A return to winning ways

When the Seahawks “reached” to select Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, who knew just how far that reach would extend?

Before the rookie quarterback and work-in-progress third edition of coach Pete Carroll’s Seahawks were finished, they had: posted an 11-5 record in the regular season, the most wins by a Seahawks team since 2005 and third-best record in franchise history gone 8-0 at home for the first time since 2005 and only the third time in club history won a road playoff game for the first time since 1983 and only the second time in franchise history and come within 31 seconds of advancing to the NFC Championship game.

Not a bad start for a quarterback who wasn’t expected to – start, that is – after the Seahawks made him the 75th pick in the draft. The team already had incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and also had signed Matt Flynn in free agency. But Wilson made it a three-QB competition with his performance in the team’s rookie minicamp and then won the job with his efforts in training camp and especially the preseason.

“It’s been a very exciting competition that’s gone on, and Russell has taken full advantage of his opportunities and done everything we could ask for on the field,” Carroll said during a Sunday night conference call in late August with reporters who cover the team – a call the reporters thought was to discuss Jackson being traded to the Buffalo Bills.

“And more than you guys can know, what he’s done off the field in meeting rooms and with our players and how he’s represented himself, he’s earned the job.”

But the real story was what Wilson did once he earned the job.

He threw 26 touchdown passes to tie the NFL rookie record that had been set in 1998 by Peyton Manning. He ran for 489 yards, the most ever by a Seahawks QB. He became the first rookie in league history to lead his team to an unbeaten record at home. He fashioned a passer rating of 100.0, the highest in franchise history.

“He’s a phenomenal player,” Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said of Wilson after the Pro Bowl, when Wilson led the NFC on five consecutive scoring drives. “You watch him throughout the year, he’s a mature young man. It’s been great to be around him this week to see how serious he takes it. You can see why he’s able to have the success he’s had.”

Fitzgerald then cracked a smile before adding, “The only bad thing about Russell Wilson is he plays in our division.”

But the quantum leap the Seahawks made in 2012 – after a pair of 7-9 seasons under Carroll, a 5-11 record in Jim Mora’s only season as coach (2009) and a 4-12 record in Mike Holmgren’s final season as coach (2008) – was far from a one-man show.

Marshawn Lynch went Beast Mode on a regular basis while compiling career-best totals in rushing yards (1,590) and per-carry average (5.0) and also scoring 12 touchdowns. Cornerback Richard Sherman earned All-Pro honors after intercepting eight passes. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, after being selected in the second round of the draft, produced more tackles (140) than any rookie in franchise history. Chris Clemons had a career-best 11.5 sacks and joined Jacob Green as the only players in franchise history to lead the team in that category for three consecutive seasons. First-round draft choice Bruce Irvin led all NFL rookies in sacks with eight. Free safety Earl Thomas and center Max Unger joined Lynch and Sherman in earning All-Pro honors, while left tackle Russell Okung and kick returner Leon Washington joined Lynch, Thomas and Wilson at the Pro Bowl.

And the season also played to one of Carroll’s cornerstone sayings: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

After starting 4-4, the Seahawks finished 7-1 and did it in emphatic fashion. In a three-game stretch in December, they shut out the Cardinals and Fitzgerald 58-0, routed the Buffalo Bills 50-17 in Toronto, and dispatched the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers 42-13.

The Seahawks averaged 35 points in December and January after averaging 19.9 in their first 11 games.

The defense, meanwhile, led the NFL in average points allowed (15.3) and ranked fourth in average yards allowed – the highest in franchise history.

Then came the postseason, when the Seahawks rallied from a 14-0 deficit to defeat the Washington Redskins 24-14 for that historic road playoff win and then rallied from a 20-0 deficit against the Falcons in Atlanta to take a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left, before falling 30-28 on a last-second field goal.

And if you’re looking for the key to what followed in 2013 for the Seahawks, look no farther than that difficult-to-digest loss to the Falcons – which cost the Seahawks a rematch with the 49ers in the NFC title game.

The Seahawks’ 2013 highlight video begins with the loss to the Falcons. And during the 2013 season, everyone from Wilson, to Thomas, to Sherman, to Carroll pointed to how they felt after that loss as an impetus to not feel that way again.

