BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 12/23/2014

Seahawks’ dominance produces a rare result

In only eight games in NFL history did a team rack up more than 500 total yards and simultaneously hold its opponent to fewer than seven points on the road.

Russell Wilson needed 12 more rushing yards to create a franchise first Sunday. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Last thing anyone – you, me, and Las Vegas swamis — expected from the Seahawks Sunday night, especially against one of the best defenses in the NFL, and on the road, was a 300-yard passer, nearly two 100-yard rushers, two 100-yard receivers, an 80-yard catch-and-run by a tight end who outraced a safety for more than half the field, and a near-repeat of Beast Quake.

Imagine the depth and breadth of carnage if Seattle hadn’t played with so many backups. Or if Steven Hauschka hadn’t clanked three field goals all within his range. Or if Marshawn Lynch, ailing with a bad boiler, played the first quarter.

“That,” Pete Carroll said after Seattle’s 35-6 demolition of the Arizona Cardinals, “was just about the most fun you can have in football.”

True enough. And that was, in a narrow sense, one of the most rare games in NFL history.

Start with the fact that since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, only four teams amassed more  yards in a road victory than the Seahawks, who piled up a franchise-record 596 at University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday night.

The Washington Redskins accumulated 676 at Detroit Nov. 4, 1990, New England 622 at Miami Sept. 12, 2011, Arizona 615 at Washington Nov. 10, 1996, and Minnesota 605 at New Orleans Oct. 17, 2004.

But in only eight games since 1940 did a team on the road, against an opponent with a .500 or better record, total more than 500 yards AND limit the foe to seven or fewer points, as the Seahawks did. One was played in the 1940s, another in the 1950s, four more in the 1980s.

Not counting Seattle’s eye-popper Sunday, in only one of those other games – Bears at Giants Nov. 14, 1943 – did a team gain more yards than the Seahawks posted against the Cardinals. And in only one of those other games – Cincinnati at New England Dec. 7, 1986 – did the winning team (Bengals) defeat an opponent that had 10 or more wins entering the contest, as did the Seahawks, who stuffed the 11-3 Cardinals. The eight games:

Year Date Winner Coach Opponent Yards Score
1943 Nov. 14 Chi (6-0-1) Hunk Anderson at NYG (2-2-1) 682 56-7
1952 Oct. 19 Clev (2-1) Paul Brown at Phil (2-1) 507 49-7
1980 Sept. 14 Phil (1-0) Dick Vermeil at Minn (1-0) 529 42-7
1986 Nov. 2 NYJ (7-1) Joe Walton at Sea (5-3) 553 38-7
1986 Dec. 7 Cin (8-5) Sam Wyche at NE (10-3) 594 31-7
1988 Sept. 25 SF (2-1) Bill Walsh at Sea (2-1) 580 38-7
2011 Oct. 23 Hou (3-3) Gary Kubiak at Tenn (3-2) 519 41-7
2014 Dec. 21 Sea (10-4) Pete Carroll at Ariz (11-3) 596 35-6

As the chart indicates, Seattle was on the losing end of two such games, in 1986 and 1988, debacles now put to rest.

Seattle’s 596 yards Sunday broke by five the club mark of 591 set Dec. 29, 2002 in a 31-28 victory at San Diego that featured 449 passing yards from QB Matt Hasselbeck and 100-yard receiving games by Itula Mili (119) and Koren Robinson (103).

Good Hand Luke

Russell Wilson targeted TE Luke Willson three times Sunday and the Rice product, who clocked a 4.5-second 40 at the NFL combine before the 2012 draft, responded with three receptions for 139 yards. His first TD, an 80-yarder, gave Seattle a 7-3 lead. His second, of 20 yards, upped the advantage to 21-6. Willson also nearly turned a 39-yard reception into a third touchdown.

Willson not only set a franchise record for most receiving yards in a game with three or fewer targets (includes all receivers), he became the second tight end in club history to crack 100 with three or fewer. Anthony McCoy, injured the last two years, had 105 yards on three targets in a 58-0 wipeout of the Cardinals Dec. 2, 2012.

Willson also came within a yard of matching the club record for most single-game receiving yards by a tight end. Charle Young had 140 on seven receptions against San Diego Oct. 9, 1983.

300-100-100

Wilson threw for 339 yards (two TDs) and ran for 88 more (one TD), missing by 12 rushing yards of duplicating his one-of-a-kind, 300/100 game posted against the Rams in St. Louis Oct. 19 (313/106).

Along with Michael Vick, Wilson is one of two players in NFL history with multiple games of 300+ passing yards and 75+ rushing yards. In reverse chronological order, the list:

Year Date Quarterback Team Opponent Pass/TD Rush/TD
2014 Dec. 21 Russell Wilson Seahawks Cardinals 339/2 88/1
2014 Oct. 19 Russell Wilson Seahawks Rams 313/2 106/1
2011 Oct. 9 Michael Vick Eagles Bills 315/2 90/0
2011 Oct. 2 Michael Vick Eagles 49ers 416/2 75/0
2010 Nov. 15 Michael Vick Eagles Redskins 333/4 80/2
2006 Oct. 22 Donovan McNabb Eagles Buccaneers 302/3 76/0
2000 Oct. 8 Rich Gannon Raiders 49ers 310/2 85/1
1989 Dec. 18 R. Cunningham Eagles Saints 306/2 92/0

Had Wilson hit 100 rushing yards, the Seahawks would have had a franchise first: A 300-yard passer (Wilson), two 100-yard rushers (Wilson, Lynch), and two 100-yard receivers (Willson, Doug Baldwin).

