missed his presence – and production.

Even the highlight moments were uneven: rookie Michael Boulware intercepting a pass and returning it 63 yards for a game-winning score with 56 seconds left in a 24-17 win over the Miami Dolphins, Hasselbeck passing for 414 yards and three TDs in a 43-39 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and Hasselbeck passing for two scores and running for a third in the regular-season finale against the Falcons, which the Seahawks won as Brown and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard stopped Warrick Dunn short of the goal line on a two-point conversion that would have tied the score.

It was enough to make Mike Holmgren come out of the season wondering if he wanted to coach another season.

“I don’t really feel like the coaches need a vote of confidence from us,” Hasselbeck said after the season when asked about Holmgren’s situation. “It’s been a tough season, and probably frustrating season for (the coaches) just because we haven’t always done what they’ve prepared us to do.”

But, as with the disheartening loss to the Green Bay Packers in their playoff opener the previous season, the Seahawks used the disappointing end to the ’04 season as a springboard to what would be a season of unprecedented success in 2005.

Hasselbeck could feel it coming.

“I know that I grew and I was a better football player this year because of what happened last year,” he said. “I’ve just got to trust that the same thing will happen from this experience, and make you want it more."

Year in Review
Record
9-7 (first in NFC West)
Playoffs
0-1, lost to St. Louis in wild-card game
Owner
Paul Allen
Coach
Mike Holmgren
Captains
QB Matt Hasselbeck (off.), LB Anthony Simmons (def.), WR Alex Bannister (ST)
Man of the Year
FB Mack Strong
Largent Award
Strong
Leading Passer
Hasselbeck (279 of 474 for 3,382 yards, with 22 TDs and 15 interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Shaun Alexander (1,696 yards and 16 TDs)
Leading Receiver
Darrell Jackson (87 receptions for 1,199 yards)
Leading Tackler(s)
CB Marcus Trufant (93)
Special Teams Tackles
LB Niko Koutouvides (16)
Interception Leader(s)
CB Ken Lucas (6)
Sack Leader
DE Chike Okeafor (8½)
Leading Scorer(s)
Alexander (120 points)
Pro Bowl Selection(s)
Alexander, LG Steve Hutchinson, LT Walter Jones
All-Pro
Jones (first team); Alexander (second team)

2004

2004: NFC West champs, at last

The ’04 season had begun on a historic note, as the Seahawks won back-to-back road games – 21-7 over the Saints in New Orleans and 10-6 over the Buccaneers in Tampa. The only other times they had opened with two consecutive road wins came in 1994 and 1985.

2004 Games
Key Date
May 19, 2004

Jay Nienkark named Director of Player Administration and will oversee the team’s salary cap.

Key Date
June 08, 2004

Martha Fuller named CFO.

Key Date
March 09, 2004

WR Darrell Jackson re-signed a multi-year contract with the Seahawks.

Key Date
August 07, 2004

The Seahawks traveled to Portland’s PGE Park for “Seahawks Live,” an intrasquad scrimmage.

Key Date
February 24, 2004

Seahawks designate T Walter Jones as franchise player for third consecutive year.

Stadium Naming
June 02, 2004

Seahawks Stadium is renamed Qwest Field. Introduced Blue Ribbon Partners.

Monday Night Football Shutout
December 06, 2004

In front of a record crowd at Qwest Field (68,093), the Seahawks hosted a Monday Night Football shootout versus the Cowboys. Matt Hasselbeck passed for 414 yards and three touchdowns, but the Cowboys scored 14 points in just under three minutes to earn a 43-39 victory.

Key Date
March 04, 2004

Seahawks sign unrestricted free agent Grant Wistrom to a multi-year contract.

Seahawks End 49ers Consecutive Scoring Record
September 26, 2004

The Seahawks opened the season 3-0 after shutting out the 49ers 34-0 at Qwest Field. The victory ended the 49ers NFL record of scoring in 420 consecutive games.

Key Date
November 21, 2004

S Michael Boulware turned in one of the most exciting plays of the season when he, with 56 seconds remaining, returned a Dolphins’ pass 63 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Key Date
February 26, 2004

Senior VP Mike Reinfeldt declined contract offer to remain with Seahawks.