“Our future is as bright as our quarterback’s future,” defensive end Red Bryant said in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center as the players were cleaning out their cubicles the day after the season-ending loss. “And that means it’s pretty bright. He did a tremendous job. As a rookie, to come in and be able to demand the kind of respect from older men like myself and (nose tackle Brandon) Mebane and Clem (defensive end Chris Clemons), it speaks volumes for the future of the Seahawks.

“They did a great job when they got him.”

And when it came time for Wilson to reflect on his impressive rookie season, he looked ahead rather than back.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win,” Wilson said. “That’s all I care about. Now it’s on to the next thing, the next chapter.”

Year in Review
Record
11-5 (second in NFC West)
Playoffs
1-1, beat the Redskins in Washington, D.C. in a wild-card game; lost to the Falcons in Atlanta in a divisional game
Owner
Paul Allen
Coach
Pete Carroll
Captains
C Max Unger (offense), DE Red Bryant (defense), LB Heath Farwell and FB Michael Robinson (special teams)
MVP
Seahawks.com selected RB Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson
Man of the Year
OT Russell Okung
Largent Award
Wilson
Leading Passer
Wilson (252 of 393 for 3,118 yards, with 26 TDs and 10 interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Lynch (1,590 yards and 11 TDs)
Leading Receiver
Sidney Rice (50 for 748 and seven TDs)
Leading Tackler(s)
MLB Bobby Wagner (140)
Special Teams Tackles
Farwell (15)
Interception Leader(s)
CB Richard Sherman (8)
Sack Leader
CB Richard Sherman (8)
Leading Scorer(s)
K Steven Hauschka (118 points)
Pro Bowl Selection(s)
FS Earl Thomas, KOR-PR Leon Washington, Lynch, Okung, Unger, Wilson
All-Pro
Lynch, Sherman, Thomas, Unger

2012

2012: A return to winning ways

When the Seahawks “reached” to select Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, who knew just how far that reach would extend?

2012 Games
Key Date
December 30, 2012

Seattle finished the season with a perfect home record with a 20-13 victory over St. Louis. In that game, Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s NFL  rookie record with his 26th TD pass.

Key Date
September 24, 2012

Seattle topped Green Bay 14-12 on Monday Night Football with a game-winning Hail Mary as time expired. Russell Wilson connected with Golden Tate on a 24-yard completion. The play was called a touchdown on the field by replacement referees and upheld after a booth review. That was be the final game with replacement officials regular officiating crews returned the following week.

Key Date
February 14, 2012

Added Keith Carter (quality control/ offense) and former Seahawks safety Marquand Manuel (special teams assistant) to the coaching staff.

New Logo and Colors
April 03, 2012

Nike unveils the new NFL uniform design in New York, and Kam Chancellor represents the Seahawks in the fashion show. Along with the new uniform, the Seahawks unveil a new tweaked logo that freshens up the team colors. The new team colors are college navy, action green and wolf grey.

Cortez Kennedy Voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
February 04, 2012

Cortez Kennedy was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his fourth year of eligibility. Kennedy spent his entire 11-year career with Seattle after being selected third overall in the 1990 NFL Draft.

Key Date
March 29, 2012

The Seahawks and Tribune Television Northwest (KCPQ channel 13 and FOX affiliate in Seattle) reach a multi-year agreement to be the flagship television partner of the Seahawks. Q13 will broadcast all preseason game broadcasts, pre and postgame shows, and other team-related content.

Washington Ties NFL Record
November 25, 2012

Leon Washington tied an NFL  record with his eighth-career kickoff return for a touchdown at Miami.

Key Date
December 16, 2012

Seattle scored 50 or more points for the second consecutive game becoming the first team since 1950 to accomplish the feat (58-0 vs. Arizona on 12/9 and 50-17 at Buffalo on 12/16).

Key Date
March 20, 2012

Signed free agent QB Matt Flynn to a multi-year contract.

#96 Jersey Number Retired
October 14, 2012

Cortez Kennedy’s number is retired.

Re-signed Marshawn Lynch
March 04, 2012

Re-signed RB Marshawn Lynch to a multi-year contract.

