Seahawks become Super

What turned out to be the most successful season in franchise history started out as so many others have for the Seahawks: Unimpressively.

They opened the 2005 season with a disheartening loss at Jacksonville. Then, after wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field, the Seahawks dropped an overtime decision to the Washington Redskins as Josh Brown’s 47-yard field-goal attempt thumped off the left upright as time expired in regulation.

The Seahawks were 2-2, and the look on coach Mike Holmgren’s reddened face after that loss screamed, “What can we do?”

The answer: Rip off an 11-game winning streak, the longest in club history to finish with a 13-3 record, also a franchise best-ever.

“You know, we never really realized what we were doing at the time,” Pro Bowl center Robbie Tobeck said. “Because we were just too busy doing it.”

No team in the 35-year history of the Seahawks ever did it better.

The record run included a few close calls (three-point wins over the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, a four-pointer over the Titans in Tennessee, and a two-point win over the 49ers in San Francisco). But the Seahawks also dominated some opponents (42-10 over the Houston Texans, 42-0 over the Eagles in Philadelphia, 41-3 over the 49ers at Qwest Field). They won at home (going 8-0). They won on the road (5-3). They won early (10 a.m. kickoffs in St. Louis and Tennessee). They won late (night games against Houston and Philadelphia).

The sum total: 13 wins and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which the Seahawks used to dispatch the Washington Redskins in the divisional round and the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship game.

That put the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl, where they – and the officials – committed enough mistakes to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 21-10 victory in Detroit.

As disappointing as that end result was, it didn’t dilute everything that came before it.

Mike Holmgren had been there before – in 1996 and 1997, when he led the Green Bay Packers to 13-3 records and berths in the Super Bowl. The Packers won the first, and lost the second.

Asked about the secret to that success during training camp in 2005, Holmgren said it was really no secret at all.

“For your team to have its best season,” he explained at the time, “your best players need to have their best seasons.” From Holmgren’s lips to the ears of Shaun Alexander. And Matt Hasselbeck. And Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, as well as Tobeck. And Mack Strong. And rookie Lofa Tatupu.

All were voted to the Pro Bowl that season, and for obvious reasons.

Alexander: He was selected the league MVP – becoming the first Seahawk to win the honor – after scoring an NFL-record 28 touchdowns and rushing for a league-leading 1,880 yards.

“Shaun does a great job,” Strong, his lead-blocking fullback, said at the time. “He sets guys up for me and makes my job a lot easier. He brings them in a way that you just get a good angle to block them.”

Jones and Hutchinson: They formed best side of any line in the league, as 20 of Alexander’s 27 rushing touchdowns came on runs behind his All-Pro left side. And Jones and Hutchinson made it look effortless as they flattened would-be tacklers in opening huge holes for the elusive Alexander.

They were at their best while reacting – and interacting – when things didn’t occur exactly as it had been drawn up in the playbook.

“It’s uncanny,” an NFC scout said at the time. “They’re better at it than any duo in the league.”

Said Jones: “We don’t have to say anything. We can communicate with a look or glance.”

Added Hutchinson: “It’s just automatic, and that’s important because during a game a defense can pick up on your calls. We don’t make a lot of calls.”

Just a lot of blocks.

Strong: The Seahawks averaged 153.6 rushing yards that season, and a lot of it started with the aptly named Strong. When in doubt, Alexander just followed his personal escort.

“Mack Strong, God, I love that guy,” Alexander said. “It’s just great to have a person who will lead you through the hole and loves his job, which is beating people up and taking the big hit for me.”

Hasselbeck: He did more than just hand the ball to Alexander that season. Holmgren’s handpicked passer threw for 3,459 yards and 24 touchdowns, with only nine interceptions. It made for a career-best – and conference-leading – 98.2 passer rating during the regular season. Hasselbeck was even better in the first two playoff games, when he fashioned a 109.6 rating by completing 36 of 54 passes for 434 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, against the Redskins and Panthers.

It was those postseason performances that prompted Warren Moon, the Hall of Fame QB turned radio analyst for the Seahawks, to offer, “They’ve been bringing all sorts of pressure, and he’s been able to elude the pressure sack. He’s always buying time. He’s making great throws. The thing that impresses me the most is his decision-making.”

Tatupu: The Seahawks traded up in the second round of the 2005 draft to select the middle linebacker who was perceived to be too short and too slow. Turns out, Tatupu was just too good. He led the team in tackles as a rookie, and also registered a career-high four sacks and intercepted three passes.

There were others, too. Like Bobby Engram, who led the team with 67 receptions. Like Joe Jurevicius, who caught 10 TD passes. Like Brown, who scored 110 points. Like strong safety Michael Boulware, who led the club in interceptions (four) and finished second in tackles (73). Like Marquand Manuel, who stepped in and stepped up at free safety after Ken Hamlin was lost for the season. Like defensive end Bryce Fisher, who had a team-leading nine sacks. Like rookie linebacker Leroy Hill, who had 7½ sacks (more than he totaled in the next four seasons). Like Tobeck, who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the only time in his 13-year NFL career.

