Super Bowl XLIX: The Seahawks' Road To Desert Dustbowl

Legion of boom or bust? Seattle have ridden a fine line
Legion of boom or bust? Seattle have ridden a fine line

Romilly Evans looks at the path to Phoenix taken by Seattle, who took time to overcome some early-season concerns. He lists their defining moments and major momentum shifts...

"In the space of a fortnight, the Hawks’ main divisional rivals in Arizona went from red-hot jollies to third-string quarterback"

Week 8: After crushing losses to the Dallas Cowboys (the first team for over a year to hustle them off the scrimmage line) and the beleaguered Rams (without lead QB Sam Bradford for a second successive season) Seattle's title defence was on the skids. As for their title-winning defense, which had shipped 58 points during those two matches, well, they were looking more like Super Bowl chumps than champs.

With their campaign in the balance at 3-3, next came a defining trip to dangerous Carolina where a last-minute touchdown tipped the scales in their favour. Both Russell Wilson and his D came to the party at long last, despite trailing and looking ineffectual for huge tracts of the game, and Wilson found his namesake Luke in the end zone for 13-9 as the clock wound down.

Week 10 / 12: In the space of a fortnight, the Hawks' main divisional rivals in Arizona went from red-hot jollies to a third-string quarterback. First, Carson Palmer went down to an ACL injury (Arizona were 8-1) before Seattle then triumphed in their pivotal Week 12 head-to-head with the Cardinals.

This lone victory snapped Arizona's six-game winning streak and their House of Cards came crashing down with a dwindling quarterback corps which left unheralded Ryan Lindley holding the reins. The Seahawks were galvanized. A shot at the NFC West title and home-field advantage for the play-offs was suddenly on the table.

They needed no second invitation, winning out for 12-4 and the number-one seed. In so doing they secured their stronghold for the postseason at CenturyLink, the NFL's loudest stadium with a decibel rating that exceeds a soaring 747. The Hawks, who haven't lost at home in the play-offs in 10 years, duly took flight.

Championship Game: But even that huge homeland advantage didn't appear enough against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC decider. However, recovering a late onside kick (during which GB's Brandon Bostick channeled the spirit of Duncan Ferguson and headed the ball instead of catching it) gave Wilson the chance to recover from a real Jekyll & Hyde performance.

But the young QB really hit his marks in the closing quarter and overtime, finally finding WR Jermaine Kearse (after throwing four prior picks) in the end zone to deny the Pack any right of reply. Like any old-world leader, Wilson thanked God for his team's crazy comeback (Seattle were matched at an astounding 400399/1 in-play on Betfair's Super Bowl winner market).

But his opposing number, Aaron Rodgers, questioned the theocratic impulse to intervene in the matter of monkeys chucking a rock around. Especially when the Big Guy has galaxy upon galaxy to attend to elsewhere.

Either way, in Russell the Seahawks trust for a second successive Super Bowl trip.

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