Three feet from a repeat

This five-word footnote provides a succinct description of how the Seahawks’ unforgettable 2014 season will best be remembered. That’s because the defending Super Bowl champions were 1 yard from pulling off a rare title repeat in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XLIX. But instead of becoming the first team since the 2002 and 2003 New England Patriots to capture back-to-back Super Bowls, the Seahawks fell to the Patriots 28-24 as Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted.

As bitter losses go, this one lingered as the nightmarish end to what had been a dream of a Super Bowl — and season, for that matter.

“For it to come down to a play like that, I hate that we have to live with that, because we did everything right to win the football game,” coach Pete Carroll muttered moments after that final play in the deafening silence that was the Seahawks’ locker room at University of Phoenix Stadium — a scene that was the polar opposite to the bedlam that engulfed the Seahawks’ locker room at MetLife Stadium after their dominating victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Ah, a play like that. With everyone in the stadium expecting the ball to go to Beast Mode back Marshawn Lynch with the game — as well as the season — not only on the line but the 1-yard line, Wilson’s pass to Ricardo Lockette on a quick slant ended up in the hands of Patriots nickel back Malcolm Butler for a Super Bowl-clinching interception.

But Carroll also quickly shouldered the scrutiny that came with that call by offering, “There’s really nobody to blame but me.”

The finish capped a Super Bowl for the ages, and also was a disappointing end to another exhilarating season for the Seahawks.

“I thought it was a touchdown, honestly,” Wilson said of the Seahawks’ final play of the 2014 season. “It looked like it worked. But the guy made an incredible play. That’s really what it came down to. We were right there. We fought so hard all game. I’ve watched a lot of Super Bowls. In my opinion, that was one of the better ones. We just didn’t win.”

The Seahawks fell behind 14-7 in the first half, only to rally and take a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter. That’s when Tom Brady played like, well, Tom Brady. The Patriots’ QB directed 68- and 64-yard touchdown drives in the final quarter to give New England its four-point lead.

But in fairness to a Seahawks defense that led the NFL in average points and yards allowed for the second consecutive season, it was far from full strength in the Super Bowl. The All-Pro tandem of free safety Earl Thomas (shoulder) and cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow) played with injures they got in the NFC Championship game. All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor injured a knee at the end of Friday’s final practice before the Super Bowl. Nickel back Jeremy Lane was lost in the first half (forearm and knee), while pass-rushing end Cliff Avril left the game in the second half (concussion).

“Last night was an extraordinary game,” Carroll would say the morning after. “It was an extraordinary effort from guys who played through unbelievable issues. And you didn’t even know it during the game. Earl and Sherm, to make it through this game and play with the problems they have is one thing that was notable. For Kam Chancellor to play in this game was just superhuman stuff. He shouldn’t have been able to go.

“It was a heroic thing that those guys did to play. They wanted to play for their teammates and they did exactly that, and they did it in great fashion.”

But then the Seahawks already had fashioned so much greatness on the road they traveled to reach Super Bowl XLIX.

After starting 3-3, the Seahawks went on a 9-1 run to finish 12-4 in overtaking the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West title and the Green Bay Packers for the top seed in the conference for the postseason.

That top seed allowed the Seahawks to play at CenturyLink Field in their playoff opener — a 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers and host the Packers in the NFC title game — which the Seahawks won 28-22 in overtime.

“I think the resilience of our football team is unmatchable,” Wilson said after the win against the Packers, where he followed a for-crying-out-loud performance (6 of 7 for 114 yards and a TD on the team’s final three possessions) by actually crying out loud.

“And the character of the guys that we have, that’s what makes the difference.”

Until that final play in that final game, so much had gone so right for those resilient Seahawks.

The offense led the NFL in explosive plays during the regular season (135), while the defense allowed the fewest in the league (76). The offense also rushed for a franchise-record 2,762 yards, with Lynch supplying 1,306 and Wilson adding 849.

Wilson spent the season going where no quarterback had ever gone before. In a Week 5 road victory over the Washington Redskins, Wilson became the first player in the 45-year history of “Monday Night Football” to run for at least 100 yards (122) and pass for at least 200 yards (201) in the same game. Two weeks later, Wilson became the first player in the 95-year history of the NFL to pass for at least 300 yards (313) and run for at least 100 yards (106) in the same game. He also threw the game-winning TD pass in overtime in the NFC Championship game against the Packers.

And if it wasn’t Wilson tormenting opposing defenses with his arm and his legs, it was Lynch giving new meaning to the term “smash-mouth football.” In addition to leading the NFL with his 17 touchdowns, the Beast Mode back also produced career-highs in rushing TDs (13) and receiving TDs (four). He was, simply, the driving force in the offense.

“Marshawn is a very special, special, special — did I say ‘special’? — special running back. He really is,” running backs coach Sherman Smith said in agreeing with the selection of Lynch as the team’s MVP by Seahawks.com. “He’s one of the best who ever played for what he does. And we shouldn’t take that for granted. He’s a very unique guy. And he means the world to our team.”

