Seahawks poised to make playoff run

SEATTLE — In what has so often felt like a charmed season, Sunday was finally a day when everything didn’t come up Seahawks.

From drafting what looks a lot like a franchise quarterback in the third round, to winning on one of the most debatable plays in all of sports in 2012, to finding ways to blow out teams in historic fashion, to even winning off the field by having their best defensive player win an appeal of a four-game suspension, the Seahawks have given folks plenty of reason to believe that there just might be something special going on this season.

But on Sunday, when the Seahawks needed not only a win over St. Louis — which they got in the form of a closer-than-expected 20-13 victory — but also some help from the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle’s magic ran out. After keeping things interesting for a half, the Cardinals reverted back to Cardinals form, allowing the 49ers to clinch their second straight division title. Had one more miracle occurred — and to be clear, an Arizona win in San Francisco qualifies as a miracle — the Seahawks would have jumped all the way to the No. 2 seed thanks to Minnesota’s win over Green Bay. That would have meant a first-round bye for Seattle, as well as a home game in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Instead, the Seahawks, despite an 11-5 record and a fifth-straight victory, will be a Wild Card team and will have to play on the road against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. This time, crazy didn’t happen for the Seahawks. San Francisco took care of business, so any playoff success Seattle is going to have will have to take place on the road.

Here’s the thing though; the Seahawks just might be good enough for that not to matter. Sure the Seahawks would have loved another game or two at CenturyLink Field, where they went 8-0 for the third time in franchise history, but after winning seven of their last eight, after showing they can pull off thrilling comebacks on the road, blow teams out when they get a chance, or grind out a tough win when the game calls for that, the Seahawks look like a team capable of making a playoff run no matter where the road takes them.

“If we just do what we do, we are a very, very dangerous team,” said receiver Golden Tate, who had three catches for 105 yards and a huge fumble recovery that kept the winning drive alive. “If we stay away from the turnovers and silly penalties and trust our preparation, we can go a long way. … If we can just execute, I think we have a great chance to go far.”

Many of the reasons this team can go far were on display in Sunday’s gritty win over the Rams. No, the Seahawks weren’t dominant like in their previous three games. But they again got a strong outing from a defense that gave up the fewest points in franchise history. They again got a clutch performance from Russell Wilson, and they again won the turnover battle. The Seahawks need to shore up their pass protection, which yielded a season-high six sacks — though plenty of credit should go to the Rams, one of the best pass-rushing teams in the league. And Seattle’s 10 penalties brought back memories from early in the season. But overall the Seahawks look very much like a team that’s game will travel well in January.

“We’re fine either way,” said cornerback Richard Sherman. “It’s always nice to get a bye, rest your legs a little bit, but with Brandon (cornerback Brandon Browner, who returns next Sunday after serving a four-game suspension) coming back with fresh legs and everybody firing on all cylinders, we’ll be prepared.”

And as impressive as Seattle’s last three wins were, this one might have been more important. There are no Arizona Cardinals or Buffalo Bills in the playoffs, and those everything-that-could-go-right-does-go-right wins like the one Seattle had over San Francisco last week just don’t come along very often. But physical, down-to-the-wire battles like Sunday’s are precisely what the Seahawks are likely to see next week and beyond.

“It was good for us to have to finish like that in a tough situation and actually come from behind to get it done,” said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. “We had some games on the other end of that ledger for a while, and it doesn’t hurt us to have to struggle and fight like that.”

When the Seahawks did have their backs against the wall, they came out on top once again. Their rookie quarterback put together yet another impressive, late game drive. Their defense, despite allowing the Rams to move the ball, got the stop they needed in the form of another Sherman interception. And on a day when the Seahawks didn’t get everything they needed to go their way, they still showed why they should be a dangerous team in the playoffs.

“That’s exactly how we would like to finish,” Carroll said. “… Get all those wins, stack it up and feel good, be rolling at this part of the season and the playoffs with a real good feeling about us. We feel fine, we’re not going to go crazy. We’re going to take care of business and see if we can throw a good football game out there.”

More in Sports

Walton has Edmonds CC men’s basketball back in contention

The sophomore forward — recovered from injury — will lead the Tritons into a rivalry battle at Everett.

Report: Seahawks to bring back Norton, Solari as assistants

Norton would replace Richard as defensive coordinator and Solari would be the offensive line coach.

Silvertips hold off Tri-City for 6-5 victory

Matt Fonteyne tied a club record with 5 assists for Everett.

UW men’s basketball players making voices heard

The Huskies’ discussion of social injustice with a professor spurred the team into action.

Karrah Smith wrestles Tim Rachal during practice at Granite Falls High School on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 in Granite Falls, Wa. She finished sixth in the 145-pound weight class at last year’s Mat Classic and is eyeing a better finish this season at 170 pounds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Five things to know about Granite Falls’ Karrah Smith

When she’s wrestling, Karrah Smith likes to be in control. During matches… Continue reading

BLOG: Silvertips run streak to five straight with win over Tri-City

The Weekend To borrow sports parlance, the Everett Silvertips “got the result… Continue reading

BLOG: ‘Big Walt’ visits Everett to to drop puck and Silvertips win

I want to thank @Benton_Mike, the @WHLsilvertips and @C_Hart70 for welcoming me… Continue reading

Monday’s prep results, with links to recaps

Here are Monday’s prep results, with links to recaps: BOYS BASKETBALL Wesco… Continue reading

POLL: Will Edgar Martinez get into the Hall of Fame?

The Seattle Mariners legend will learn on Jan. 24 whether he received enough votes for enshrinement

Most Read