Seattle’s 23-15 playoff win over the New Orleans Saints was the 10th playoff victory in franchise history.
And just think: It took only 30 years and 18 days to go from one (Seattle’s first playoff victory came over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 24, 1983) to 10.
For finally getting there, we thought we’d honor the top 10 career playoff performers in Seahawks history.
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Until someone matches or betters his feat of quarterbacking Seattle to a conference title (and Seahawks fans hope that happens soon) Hasselbeck has to top the list for guiding the team to Super Bowl XL. Hasselbeck played in 11 playoff games (tied with Marcus Trufant for the most in Seahawks history) and holds every team playoff passing record, including a passer rating of 84.4 that is better than his regular-season rating of 82.1.
2 Walter Jones
Jones is next behind Hasselbeck and Trufant for games played at 10, going 4-6 in that span. He was the most dominant offensive player on what remains the most dominant offense in Seattle history, protecting Hasselbeck’s blind side as the Seahawks advanced to Super Bowl XL.
3 Marshawn Lynch
Lynch doesn’t have quite the sample size as others on the list, having played in only five playoff games. But he’s quickly on his way to being one of the best big-game players in team history. Lynch has rushed for 100 yards or more in three of those five games, including his 140-yard effort against the Saints on Jan. 11 that is the team playoff record. In his five playoff games, he has 451 yards on 87 carries and five touchdowns, an average rush of 5.18 that is best in team history. And then there’s the 67-yard Beast Quake run against the Saints in the 2011 NFC wild-card round.
4 Jordan Babineaux
Babineaux, a safety who is tied with Jones and Sean Locklear with 10 playoff appearances, lived up to his nickname of “Big Play Babs’’ in the playoffs. No play was bigger than his tackle of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo after Romo bobbled the snap of a potential game-winning field goal in the 2006 wild-card round. A year later, he returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown to sew up a wild-card win over the Washington Redskins.
5 Marcus Trufant
Of Trufant’s 11 playoff games, two stand out. In the 2006 NFC title game, Trufant was among those who helped Seattle shut down Carolina receiver Steve Smith, who had 218 receiving yards the week before but was held to 33 on five catches by the Seahawks. And in the 2007 wild-card win over Washington, he had a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown that preceded Babineaux’s and sparked a 22-point fourth quarter. It remains the longest interception return for a TD in Seattle playoff history.
6 Curt Warner
Warner played in just four playoff games for Seattle, rushing for 249 yards. But he makes the list largely for sparking Seattle’s magical run to the 1984 AFC title game. He had 99 yards on 23 carries in Seattle’s first playoff win, over Denver, and added 113 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns in a victory over Miami.
7 Steve Largent
Largent twice topped the 100-yard receiving mark in his seven career playoff games, tied with Darrell Jackson, who played in nine games. Largent’s most memorable game, though, was one in which he was held without a catch for 57 minutes, in the 1983 divisional round at Miami. Then in the waning moments he made two, including a 40-yarder that set up Seattle’s winning touchdown in a 27-20 victory that remains the biggest playoff upset in team history.
8 Darrell Jackson
Jackson was Matt Hasselbeck’s main target through much of the Mike Holmgren era. Jackson holds almost every team career playoff receiving record, including 503 receiving yards and 35 receptions. He also turned in the best receiving game in Seattle playoff history with nine catches for 143 yards to spark the 20-10 win over Washington in the 2006 wild-card round to start the Seahawks’ march to Super Bowl XL.
9 Dave Krieg
Krieg ranks second behind Hasselbeck on just about every Seattle career playoff passing stat, but did so in an era when the team was more run- and defense-oriented. Consider that Hasselbeck threw for 2,741 yards in 11 playoff games to Krieg’s 1,242 in seven. Krieg’s best game was his first, when he threw three touchdown passes in the 1983 win over Denver on just 13 attempts. In fact, he was 12 of 13 for 200 yards and had a perfect 158.3 passer rating (sadly, two weeks later he had a passer rating of 2.8 when he was 3 of 9 with three interceptions in the AFC title game loss to the Raiders).
10 Shaun Alexander
Alexander holds every team career postseason rushing record, such as yards (564) and touchdowns (eight). He also held the game rushing record of 132 in the NFC Championship Game win over Carolina in 2006 that Marshawn Lynch broke against the Saints on Saturday. Some might argue, though, that Alexander’s overall playoff résumé is spotty. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, and in nine games rushed for more than 46 yards just four times. But his contribution to the Super Bowl run (236 yards on 60 carries) is enough to force his way onto the list.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.