By John Boyle
As Pete Carroll so succinctly explained, the Seahawks’ Sunday in Washington D.C. went something like this, “We were getting our butt kicked, there’s no doubt about it, and then we weren’t.”
Of all the things Carroll preaches to his players, perhaps none is repeated more than the importance of finishing, and boy did the Seahawks need to finish well after the way they started. They did just that, however, erasing a 14-point deficit to win their playoff opener 24-14, setting up a showdown next weekend with the NFC’s top seed. Seattle will play in Atlanta at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday.
“With this setting and the crowd and as much momentum as they had, it’s a marvelous statement,” Carroll said of his team’s comeback. “It’s a marvelous statement about the guys’ resolve and belief in what’s going on. It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. We’ve been saying that forever, and they know that. It was really exciting to be able to say, ‘look how clear that illustration is here today.’”
Here’s a look at some numbers that explain how the Seahawks came back for their first playoff road win since Dec. 31, 1983.
14—points, Seattle’s deficit after two Washington possessions. That’s the biggest deficit the Seahawks faced all season, just ahead of the 13-point hole they found themselves in against New England.
24—unanswered points scored by the Seahawks after falling behind.
74—yards gained by Washington in the final three quarters. The Redskins had 129 yards of offense after their first two possessions, then never got the ball past midfield the rest of the day.
27—the length of Marshawn Lynch’s fourth-quarter touchdown run that put Seattle ahead for good. As impressive as that run was (DeAngelo Hall is probably still picking grass out of his facemask after whiffing at Lynch on the play) it wasn’t Lynch’s best effort in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. And yes, this one was just an excuse to link to this video.
6.6—Marshawn Lynch’s average yards per carry (he had 132 yards on 20 carries), marking the fourth time in five games Lynch has averaged better than 5.5 per carry. He has also gone over 100 yards in five straight games and nine of his last 11 games.
1—Fumble by Lynch in the red zone. That was significant not just in that it could have been a game-changing play, but also because it was Seattle’s first turnover in the red zone this season.
That play was unfortunate for Seattle, but did not turn out to be crippling. Nor did it change Carroll’s perception of his star running back.
“He’s too tough to let something like that bother him,” he said. “He got smacked, the guy put a helmet right on the ball… It didn’t faze him at all, and we didn’t back off of giving him the football at all.”
4—Catches by tight end Zach Miller, a stat that doesn’t come close to explaining his impact on the game.
1—rookie quarterback remaining in the playoffs. And that would be one Russell Wilson, who outlasted first-round picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
3—Consecutive road wins by the Seahawks, dating back to their Dec. 2 overtime win in Chicago. That’s a big turnaround for a team that began the year 1-5 away from home, including losses to four teams that finished the season with losing records.
“It shows how far we’ve come from when we were struggling on the road early in the season,” Miller said in a phone interview. “In a playoff game, with a rookie quarterback, to be able to answer a 14 point deficit the way we did, it’s just a testament to our team and the resolve we have and how much confidence we have in each other.”