Playoff Road Win Over Redskins
January 06, 2012

Seattle won their first road playoff game since 1983 with a 24-14 come-from-behind victory at Washington.

Key Date
August 04, 2012

Cortez Kennedy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Draft Russell Wilson
April 27, 2012

Drafted Russell Wilson in the third round (No.75 overall) of the NFL  Draft.

Draft Bruce Irvin 15th Overall
April 26, 2012

Selected DE Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft

Key Date
March 13, 2012

Reached a contract agreement to re-sign DE Red Bryant - the son-in-law of Seahawks Ring of Honor member Jacob Green.

Key Date
December 02, 2012

Russell Wilson led Seattle to a go-ahead TD drive at Chicago with :24 remaining only to have the Bears tie the game with a field goal as time expired. Seattle won the toss and Wilson again led Seattle on a game-winning TD drive on the first possession.

Our future is as bright as our quarterback’s future. And that means it’s pretty bright.
DE Red Bryant
It’s been a very exciting competition that’s gone on, and Russell has taken full advantage of his opportunities and done everything we could ask for on the field. And more than you guys can know, what he’s done off the field in meeting rooms and with our players and how he’s represented himself, he’s earned the job.
Head Coach Pete Carroll
2012 Season Schedule
Click on any game
to see full statistics.
DateOpponentScoreW:L
9/9 AT Arizona 16-20 L
9/16 Dallas 27-7 W
9/24 Green Bay 14-12 W
9/30 AT St. Louis 13-19 L
10/7 AT Carolina 16-12 W
10/14 New England 24-23 W
10/18 AT San Francisco 6-13 L
10/28 AT Detroit 24-28 L
11/4 Minnesota 30-20 W
11/11 New York Jets 28-7 W
11/25 AT Miami 21-24 L
12/2 AT Chicago 23-17 W
12/9 Arizona 58-0 W
12/16 AT Buffalo 50-17 W
12/23 San Francisco 42-13 W
12/30 St. Louis 20-13 W
POSTSEASON
1/6 AT Washington Wildcard Game 24-14 W
1/13 AT Atlanta Divisional Playoff 28-30 L
2012 Record
115
Playoffs: 1-1
2012 Offense
PosPlayerStarts
C Lemuel Jeanpierre 0
C Max Unger 16
G J.R. Sweezy (R) 3
G Rishaw Johnson 0
G Paul McQuistan 7
G Paul McQuistan 9
G John Moffitt 2
G John Moffitt 4
T Russell Okung 15
T Frank Omiyale 0
T Mike Person 0
T Breno Giacomini 16
TE Zach Miller 15
TE Anthony McCoy 0
TE Sean McGrath 0
WR Deon Butler 0
WR Doug Baldwin 0
WR Golden Tate 15
WR Jermaine Kearse 0
WR Sidney Rice 16
QB Matt Flynn 0
QB Russell Wilson (R) 16
FB Michael Robinson 16
RB Marshawn Lynch 16
RB Leon Washington 0
RB Allen Bradford 0
RB Robert Turbin 0
+ View All-Time Roster
2012 Defense
PosPlayerStarts
DE Bruce Irvin 0
DE Red Bryant 16
DE Greg Scruggs 0
DT Clinton McDonald 0
DT Brandon Mebane 16
DT Jaye Howard 0
DT Alan Branch 16
LB Patrick Chukwurah 0
LB Heath Farwell 0
MLB Bobby Wagner (R) 15
OLB K.J. Wright 15
OLB Leroy Hill 12
OLB Malcolm Smith 3
OLB Mike Morgan 0
CB Richard Sherman 16
CB Jeremy Lane (R) 3
CB Marcus Trufant 0
CB Byron Maxwell 0
CB Brandon Browner 12
DB DeShawn Shead 0
FS Chris Maragos 0
FS Earl Thomas 16
SS Jeron Johnson 0
SS Kam Chancellor 16
SS Winston Guy 0
+ View All-Time Roster
2012 Special Teams
PosPlayerStarts
K Ryan Longwell 0
LS Clint Gresham 16
P Jon Ryan 16
+ View All-Time Roster
2012: Learning to Finish

VIDEO: 2012: Learning to Finish

On this Day in Seahawks History