BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 10/13/2015

Seahawks: 2 historic feats, one good, one bad

Rookie Thomas Rawls produced a Beast Mode-like performance in Cincinnati Sunday, but Seattle’s 17-point, fourth-quarter meltdown overshadowed his amazing effort.

Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren twice presided over clubs that blew 17-point, fourth-quarter leads. / Sportspress Northwest file

As the Seahawks sift through the wreckage of their 27-24 overtime gag to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, they can console themselves that they have uncovered a rare prize in rookie RB Thomas Rawls, who pounded out 169 yards on 23 carries and scored on a 69-yard run reminiscent of the best of Beast Mode. The Seahawks can also kick themselves for a meltdown almost unprecedented in franchise history.

As Elias pointed out, only three teams coming off a Super Bowl appearance the previous season blew a fourth-quarter lead of 17 or more points.

The 1992 Washington Redskins led the Phoenix Cardinals by 18 points (24-6) Oct. 4 that year and lost 27-24 in large part because Robert Massey returned interceptions 31 and 41 yards for touchdowns, both times victimizing former Washington State star and reigning Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien.

On Oct. 6, 2003, Tampa Bay led Indianapolis by 21 points (35-14) with 5:09 to play, but fell victim to a Peyton Manning onslaught that resulted in a 38-35 OT victory for the Colts.

In the Pete Carroll era (since 2010), the Seahawks have lost 12 games in which they held a fourth-quarter lead ranging from one to 17 points. Three of those are this season. Before Sunday’s 17-point choke, the Seahawks blew a seven-point lead with 4:39 remaining at St. Louis Sept. 13. They also held a 17-16 lead over the Packers at Lambeau Field Sept. 20 with 9:38 left and couldn’t hold off Aaron Rodgers and lost 27-17.

The five largest of the 12 fourth-quarter blown leads since Carroll became head coach (BL=blown lead):

Year Date Opp. Lead Time BL Final
2015 Oct. 11 at Cincinnati 24-7 3:28 17 L 27-24 in overtime
2011 Nov. 27 vs. Washington 17-7 12:45 10 L 23-17 (Allw. 2TDs, FG)
2012 Nov. 25 at Miami 21-14 7:54 7 L 24-21 (Allw. TD, FG)
2015 Sept. 13 at St. Louis 31-24 4:39 7 L 34-31 in overtime
2013 Oct. 6 at Indianapolis 28-23 8:55 5 L 34-28 on 49-yard FG

Carroll coached at USC the last time the Seahawks squandered a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, which matches the largest in franchise history. In fact, two such games preceded Sunday’s, both coached by Mike Holmgren (of which he probably doesn’t need to be reminded):

Nov. 23, 2003: Led 41-24 at Baltimore, lost 44-41 in OT (17 points)

After Matt Hasselbeck threw a 5-yard TD to Bobby Engram to stake Seattle to a 41-24 lead with 14:16 to play, the Ravens scored on a 16-yard blocked punt return by Ed Reed and on a 9-yard TD pass from Anthony Wright to Marcus Robinson. Matt Stover’s 49-yard field goal forced OT and Stover won it with a 42-yarder.

Oct. 10, 2004: Led 27-10 at CenturyLink, lost 33-27 in OT (17 points)

Josh Brown’s 34-yard field goal gave Seattle a 27-10 lead with 8:42 to play, but Marc Bulger threw two TD passes and Jeff Wilkins kicked a 26-yard field goal to force overtime. Bulger won it for the Rams with a 52-yard TD pass to Shaun McDonald in overtime.

Dishonorable mention: Seattle’s 37-34 loss at Denver Sept. 23, 1979 doesn’t qualify because the blown lead largely occurred in the third quarter, not the fourth. In that humiliation, the Seahawks rolled to a 34-10 lead at Mile High Stadium as Dan Doornink scored twice and Jim Zorn threw two touchdowns. The Broncos’ Craig Morton responded with three consecutive TD passes to pull Denver within 34-31, and Rob Lytle won it the fourth quarter on a one-yard run, completing a 27-point turnaround.

Rare rookie

Thrust into the starting lineup when the Seahawks were forced to leave Marshawn Lynch home with a hamstring injury, Rawls, the former Central Michigan Chippewa, recorded his second 100-yard rushing game (104 vs. Chicago) of the season and the highest rushing total by a Seattle back since Shaun Alexander put up 201 against Green Bay in 2006.

Over the past 50 years, only two undrafted rookie free agents posted a higher single-game rushing mark than Rawls did Sunday. Dominic Rhodes of Midwestern State and the Indianapolis Colts had a 177-yard game against the Atlanta Falcons Dec. 16, 2001, and Samkon Gado of Liberty University and the Green Bay Packers ran for 171 against Detroit Dec. 11, 2005.

Covering the same span, seven undrafted rookies have produced 150 or more rushing yards in a game. Rawls is the first since 2010 when two players accomplished the feat.

Year Date Player Team Yards Skinny
2001 Dec. 16 Dominic Rhodes Colts 177 2 11-yard TDs vs. Atlanta
2005 Dec. 11 Samkon Gado Packers 171 64-yard TD vs. Detroit
2015 Oct. 11 Thomas Rawls Seahawks 169 69-yard TD at Cincinnati
2010 Dec. 26 LeGarrett Blount Buccaneers 164 Bucs 38, Seahawks 15
1998 Dec. 20 James Allen Bears 163 1 TD in 24-3 win over Balt
2010 Oct. 17 Chris Ivory Saints 158 0 TDs vs. Tampa Bay
2007 Dec. 9 Ryan Grant Packers 156 6-yard TD vs. Raiders

Rawls might be different, but none of the other players on the list amounted to much. The most successful: Chris Ivory, who spent the 2006-08 seasons at Washington State University. Signed by New Orleans as a free agent, Ivory spent three years with the Saints before they traded him to the Jets. Ivory has had seven 100-yard games since his 158-yard effort against Tampa Bay, including a career-high 166 against Miami two weeks ago in London.

Blount, the former Oregon star, won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in February.


  • jafabian

    Evidently there’s something of an adjustment going on with Kris Richard’s defensive schemes as the new DC. As a whole the defense has been inconsistent though Michael Bennett may have cost the team a TD with his roughing the passer penalty on Earl Thomas’ INT return as well as the struggles of Cary Williams. The upcoming schedule is favorable though.

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  • MrPrimeMinister

    Time to dust off the ol wildcard possibilities manual. Haven’t had to use it for awhile.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      It was 2012 …I remember it well.We unconsciously dismantled RGIII’s football career by knocking him out of his first play off start on that quagmire of a field at Washington…. then Came the nightmare in Atlanta. A come from behind victory that wasn’t and Suddenly Russell Wilson was playing in Hawaii the following weekend.
      Who knows?Maybe we meet the Atlanta Falcons once again in the play offs.
      Keep studying that wild card manual.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Things should have gone our way and didn’t. Since that ill fated pass in the SB the breaks haven’t gone Seattles way if you throw out that bears game.

    If there is such a thing as a law of averages they should be due for a landslide of luck in a few weeks.
    A few weeks is about all they have to right the ship. They always have the edge at home and nobody needs to beg the Hawks to be up for a hated rival(SF next week).

    Cincy was elated to have gotten this win because they knew they stole it to remain unbeaten. Pittsburgh looked good last night too and like the Cardinals will be a tough team to take down.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Rawls is still a rookie and thus their caution in using him in the 4th qtr and OT chiefly because he is a work in progress at blocking and he is a poor receiver.
    Still we will take 150+ yards from a back up any day. Great free agent find.