The same could be said for what the defense provided in the late-season surge that propelled the Seahawks to the NFC West title, the NFC Championship and that oh-so-close loss in the Super Bowl. The unit became only the third defense in NFL history to lead the league in average points allowed for three consecutive seasons, and the first since the Minnesota Vikings in 1969-71. That will happen when you yield an average of 6.5 points during the six-game winning streak to end the regular season.

Despite missing five games at midseason with a toe injury, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was voted to the Pro Bowl and also All Pro — joining Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor in this double-honor category.

The special teams also remained just that — special. While kicker Steven Hauschka was producing the third-highest point total in franchise history (134), Jon Ryan was adding to his more-than-just-a-punter resume. He threw a TD pass on a fake field goal in the NFC title game, ran for a first down on a fake field goal against the Redskins and launched a 79-yard punt on a free kick following a safety against the Broncos.

All of which made it even more difficult to accept when the Seahawks came within three feet of a repeat.

“That’s our mentality,” left tackle Russell Okung said after the Seahawks were just short to end what had been another long and successful season. “We truly believe that we’re going to win the game and we’re going to finish it playing Seahawks’ type of ball. That wasn’t the case.”

Year in Review
Record
12-4 (first in the NFC West)
Playoffs
2-1. Beat Carolina in a divisional game and Green Bay in the NFC Championship game, before losing to New England in the Super Bowl.
Owner
Paul Allen
Coach
Pete Carroll
Captains
QB Russell Wilson (offense), SS Kam Chancellor (defense), K Steven Hauschka and P Jon Ryan (special teams)
MVP
RB Marshawn Lynch was selected by Seahawks.com
Man of the Year
Wilson
Largent Award
Chancellor
Leading Passer
Wilson (285 of 452 for 3,474 yards, with 20 TDs and seven interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Marshawn Lynch (1,306 yards)
Leading Receiver
Doug Baldwin (66 for 825 yards)
Leading Tackler(s)
LB K.J. Wright (107) and MLB Bobby Wagner (104)
Special Teams Tackles
S Jeron Johnson (8)
Interception Leader(s)
CB Richard Sherman (4)
Sack Leader
DL Michael Bennett (7)
Leading Scorer(s)
K Steven Hauschka (134 points)
Pro Bowl Selection(s)
Chancellor, Lynch, Sherman, Thomas and Wagner
All-Pro
Sherman, Thomas and Wagner (first team); Chancellor and Lynch (second team)

2014

2014: Three feet from a repeat

The Seahawks did everything right to give themselves a chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions, until what proved to be the final play of their loss to the Patriots.

2014 Games
Key Date
September 21, 2014

In a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 26-20 in OT on a Marshawn Lynch 6-yard TD  run.

Trufant Retires
April 24, 2014

Former Seahawks CB  Marcus Trufant announces his retirement.

Advance to Super Bowl
January 18, 2014

Seattle became the 12th team in NFL  history to advance to the Super Bowl after winning it the previous year by defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, 28-22, in OT. Seattle overcame a 16-point, second-half deficit to win after Russell Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse on a 35-yard TD to end the game. It marked Seattle’s ninth consecutive postseason win at home, tied for the third-longest streak in NFL  history. The game also marked a record for CenturyLink Field attendance record with 68,538 12s on hand.

Chancellor 90 Yard INT Touchdown
January 10, 2014

Strong safety Kam Chancellor returns an interception 90 yards for a touchdown, the longest play in franchise playoff history.

Re-sign Sherman
May 07, 2014

Cornerback Richard Sherman signed a multi-year extension.

Key Date
September 04, 2014

Seattle officially kicked off the 2014 NFL season hosting a Thursday night prime time game versus Green Bay. A pregame concert was performed by Pharrell Williams and Soundgarden, with pop star Ariana Grande singing The Star Spangled Banner. Seattle’s Super Bowl banner was unveiled at CenturyLink Field as Seattle won the game, 36-16.

Team Meets President Obama
May 21, 2014

The Seahawks traveled to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama at the Super Bowl Champions annual White House visit

Re-Sign Michael Bennett
March 10, 2014

The Seahawks re-signed free agent DE Michael Bennett to a multi-year contract.

Key Date
August 02, 2014

Former Seahawks tackle Walter Jones was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Key Date
December 18, 2014

Signed LB  K.J.  Wright to a multi-year extension.

Re-sign Doug Baldwin
May 29, 2014

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin signed a multi-year extension.

Key Date
October 17, 2014

Seattle traded WR  Percy Harvin to the N.Y. Jets for an undisclosed draft choice.

Set Franchise Record
December 21, 2014

Seattle set a franchise record versus the Cardinals totaling 596 total yards in a 35-6 win at Arizona.

Re-sign Earl Thomas
April 29, 2014

Safety Earl Thomas signed a multi-year extension.

Wilson Sets NFL Record
October 19, 2014

At St. Louis, Russell Wilson became the first player in NFL  history to pass for 300 or more yards and rush for 100 or more in the same game.

Key Date
June 10, 2014

Jeff Dunn named Vice President of Business Strategy & Analytics.

