BY Steve Rudman 07:31AM 01/30/2014

Seahawks vs. Broncos: A rivalry scrapbook

The Seahawks have not faced Denver since 2010, but the clubs played each other 50 times when both were in the AFC West (1977-01). Denver leads the all-time series 34-18.

Steve Largent caught 100 passes during his career against the Denver Broncos, including 12 for 191 yards at Mile High Stadium in 1984. / David Eskenazi Collection

The Seahawks and Denver Broncos, entrants in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday at MetLife Stadium, faced each other 53 times since their first official squabble Oct. 2, 1977, including 52 times in regular-season play and once in the playoffs (Dec. 24, 1983). The first 50 were when Seattle was a member of the AFC West (1977-01).

Denver holds the series lead, 34-18, and the Seahawks won the only postseason game. While the Broncos sport a huge edge in wins, the games have been remarkably close. Thirty of the 53 have been decided by a touchdown or less and a dozen by three or fewer points.

The series involved 11 head coaches (five for Denver, six for Seattle) and showcased the talents of 11 Hall of Famers, notably QB John Elway (1983-98), Shannon Sharpe (1990-03) and Gary Zimmerman (1993-97) of Denver and Steve Largent (1976-89), Cortez Kennedy (19990-00) and Warren Moon (1997-98) of Seattle.

Seattle vs. Denver (1977-10)

Category Seahawks Broncos Skinny
Games 53 53 Includes 31-7 Seattle playoff win, 1983
Won 19 34 Seahawks’ last win Dec. 3, 2006, 23-20
Long Win Streak 3 6 Denver’s win streak spanned 1996-98
Current Streak L 1 W 1 Last game Sept. 19, 2010; Denver 31-14
Total Points 1,042 1,229 Five games in rivalry have gone into OT
Biggest Win 28 (1988) 27 (1996) Seahawks beat Broncos 42-14, 1988
Shutouts 0 0 Lowest score: Denver won 10-6, 1992

Game-by-game Notes / Top performances

Seattle’s best vs. Denver: In 12 games against the Broncos, Curt Warner ran for 1,245 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 103.8 yards per game, his highest total against any team. Honorable mention: Steve Largent caught 100 passes, nine for TDs, in 25 games against the Broncos.

Denver’s best vs. Seattle: Elway had a 20-10 record, threw for 7,013 yards and 44 touchdowns. Honorble mention: In seven starts against the Seahawks, RB Terrell Davis rushed for 1,021 yards and popped two 50-yard runs.

Best single-game performance, Seattle: In a 27-24 victory at Mile Stadium Nov. 25, 1984, Largent caught 12 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown in a 27-24 victory.

Best single-game performance, Denver: On Oct. 11, 1998, Davis averaged 9.1 yards per carry en route to 208 yards and a touchdown in a 21-16 Broncos win in the Kingdome. Davis’s total was the second-most allowed by the Seahawks (221 by Bo Jackson, 1987).

First meeting: Oct. 2, 1977: Seattle backup quarterback Steve Myer made the only start of his career, replacing the injured Jim Zorn, and threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to TE Ron Howard. But the Broncos parlayed three turnovers and a 47-yard Craig Morton touchdown to Rob Lytle to beat the Seahawks 24-13. For Seattle, the highlight was a 43-yard TD pass from RB David Sims to Largent.

Seahawks’ original 12th Man, Oct. 29, 1978. When Denver PK Jim Turner missed an 18-yard chip shot in overtime, the Seahawks thought they had averted a loss. Instead, they were penalized for having 12 men – DE Dave Kraayeveld being the extra party – on the field, allowing Turner a re-take. He drilled it, giving the Broncos a 20-17 victory.

Mile High meltdown, Sept. 23, 1979: The Seahawks held a 34-10 lead in the third quarter following a one-yard run by Sherman Smith. But Morton threw three touchdown passes in the final 13 minutes and Lytle scored on a one-yard run as the Broncos came from 24 points down to win 37-34.