As it was, Wilson (339 passing), Lynch (113 rushing), Willson (139 receiving) and Baldwin (113 receiving), became the second quartet in club annals to pull off that rare feat.

On Nov. 30, 2002, Matt Hasselbeck (328 passing), Shaun Alexander (127 rushing), Koren Robinson (122 receiving) and Darrell Jackson (102 receiving) beat Cleveland 34-7 win with four centurians.

Flag fest

Sunday’s game would have turned into a rout far earlier if the Seahawks hadn’t been flagged for 10 first-half penalties to one for the Chargers. For the second consecutive season, the Seahawks lead the NFL in penalties (128), but will probably finish with a lower total than the 2013 team incurred (152) en route to the Super Bowl.

The major difference between this year and last: This year’s team is sloppier in advance of the snap, drawing a galling 61 infractions (false start, illegal motion, delay of game, etc.) to last year’s 52. The rash of mental miscues drew a rebuke from NBC’s Chris Collinsworth during the broadcast Sunday night.

“They need to clean that up during the playoffs,” he said. “They are making it harder on themselves than it needs to be.”

 


YourThoughts

  • Schaefdawg

    Imagine how much fun this game would have been had it been played in Seattle. Scary.

    Collingsworth, who seemed to be cheerleading for the Redbirds all night, is correct about the penalties. I could see the second offsides coming, and I’ve got bad eyes for crying out loud!! Still, the end result is pretty damn impressive.

    And does anyone thing the Broncos are any better than they were last year? Peyton is not the Peyton of old. Yes, he can be fooled, and defenses like ours and Cincy are going to make life hard for him.

    So, who scares us most? Dallas, Green Bay, or the Patriots.

    • jafabian

      None of them. The Seahawks are a different team than when the Cowboys played them, especially with Harvin gone. He used to be the focus of the Hawks offense. The Hawks dominated the Packers earlier this season and the Packers really aren’t and like the Broncos before them the Patriots haven’t played a defense anything like the Hawks. The closest are the Chiefs and the Bills. They beat the Bills 37-22 but lost to the Chiefs 41-14. Neither of these teams have the offense of the Hawks.

      I’d rather face the Steelers than the Patriots in the Super Bowl anyways.

    • eYeDEF

      It’s funny you think Collinsworth was cheering for the cards. Having read through some cards threads firing the game, their fans were claiming the opposite. The truth is that Collinsworth is effusive about everyone.

  • jafabian

    A very telling statistic for the ’86 and ’88 Seahawks teams. After their success in ’83 the core group was kept together for longer than they had a right to be. As a result they soon couldn’t keep up with the Raiders and Broncos or even Air Coryell and the pre-Legion of Boom in KC at times. They simply got old. It’s no wonder in his last year with the team Knox wanted to draft Cortez Kennedy. On a more positive note the team records the current team keeps breaking seem to be ones set during the Knox era.

    • eYeDEF

      There was no free agency in that day and age, so the only way to ensure the core group didn’t remain together would be too have outstanding drafts which the seahawks did not do. So they didn’t have much of a choice than to lean on vets they completely controlled.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Prior to the big Sunday night tilt Bruce Arians was commenting about their game in Seattle: “We let Russ get out of the pocket too often and let them score FGs”…so the next time it still happens only the result was mostly TDs. They game plan for it and still cant stop it.

    Fear of the unknown has defenses perplexed and is the funnest part of watching this offense. And the D is playing just as spectacular.

    Mike Bennett was lauding this Defense as the best ever~certainly in Seahawk history. Dispatch this ornery Ram team and we will talk about that.

    Now that we are officially in the Play~offs we can talk about match ups. In Sea play off history We beat the raiders twice in a season then lost to them in the Playoffs so Im not even worried about that Dallas regular season win. If we play them there will be plenty of motivation on the Defense to prove that was a team in turmoil thing when nothing went right that day.If we are the home team the D feeds off of the crowd frenzy.

    Beat the Rams and we wont have to play on that frozen field in Green Bay (if the tie gods take a weekend off) and either NFC north team would come here to face a jazzed up play off crowd here. I feel good about our NFC chances.

    You know thats after we go 1~0 this week. Go Hawks!

  • Scott Crosser

    chargers, edit

  • http://rip-ragged.com/dross Raymond Meyers

    I’ll bet real money that the ‘Hawks comfortably cover a 10-point spread in each game they play between now and March. Their AFC opponent on 2/2 will suffer the same humiliating fate as last year’s victim.