And that’s how the Seahawks were able to turn in the best season in franchise history – by having their best players play their best.

Year in Review
14-3 (first in the NFC West)
2-1, beat Washington and Carolina before losing to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL
Paul Allen
Mike Holmgren
QB Matt Hasselbeck (off.), DE Grant Wistrom (def.), Alex Bannister (ST)
Man of the Year
RB Shaun Alexander
Largent Award
FB Mack Strong
Leading Passer
Hasselbeck (294 of 449 for 3,459 yards, with 24 TDs and 9 interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Alexander (1,880 yards)
Leading Receiver
WR Bobby Engram (67 receptions for 778 yards)
Leading Tackler(s)
MLB Lofa Tatupu (105)
Special Teams Tackles
KR Josh Scobey (23)
Interception Leader(s)
SS Michael Boulware (4)
Sack Leader
DE Bryce Fisher (9)
Leading Scorer(s)
Alexander (168 points)
Pro Bowl Selection(s)
Alexander, Hasselbeck, OG Steve Hutchinson, OT Walter Jones, Strong, Tatupu, C Robbie Tobeck
Alexander, Hutchinson, Jones, Strong (first team)


2005: Seahawks become Super

What turned out to be the most successful season in franchise history started out as so many others have for the Seahawks: Unimpressively.

2005 Games
Key Date
April 21, 2005

Signed LB Jamie Sharper and former University of Washington WR Jerome Pathon. Released veteran LB Chad Brown.

Key Date
October 23, 2005

The Seahawks defeated the Dallas Cowboys 13-10 on a 50-yard Josh Brown field goal as time expired. The winning kick was set up when Jordan Babineaux intercepted Drew Bledsoe and returned it to the Cowboys’ 32-yard line with :05 remaining.

Key Date
November 28, 2005

Mike Holmgren presented the Seahawks 12th Man with the game ball following the win over the Giants.

Key Date
December 5, 2005

Seattle trounced Philadelphia 42-0 on a snowy Monday Night Football game.

Seahawks Head to the Playoff for the First Time in 21 Years
January 14, 2005

The Seahawks ended their 21-year streak without a playoff win by defeating the Washington Redskins 20-10 in a Divisional Playoff Game at Qwest Field. 1/22 Hosting their first-ever Championship Game, Seattle routed the Carolina Panthers 34-14 earning their first trip to the Super Bowl in the club’s 30-year history.

Chris Spencer First Round Draft Pick
April 23, 2005

Drafted Mississippi center Chris Spencer in the first round (26th overall) of the NFL Draft.

Hosting Championship Game for the First Time
January 22, 2005

Hosting their first-ever Championship Game, Seattle routed the Carolina Panthers 34-14 earning their first trip to the Super Bowl in the club’s 30-year history.

First-Round Bye Secured
December 17, 2005

Seattle secured a first-round bye in the playoffs with a 28-24 come-from-behind win at Tennessee.

Key Date
February 22, 2005

Matt Hasselbeck signed a multi-year contract. Bob Ferguson was relieved of his duties as general manager. Shaun Alexander was named franchise player.

Key Date
July 27, 2005

Shaun Alexander signed one-year contract.

Key Date
February 16, 2005

T Walter Jones signed a multi-year contract.

Key Date
November 27, 2005

The Seahawks defeated the N.Y. Giants 24-21 in overtime after Giants’ kicker Jay Feely missed three game-winning field goal attempts. The Giants committed 16 penalties, including 11 false start penalties.

Key Date
June 8, 2005

Mike Phair and Mike Yowarsky hired to the college scouting department.

Set Club Record in Rushing Yards
October 16, 2005

Seattle set a club record with 320 yards rushing versus the Houston Texans on ESPN Sunday Night Football. Alexander rushed for four scores for the second time of the season.

Key Date
October 2, 2005

The Seahawks lost an overtime game at Washington to fall to 2-2 on the season. It was the last game the team would lose before winning a club-record 11 consecutive games.

Perfect Division Record
December 11, 2005

The Seahawks outscored the 49ers 41-3 marking a perfect 6-0 division record, first in team history.

Super Bowl XL
February 5, 2005

Matt Hasselbeck passes for 273 yards and Shaun Alexander runs for 95 yards, but the Seahawks can’t overcome their own mistakes and some dubious calls by the officials in dropping a 21-10 decision to the Steelers in Super Bowl XL – the franchise’s first appearance in the NFL title game.

Key Date
February 3, 2005

Mike Reinfeldt is named consultant.

