A last hurrah

It was 2007, and times were just better.

Especially for the Seahawks, who would win their fourth consecutive NFC West title with a 10-6 record and advance to the playoffs for the fifth season in a row.

No one realized just how long those memories would have to last.

“From the year I came in, it was Super Bowl, it was second round of the playoffs and it was second round of the playoffs,” said Leroy Hill, a third-round draft choice in 2005 and a linebacker on the ’07 team as well as this season’s edition of the Seahawks.

“That was all I knew. I didn’t know anything else besides winning.”

The hard times that followed included the team going 4-12 in Mike Holmgren’s final season, which also was the worst record of Holmgren’s 17-year run as a head coach in the league a 5-11 record in Jim Mora’s only season as coach, which included six road losses by an average score of 37-13 in 2008 and a NFC West title and thrilling playoff victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in Pete Carroll’s first season as coach in 2010, but also a 7-9 record that made the Seahawks the first team to win a division title with a losing record.

“That first losing year, it was odd,” Hill said. “And that’s when the reality set it that it’s hard to win in this league.”

It has been the past three seasons, when the Seahawks’ combined 16 victories were just one more than the total from 2005, when the team went 13-3 during the regular season and then won two playoff games to reach the Super Bowl.

This is the last story in a series recapping the Seahawks’ first 35 seasons, and the 2007 season is relevant this week for a number of reasons.

First, the Seahawks are hosting the St. Louis Rams on “Monday Night Football” – their first MNF appearance since 2007. But this season’s team also has had some hadn’t-done-that-since-’07 accomplishments.

Like intercepting four passes in last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a first since the Seahawks picked off five and four in back-to-back games against the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles in Weeks 13-14 in ’07.

Like rushing for 100-plus yards in four consecutive games for the first time since Games 7-10 in ’07 – and the Seahawks now have five, for the first time 2005.

Like upsetting the New York Giants in Week 5, the Seahawks’ first victory on the East Coast since beating the Eagles in Philly in Week 13 of ’07.

Like Marshawn Lynch needing one touchdown to reach 10, which would make him the first Seahawk with double-digit scores since Nate Burleson had 11 (nine receiving and two on punt and kickoff returns) in ’07.

“Chasing ghosts,” Hill said with a laugh. “But hey, whatever works.”

But back to 2007, it was a continuation of the best of times, before the less-good times set in.

“The positives, I think, outweighed the negatives,” Holmgren said after the Seahawks were eliminated from the postseason with a 42-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a divisional playoff game – not to mention a snowstorm at Lambeau Field.

“We have to shore up a couple of things. I think the core of the football team is coming back, and it’s pretty solid. I believe that. I think we’re a pretty good team.”

The Seahawks were that in ’07, when they went 7-1 at home while winning double-digit games for the third time in their five-season run and only the fifth time in franchise history – but also the last time.

They sent six players to the Pro Bowl – quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, left tackle Walter Jones, defensive end Patrick Kerney, linebackers Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu and cornerback Marcus Trufant. Kerney, Tatupu and Jones were voted All-Pro.

Bobby Engram, at the age of 34, caught a franchise-record 94 passes for the first 1,000-yard season of his career (1,147). Kerney led the NFC with 14½ sacks. Hasselbeck passed for 3,966 yards and a career-high 28 touchdowns. Trufant had a career-high seven interceptions. Kicker Josh Brown scored a career-high 127 points.

“I came here in the offseason because I was investing, personally, in the long run in this team,” Kerney said after the season. “I saw the potential we had for this year. I also saw the potential we had for the future here.

“A lot of good players, a lot of great people in the organization. I’m just looking forward to great things for next year and beyond.”

Unfortunately, no one could see into the future, and how quickly things would take a dramatic turn for the worse.

Hasselbeck would not play another 16-game season for the Seahawks before signing with the Tennessee Titans in free agency in July. Brown jumped to the NFC West rival Rams in free agency after the ’07 season. Injuries would allow Kerney to play only a total of 12 games in 2008 and 2009. Shaun Alexander, the league MVP in 2005, made a final run (716 yards in ‘07) and was released during the 2008 offseason. Jones played his final game for the Seahawks in Week 13 of the ’08 season.

The unraveling was unnerving, as 10-6 in ’07 wilted to 4-12 in ’08.

“No one could see everything that was going to happen,” Hill said, shaking his head. “We all thought the good times would continue to roll. But then everyone started leaving and getting hurt. It’s just part of the game, but that didn’t make it any easier to go through.”

Year in Review
Record
10-6 (first in NFC West)
Playoffs
1-1, beat Washington in wild-card game; lost at Green Bay in divisional game
Owner
Paul Allen
Coach
Mike Holmgren
Captains
QB Matt Hasselbeck and FB Mack Strong (offense); SS Deon Grant and MLB Lofa Tatupu (defense); K Josh Brown and LB Niko Koutouvides (special teams)
Man of the Year
WR Bobby Engram
Largent Award
Engram
Leading Passer
Hasselbeck (352 of 562 for 3,966 yards, with 28 TDs and 12 interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Shaun Alexander (716 yards)
Leading Receiver
Engram (94 receptions for 1,147 yards)
Leading Tackler(s)
Tatupu (109)
Special Teams Tackles
LB Niko Koutouvides (20)
Interception Leader(s)
CB Marcus Trufant (7)
Sack Leader
DE Patrick Kerney (14½)
Leading Scorer(s)
K Josh Brown (127 points)
Pro Bowl Selection(s)
Hasselbeck, OT Walter Jones, Kerney, LB Julian Peterson, Tatupu, Trufant
All-Pro
Jones, Kerney, Tatupu (first team)

2007

2007: A last hurrah

It was 2007, and times were just better. Especially for the Seahawks, who would win their fourth consecutive NFC West title with a 10-6 record and advance to the playoffs for the fifth season in a row.

