Seahawks Death Week: An Appreciation Of The 2012 Seattle Seahawks

The two best overall seasons in Seattle Seahawks history are the 2005 Super Bowl team, and the 1983 AFC Championship Game-losing team.  The 2005 Seahawks went 13-3 (best regular season record in team history), went on to beat the Redskins and Panthers before losing to the Steelers.  The 1983 Seahawks went 9-7, snuck in as a Wild Card team (back when they had three divisions and chose only 5 teams per conference to go to the playoffs, with the division winners all getting first-round BYEs), beat rookie John Elway and his Denver Broncos, then went into Miami (with the best record in the AFC) and beat rookie Dan Marino, before losing to the Los Angeles Raiders in the title game.

I reference these two seasons, because those are the only two times the Seahawks ever made it past the Divisional Round of the playoffs.  The 1984 Seahawks had the second-best regular season record in franchise history – 12-4 – but thanks to the Broncos being one game better, the Seahawks were once again stuck in the Wild Card game.  They made it to the Divisional Round that year, but got reamed by the Miami Dolphins, and didn’t see another playoff game until the 1987 season.

Success is fleeting, is what I’m trying to say.  I was alive at the time, but I was a very small child and remember nothing of this time in Seahawks history.  What I do know is the city of Seattle and surrounding areas were on cloud nine when it came to the Seahawks.  They thought, SURELY we were in for some extended good fortune.  Then, the Seahawks went 8-8 and found themselves third in the AFC West in 1985.  In 1986, the Seahawks went 10-6, but once again found themselves third in the AFC West and on the outside-looking-in at the playoffs.  When they went back to the playoffs in ’87, they lost in the first round to the Oilers.  The very next year, the Seahawks were division winners at 9-7 and had a first round BYE.  But, they had to go to Cincinnati (because we had the worst record among the division winners) and lost again.

It would be 11 more seasons before the Seahawks made the playoffs again, at the time the longest drought in the NFL.

One could argue we’ve been a little spoiled, but really that’s loser talk.  However, if you talked to Teenage Me from the 1990s, I’d tell you that making the playoffs in 7 out of the last 10 years (which is what the Seahawks have done, dating back to 2003) is an embarrassment of riches!  Not only that, but it’s been merely five seasons since the last great Seahawks team (not counting the 2010 squad that hardly deserved to be there, division winners at 7-9; that was NOT a good team, in spite of their victory over the Saints).  The last great Seahawks era – the Mike Holmgren Era – ended in ignominy in 2008 after five consecutive playoff appearances and four consecutive division titles.  Then, there was the Jim Mora Jr. disaster of a 2009.  Then, Pete Carroll and John Schneider came to town in 2010, and they started completely cleaning house.  Two seasons after that improbable division title, the Seahawks have returned to glory.

2012 was resoundingly great.

2012 ranks 3rd all time in franchise history in regular season wins with 11 (behind the aforementioned 2005 and 1984 teams).  2012 ranks 3rd all time in total points scored (412, behind 2005’s 452 and 1984’s 418).  2012 ranks 2nd all time in least points allowed (245, behind 1982’s 147 in a strike-shortened 9-game season).  2012 ranks 2nd all time in point differential (+167, behind 2005’s +181).

In 2012, the Seahawks ranked #1 in the NFL in points allowed and #4 in the NFL in yards allowed (which are both franchise highs in finishes).  The 2012 Seahawks’ average margin of victory was 10.4 points, which ranks #2 behind 2005’s 11.3.  However, the 2012 Seahawks rank 7th among all Seahawks teams in toughest strength of schedule (the 2005 Seahawks schedule ranks among the 8th-easiest in franchise history).

Russell Wilson had the greatest rookie season of any quarterback in NFL history.  There have been rookie quarterbacks that went further in the playoffs.  There have been rookie quarterbacks who threw for more yards (11 in fact, with Andrew Luck leading the pack).  But, the combination of yards, touchdowns, lack of interceptions, and playoff games won, I believe, puts Wilson ahead of all the rest.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 1,590 yards, good for #3 in the NFL.  It’s also good for #3 in Seahawks history (behind 2005 Shaun Alexander’s 1,880 and 2004 Shaun Alexander’s 1,696).  Lynch ran for 5.05 yards per attempt, which is good for #2 in Seahawks history (behind 2005 Alexander’s 5.08).  Lynch also tacked on 23 catches for 196 yards and a combined total of 12 touchdowns rushing & receiving.  All in all, one of the best running back seasons we’ve ever seen in this city.  And he did it AFTER signing a big, fat contract extension.

Sidney Rice and Golden Tate made huge strides in leading this team in receiving.  They weren’t breaking any records, but given their past production for this team, and the overall lack of receiving production in recent years, and I’ll take the numbers they’re peddling.  50 catches for 748 yards and 7 TDs for Rice; 45 catches for 688 yards and 7 TDs for Tate.

Among kick returners with a minimum of 500 kick return yards, Leon Washington ranked third in the NFL in average yards per return with a shade over 29.  That’s coming from a guy who just turned 30 this past August!

On the defensive side of the ball, the Seahawks had two guys with 100 tackles or more (Wagner with 140, Chancellor with an even 100).  For as much as we lament the pass rush, Clemons finished with a career-high 11.5 sacks and Bruce Irvin finished with 8 as a rookie (which led all rookies).

Richard Sherman had 8 interceptions, tied for 2nd in the NFL behind Tim Jennings with 9.  Three other Seahawks had 3 interceptions each (Wagner, Earl Thomas, and Brandon Browner, in only 12 games).

And, let us not forget the 2012 Seattle Seahawks 1st Team All Pro’s!  They would be Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, Richard Sherman, and Earl Thomas.  All deserving, all amazing, all under contract for ever-so-long.

The Seahawks went 4-1 against 2012 playoff teams in the regular season (and 1-1 against 2012 playoff teams in the post-season).

They have an offensive rookie of the year finalist (who probably won’t win) and a defensive rookie of the year finalist (who also probably won’t win).  They’re a great team that’s only going to get better and they lose no one of significance to free agency.  They have the best home field advantage in the NFL, they play a 2nd place schedule next season (which essentially means they play the Vikings instead of the Packers, and the Giants instead of the Redskins).

It’s exciting to be a Seahawks fan right now.  And if they ever push themselves over the hump and go all the way, my sports life will officially be complete.

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