The playoff game, Dec. 24, 1983: The Seahawks made their NFL playoff debut a spectacular one, demolishing the Broncos 31-7. Dave Krieg triggered the victory, completing 12 of 13 passes, including his last 10 in a row, for 200 yards and three touchdowns. The Seahawks also created three turnovers, interceptions by Kerry Justin and Paul Moyer and a forced fumble by Shelton Robinson. “It’s hard to beat anybody when they execute the way Seattle did,” Denver coach Dan Reeves said. “We played a team that made no mistakes.”

Best start to a game, Nov. 25, 1984: On the first scrimmage play, Krieg launched an 80-yard touchdown pass to Daryl Turner. The Seahawks went on to a 27-24 victory. Krieg went on to post the second-best passing total of his career, 406 yards, 191 to Largent.

A tradition begins, Dec. 15, 1984: The Seahawks closed out a 12-4 regular season with a 31-14 loss to the Broncos in the Kingdome, but officially retired jersey No. 12 in honor of their fans, the 12th Man.

Brian Bosworth’s T-shirt Scam, 1987. In the days before his first NFL game at Mile High Stadium, Bosworth told reporters he was looking forward to playing against Elway, whom he repeatedly characterized as “Mr. Ed,” the horse of 1960s sitcom fame. Said Bosworth: “You very rarely get a chance to get a shot on somebody like that. I’m going to take as many hard shots as I can get on him.” Asked if wanted to hurt Elway, Bosworth replied, “Yeah, that’s just the way I approach the game. It might cost us 15 yards for roughing, but I’m not going to pull off on him.” Having enraged Denver fans with his trash talk, Bosworth (and his agent) secretly printed up hundreds of “Boz-Buster” T-shirts bearing his image, and made a tidy sum selling them to duped Broncos’ fans.

Steve Largent’s payback, Dec. 11, 1988. On Sept. 4, during the Seahawks’ season opener at Mile High Stadium, Largent ran a pass route over the middle only to get crushed by Broncos safety Mike Harden, who delivered an illegal forearm smash that caved in Largent’s facemask, dislodged a couple of his teeth and knocked him unconscious. The NFL fined Harden $5,000.

Fast forward to Week 15 for the Denver-Seattle rematch at the Kingdome. Early in the first half, Harden picked off a Krieg pass and began running it back. As he moved from the middle of the field toward the left sideline, Harden had his eyes fixed ahead and was, apparently, the only person in the Kingdome who did not see Largent streaking across the field, bearing down on him. In a moment that still delights Seahawks fans, Largent’s blindside blast lifted Harden off his feet, forcing a fumble that Largent recovered. The play brought everyone in the Kingdome, save Harden, to their feet. For years afterward, NFL Films featured the play among its all-time greatest hits.

The Pete Gross game, Nov. 30, 1992: The Seahawks inducted the popular broadcaster, days away from losing his battle with cancer, into the club’s Ring of Honor, as a prelude to a 16-13 Monday Night victory over the Broncos. Stan Gelbaugh connected with Brian Blades with a 3-yard TD pass on the game’s final play and John Kasay booted a 32-yard field goal 11:10 into overtime. At 71 minutes, 10 seconds, it’s the second-longest game in franchise history.

The 20-point comeback, Dec. 10, 1995: John Friesz came off the bench to engineer three fourth-quarter touchdown drives as the Seahawks rallied from a 20-0 deficit to win at Mile High 31-27. The 20-point comeback was, at the time, the largest in franchise history, and negated a tremendous performance by Denver’s Glyn Milburn, who broke a 34-year-old NFL record with 404 all-purpose yards.

The Glenn Cadrez fumble return, Dec. 19, 1999: Seattle QB Jon Kitna had the Seahawks on the move at Mile High, hoping for a field goal and a 33-30 overtime victory. Sending out five receivers, Kitna dropped back to pass, only to be smashed in the chest by Ray Crockett. The ball bounced loose and into the arms of Glenn Cadrez, who returned it 37 yards to the game-winning touchdown, the only TD of his 11-year NFL career.