Key Date
March 24, 2004

In cooperation with the Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment Office, Seahawks Alex Bannister and Damien Robinson led a Seahawks contingent including former Seahawks receiver Paul Johns and the Sea Gals Show Group on a tour of Southwest Asia, including the countries of United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Seahawks Obtain Jerry Rice
October 19, 2004

The Seahawks traded a conditional draft choice to the Oakland Raiders for WR Jerry Rice.

Steve Raible Becomes the "Voice of the Seahawks"
March 24, 2004

The Seattle Seahawks name Steve Raible as the new "Voice of the Seahawks" for radio broadcasts, and will be joined by Warren Moon as color analyst on the broadcast team. Raible served the previous 22 years as color analyst on Seahawks radio

I know that I grew and I was a better football player this year because of what happened last year. I’ve just got to trust that the same thing will happen from this experience, and make you want it more.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck
2004 Season Schedule
Click on any game
to see full statistics.
DateOpponentScoreW:L
9/12 AT New Orleans 21-7 W
9/19 AT Tampa Bay 10-6 W
9/26 San Francisco 34-0 W
10/10 St. Louis 27-33 L
10/17 AT New England 20-30 L
10/24 AT Arizona 17-25 L
10/31 Carolina 23-17 W
11/7 AT San Francisco 42-27 W
11/14 AT St. Louis 12-23 L
11/21 Miami 24-17 W
11/28 Buffalo 9-38 L
12/6 Dallas 39-43 L
12/12 AT Minnesota 27-23 W
12/19 AT New York Jets 14-37 L
12/26 Arizona 24-21 W
1/2 Atlanta 28-26 W
POSTSEASON
1/8 St. Louis Wildcard Game 20-27 L
2004 Record
97
Playoffs: 0-1
2004 Offense
PosPlayerStarts
C J.P. Darche 0
C Robbie Tobeck 16
G Steve Hutchinson 16
G Sean Locklear 0
G Chris Gray 16
T Wayne Hunter 0
T Walter Jones 16
T Floyd Womack 8
T Jerry Wunsch 0
T Chris Terry 8
TE Jerramy Stevens 5
TE Ryan Hannam 0
TE Itula Mili 4
WR D.J. Hackett 0
WR Alex Bannister 0
WR Bobby Engram 0
WR Jerheme Urban 0
WR Jerry Rice 9
WR Koren Robinson 8
WR Darrell Jackson 16
WR Taco Wallace 0
WR Jason Willis 0
QB Seneca Wallace 0
QB Trent Dilfer 2
QB Matt Hasselbeck 14
QB Brock Huard 0
FB Heath Evans 0
FB Chris Davis 0
FB Mack Strong 13
RB Kerry Carter 0
RB Shaun Alexander 16
RB Maurice Morris 0
+ View All-Time Roster
2004 Defense
PosPlayerStarts
DE Antonio Cochran 7
DE Brandon Mitchell 0
DE Chike Okeafor 16
DE Grant Wistrom 9
DT Cedric Woodard 16
DT Ron Smith 0
DT Craig Terrill 0
DT Marcus Tubbs 0
DT Rashad Moore 12
DT Rocky Bernard 0
LB Solomon Bates 0
LB Curtis Randall 0
LB Tracy White 0
LB Niko Koutouvides 0
MLB Orlando Huff 14
OLB Chad Brown 7
OLB Isaiah Kacyvenski 7
OLB Isaiah Kacyvenski 6
OLB D.D. Lewis 0
OLB Anthony Simmons 7
CB Bobby Taylor 0
CB Marcus Trufant 16
CB Kris Richard 0
CB Michael Harden 0
CB Ken Lucas 16
DB Marquand Manuel 0
DB Jordan Babineaux 0
DB Arnold Parker 0
FS Damien Robinson 0
FS Ken Hamlin 16
SS Terreal Bierria 12
SS Michael Boulware 4
+ View All-Time Roster
2004 Special Teams
PosPlayerStarts
K Josh Brown 16
K Josh Brown 16
P Donnie Jones 6
P Tom Rouen 2004
P Ken Walter 6
+ View All-Time Roster
Championship Junction

VIDEO: Championship Junction

On this Day in Seahawks History