Key Date
November 6, 2005

Shaun Alexander rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns, which included an 88-yard touchdown run tying his own franchise record.

Key Date
August 12, 2005

In a preseason matchup, the Seahawks defeated the Saints 34-15 in New Orleans just two weeks before Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

Key Date
January 14, 2005

Bob Whitsitt was relieved of his duties as president of football operations.

Home Field Advantage
December 24, 2005

Seattle clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 28-13 win over the 13-1 Indianapolis Colts.

Key Date
October 17, 2005

Seahawks S Ken Hamlin was victimized outside of a Seattle club following the game sustaining head injuries that ended his season.

Key Date
February 23, 2005

Tim Ruskell was introduced as the Seahawks’ president of football operations and became the primary decision maker regarding all player and personnel decisions, including oversight of the club's pro and college scouting departments.

Key Date
February 10, 2005

Bob Casullo is named special teams coach.

Key Date
March 24, 2005

Mike Reinfeldt named Vice President of Football Administration.

You know, we never really realized what we were doing at the time. Because we were just too busy doing it.
Pro Bowl center Robbie Tobeck
Mack Strong, God, I love that guy. It’s just great to have a person who will lead you through the hole and loves his job, which is beating people up and taking the big hit for me.
Shaun Alexander
2005 Season Schedule
Click on any game
to see full statistics.
9/11 AT Jacksonville 14-26 L
9/18 Atlanta 21-18 W
9/25 Arizona 37-12 W
10/2 AT Washington 17-20 L
10/9 AT St. Louis 37-31 W
10/16 Houston 42-10 W
10/23 Dallas 13-10 W
11/6 AT Arizona 33-19 W
11/13 St. Louis 31-16 W
11/20 AT San Francisco 27-25 W
11/27 New York Giants 24-21 W
12/5 AT Philadelphia 42-0 W
12/11 San Francisco 41-3 W
12/18 AT Tennessee 28-24 W
12/24 Indianapolis 28-13 W
1/1 AT Green Bay 17-23 L
1/14 Washington Divisional Playoff 20-10 W
1/22 Carolina Conference Champ. 34-14 W
2/5 AT Pittsburgh Superbowl 10-21 L
2005 Record
Playoffs: 2-1
2005 Offense
C Chris Spencer 0
C Robbie Tobeck 16
G Chris Gray 16
G Joey Hollenbeck 0
G Steve Hutchinson 16
T Wayne Hunter 0
T Walter Jones 15
T Sean Locklear 1
T Sean Locklear 15
T Jerry Wunsch 0
T Ray Willis 0
T Floyd Womack 0
TE Ryan Hannam 5
TE Jerramy Stevens 12
TE Itula Mili 0
WR Peter Warrick 5
WR Joe Jurevicius 11
WR Jerheme Urban 0
WR Darrell Jackson 6
WR Alex Bannister 0
WR Bobby Engram 13
WR D.J. Hackett 0
QB David Greene 0
QB Matt Hasselbeck 16
QB Seneca Wallace 0
FB Mack Strong 7
RB Leonard Weaver 0
RB Josh Scobey 0
RB Maurice Morris 0
RB Dante Brown 0
RB Shaun Alexander 16
+ View All-Time Roster
2005 Defense
DE Robert Pollard 0
DE Jeb Huckeba 0
DE Bryce Fisher 15
DE Alain Kashama 0
DE Joe Tafoya 0
DE Rodney Bailey 0
DE Grant Wistrom 16
DT Craig Terrill 0
DT Ron Smith 0
DT Marcus Tubbs 11
DT Rocky Bernard 2
DT Rocky Bernard 5
DT Chartric Darby 14
LB Tony Donald 0
LB Isaiah Kacyvenski 0
LB Niko Koutouvides 0
LB Kevin Bentley 3
LB Cornelius Wortham 0
MLB Lofa Tatupu (R) 16
OLB Leroy Hill (R) 9
OLB D.D. Lewis 12
OLB Jamie Sharper 8
CB Andre Dyson 5
CB Marcus Trufant 15
CB Kelly Herndon 6
DB Michael Harden 0
DB Jordan Babineaux 4
DB Jimmy Williams 0
DB Etric Pruitt 0
DB Kevin House 0
DB John Howell 0
FS Marquand Manuel 11
FS Ken Hamlin 6
SS Michael Boulware 16
+ View All-Time Roster
2005 Special Teams
K Josh Brown 16
LS J.P. Darche 0
P Tom Rouen 12
P Leo Araguz 0
+ View All-Time Roster
Out of the Blue

VIDEO: Out of the Blue

Legends Interview: Robbie Tobeck

VIDEO: Legends Interview: Robbie Tobeck

Seahawks Legends Interview: Walter Jones

VIDEO: Seahawks Legends Interview: Walter Jones

On this Day in Seahawks History