Walter Jones Selected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
February 01, 2014

Walter Jones, a nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle, is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. His selection comes the day before the Seahawks would win their first Super Bowl. In another first, the announcement of Jones’ election comes as part of the nationally televised “NFL Honors” ceremony on Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.

Key Date
February 01, 2014

The Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, 28-24.

Carroll Contract Extension
April 14, 2014

Signed Pete Carroll to a multi-year extension.

Defeat Panthers in Playoffs
January 10, 2014

The Seahawks defeated the Carolina Panthers, 31-17, in a Divisional Playoff Game. Russell Wilson throws three touchdown passes and was 8 of 8 for 199 yards and each of his TD passes on third downs. Earl Thomas (11), Chancellor (10) and Bobby Wagner (nine) combine for 30 tackles to lead the defensive effort.

Key Date
June 19, 2014

The Seahawks received their Super Bowl Championship rings at a ceremony at Seattle’s EMP.

All-Pro Selections
January 02, 2014

Cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas are named All-Pro for the third consecutive year and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner for the first time. Strong safety Kam Chancellor and running back Marshawn Lynch are named to the second team.

Key Date
December 19, 2014

Signed DE Cliff Avril to a multi-year extension

Key Date
May 06, 2014

Amy Sprangers named VP of Corporate Partner¬ships and Suites.

Key Date
November 09, 2014

Totaled 350 rushing yards versus the N.Y. Giants, a club single-game record. Marshawn Lynch also rushed for a career-best four TDs tying a single-game club record.

I think the resilience of our football team is unmatchable. And the character of the guys that we have, that’s what makes the difference.
QB Russell Wilson
Marshawn is a very special, special, special — did I say ‘special’? — special running back. He really is. He’s one of the best who ever played for what he does. And we shouldn’t take that for granted. He’s a very unique guy. And he means the world to our team.
Running Backs Coach Sherman Smith
For it to come down to a play like that, I hate that we have to live with that, because we did everything right to win the football game.
Head Coach Pete Carroll
That’s our mentality. We truly believe that we’re going to win the game and we’re going to finish it playing Seahawks’ type of ball. That wasn’t the case.
LT Russell Okung
2014 Season Schedule
Click on any game
to see full statistics.
DateOpponentScoreW:L
9/4 Green Bay 36-16 W
9/14 AT San Diego 21-30 L
9/21 Denver 26-20 W
10/6 AT Washington 27-17 W
10/12 Dallas 23-30 L
10/19 AT St. Louis 26-28 L
10/26 AT Carolina 13-9 W
11/2 Oakland 30-24 W
11/9 New York Giants 38-17 W
11/16 AT Kansas City 20-24 L
11/23 Arizona 19-3 W
11/27 AT San Francisco 19-3 W
12/7 AT Philadelphia 24-14 W
12/14 San Francisco 17-7 W
12/21 AT Arizona 35-6 W
12/28 St. Louis 20-6 W
POSTSEASON
1/10 Carolina Divisional Playoff 31-17 W
1/18 Green Bay Conference Champ. 28-22 W
2/1 New England Superbowl 24-28 L
2014 Record
124
Playoffs: 2-1
2014 Offense
PosPlayerStarts
C Max Unger 6
C Lemuel Jeanpierre 3
C Patrick Lewis 4
G Alvin Bailey 0
G J.R. Sweezy 16
G James Carpenter 13
T Justin Britt (R) 16
T Garry Gilliam 0
T Russell Okung 14
TE Luke Willson 10
TE Cooper Helfet 0
TE Keavon Milton 0
TE Tony Moeaki 0
WR Chris Matthews 0
WR Jermaine Kearse 14
WR Ricardo Lockette 0
WR Doug Baldwin 16
WR Bryan Walters 0
WR Kevin Norwood 0
QB B.J. Daniels 0
QB Tarvaris Jackson 0
QB Russell Wilson 16
FB Will Tukuafu 2
RB Marshawn Lynch 14
RB Christine Michael 0
RB Robert Turbin 0
+ View All-Time Roster
2014 Defense
PosPlayerStarts
DE Michael Bennett 16
DE O'Brien Schofield 0
DE Cliff Avril 16
DE Demarcus Dobbs 0
DE Landon Cohen 0
DE David King 0
DT Tony McDaniel 15
DT Kevin Williams 7
MLB Brock Coyle 0
MLB Bobby Wagner 11
OLB K.J. Wright 16
OLB Bruce Irvin 13
OLB Mike Morgan 0
OLB Malcolm Smith 0
CB Richard Sherman 16
CB Tharold Simon 4
CB Jeremy Lane 0
CB Byron Maxwell 12
DB Marcus Burley 0
FS Earl Thomas 16
FS Steven Terrell 0
SS Jeron Johnson 0
SS Kam Chancellor 14
SS DeShawn Shead 0
+ View All-Time Roster
2014 Special Teams
PosPlayerStarts
K Steven Hauschka 16
LS Clint Gresham 16
P Jon Ryan 16
+ View All-Time Roster
2014: Fighting the Good Fight

VIDEO: 2014: Fighting the Good Fight

On this Day in Seahawks History