2007 Games
VMAC
March 20, 2007

In partnership with Virginia Mason Medical Center, the Seahawks announced naming rights for their new training facility in Renton: Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC).

Key Date
January 05, 2007

Seattle hosted a playoff game for the fourth straight season and won one in three consecutive years after putting away Washington 35-14 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Key Date
January 22, 2007

Seattle hired former Cowboys special teams coach Bruce DeHaven to the same position.

Key Date
January 12, 2007

Seattle’s season ended with a 42-20 Divisional Playoff loss at Green Bay in blizzard-like conditions. The game would be Brett Favre’s final victory with the Packers.

Lofa Tatupu Ties Franchise Record
December 02, 2007

Lofa Tatupu tied a franchise record with three interceptions at Philadelphia, including one in the final minutes that preserved a Seahawks 28-24 victory.

Mack Strong Suffers Career-Ending Injury
October 07, 2007

FB Mack Strong suffered a career-ending neck injury at PIttsburgh.

Key Date
November 04, 2007

With a 94-yard punt return at Cleveland, Nate Burleson became the first player in NFL history with three punt returns of 90 or more yards in a career.

Key Date
July 28, 2007

Training camp began and was held in Kirkland for the first time since 1996. The team trained at Eastern Washington University in Cheney from 1997-2007.

Key Date
April 29, 2007

Traded WR Darrell Jackson to San Francisco for a fourth-round draft choice.

Key Date
January 21, 2007

The Seahawks added Jim Mora to the coaching staff as assistant head coach/defensive backs coach.

Key Date
December 09, 2007

Seattle sewed up their fourth-consecutive NFC West title with a 42-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Mike Holmgren became the winningest coach in franchise history passing Chuck Knox (83-67). Marcus Trufant also recorded three interceptions in the game to tie a club record.

I came here in the offseason because I was investing, personally, in the long run in this team. I saw the potential we had for this year. I also saw the potential we had for the future here.A lot of good players, a lot of great people in the organization. I’m just looking forward to great things for next year and beyond.
DT Patrick Kerney
The positives, I think, outweighed the negatives. We have to shore up a couple of things. I think the core of the football team is coming back, and it’s pretty solid. I believe that. I think we’re a pretty good team.
Coach Mike Holmgren
2007 Season Schedule
Click on any game
to see full statistics.
DateOpponentScoreW:L
9/9 Tampa Bay 20-6 W
9/16 AT Arizona 20-23 L
9/23 Cincinnati 24-21 W
9/30 AT San Francisco 23-3 W
10/7 AT Pittsburgh 0-21 L
10/14 New Orleans 17-28 L
10/21 St. Louis 33-6 W
11/4 AT Cleveland 30-33 L
11/12 San Francisco 24-0 W
11/18 Chicago 30-23 W
11/25 AT St. Louis 24-19 W
12/2 AT Philadelphia 28-24 W
12/9 Arizona 42-21 W
12/16 AT Carolina 10-13 L
12/23 Baltimore 27-6 W
12/30 AT Atlanta 41-44 L
POSTSEASON
1/5 Washington Wildcard Game 35-14 W
1/12 AT Green Bay Divisional Playoff 20-42 L
2007 Record
106
Playoffs: 1-1
2007 Offense
PosPlayerStarts
C Chris Spencer 16
G Rob Sims 16
G Mansfield Wrotto 0
G Floyd Womack 1
G Chris Gray 16
T Sean Locklear 16
T Walter Jones 15
T Ray Willis 0
T Tom Ashworth 0
TE Will Heller 6
TE Bennie Joppru 0
TE Marcus Pollard 10
WR Logan Payne 0
WR D.J. Hackett 6
WR Bobby Engram 13
WR Courtney Taylor 0
WR Ben Obomanu 0
WR Deion Branch 11
WR Nate Burleson 12
QB Matt Hasselbeck 16
QB Seneca Wallace 0
QB Charlie Frye 0
FB Leonard Weaver 4
FB David Kirtman 0
RB Josh Scobey 0
RB Shaun Alexander 11
RB Maurice Morris 5
+ View All-Time Roster
2007 Defense
PosPlayerStarts
DE Ellis Wyms 0
DE Darryl Tapp 16
DE Patrick Kerney 16
DE Jason Babin 0
DT Howard Green 0
DT Rocky Bernard 14
DT Brandon Mebane (R) 10
DT Craig Terrill 2
LB Will Herring 0
LB Niko Koutouvides 0
LB Lance Laury 0
LB Kevin Bentley 2
MLB Lofa Tatupu 16
OLB Julian Peterson 16
OLB Leroy Hill 14
CB Kevin Hobbs 0
CB Marcus Trufant 16
CB Kelly Jennings 15
CB Josh Wilson 0
DB Michael Green 1
FS Brian Russell 16
SS Jordan Babineaux 0
SS Deon Grant 16
+ View All-Time Roster
2007 Special Teams
PosPlayerStarts
K Josh Brown 16
LS Jeff Robinson 0
P Ryan Plackemeier 16
+ View All-Time Roster
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