An improbable rally, Dec. 3, 2006: At halftime, PK Josh Brown missed from 40 and 53 yards, Matt Hasselbeck had thrown for only 39, Shaun Alexander had run for 15 and the Seahawks, with six 3-and-outs in their first eight possessions, went to the locker room trailing 13-7. But Seattle rallied with an Alexander TD to start the fourth quarter and Brown added three field goals, giving the Seahawks a 23-20 victory. Brown’s last, from 50 yards, came at the 14:55 mark, enabling him to tie an NFL record with his fourth winning field goal in the final minute.

Last meeting, Sept. 19, 2010: In the hottest game ever played in Denver, 91 degrees, the Seahawks could not overcome four turnovers and lost 31-14. Matt Hasselbeck threw an 11-yard TD to Ben Obamanu and ran 20 yards for a touchdown, but also pitched three interceptions.

Extreme temps: The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 23-20 Dec. 3, 2006 at Denver when the temperature was 16 degrees, Seattle’s coldest game. The Seahawks and Broncos also played in 22 degrees Dec. 10, 2000 and in 27 degrees Dec. 19, 1999. The teams also met on an 85-degree day Sept. 13, 1987.

100-yard rushers: Warner had five for Seattle with a high of 192 and three TDs in a 41-16 victory Dec. 20, 1986. Davis produced seven for the Broncos, with a high of 208 in a 21-16 Denver victory Oct. 11, 1998.

2 100-yard rushers: The Seahawks featured two in their 42-14 victory Dec. 11, 1988. Curt Warner ran for 126, John L. Williams 109. That was one of three games in franchise history in which Seattle had multiple 100-yard rushers.

400-yard passers: Krieg delivered two 400-yard games for the Seahawks, both against the Broncos, 418 Nov. 20, 1983 an 406 Nov. 25, 1984. Elway countered with a 432-yard show Dec. 20, 1985 in a 27-24 Denver victory.

100-yard receivers: Largent and Brian Blades had three each for the Seahawks. Denver has had 12 100-yard receiving games, topped by Rod Smith’s 158 Dec. 27, 1998.

2 100-yard receivers: The Seahawks have twice had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game. In the contest in which Warner and Williams cracked the 100-yard rushing mark, Williams (180) and Blades (123) both topped 100 receiving yards.


  • jafabian

    I miss the AFC West. Until Harbaugh joined the 49ers I never got excited about any division games whereas every game in the AFC West was practically a rivalry game. With Oakland there was Raider Busters. Denver had Dan Reeves and Mr. Ed. San Diego had Air Coryell and we hardly EVER won in Kansas City as Deron Cherry led the pre-Legion of Boom. Amazing that Cherry used to be a punter.

    Curt Waner seemed to always have his best games against the Broncos. And of course the amazing hit that Largent did on S Mike Harden after Harden intercepted a Krieg to Blades pass will forever be remembered. For him to get Harden after Harden did a Kam Chancellor to him causing him to miss games was pure karma. I like to YouTube it occasionally. What’s funny is after the hit for a moment Largent stood and glared at Harden even though the ball came loose from Harden’s grasp and Blair Bush had to shove him and yell “Loose ball!” Then Largent dove on it. You can see Largent kind of strut back to the huddle. He knew exactly what happened and what he did.

    • oldfan

      I’ve got to disagree here. Much as we thought of the Raiders and Broncos as rivals, they repeatedly denied any such feelings for us (they considered us upstart newcomers). I doubt you find the 49ers saying anything like that.
      And before the ‘Niners rivalry we had a long standing struggle with the Rams for divisional supremacy through most of the early Holmgren years.
      I’ve got fond memories of those AFC West years too, but I’m loving it here in the NFC.

      Go Hawks!