The easiest choice of the lot: How can you not go with the comeback against Green Bay? The onside-kick recovery. The serendipity of Russell Wilson connecting with Jermaine Kearse for the game-winning touchdown after four previous tries ended with interceptions. The sheer logistics: Down 12 points with five minutes left and the Packers with the ball. It was thrilling, unbelievable, and it will go down as one of the great finishes in Seattle sports history.
You could fill Smith Tower with all the quotes served up by defensive lineman Michael Bennett this season, but here are a few favorites:
• On Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run in Arizona: “It was the best run I’ve ever seen. I felt like he was running for freedom or something. Boy, he was gone. They haven’t had a run like that since the Underground Railroad.”
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• At Super Bowl Media Day: “Today should be the sex cut-off day for the Patriots. It takes a lot of testosterone to beat us.”
• On the Patriots’ stable of running backs: “If a guy has the ball and he’s running, we’ll tackle him. If Jesus had the ball, I’d tackle him. If my mom had the ball, I’d tackle her.”
• On the Seahawks’ comeback against Green Bay: “Intestinal fortitude, man. They dropped their nuts today, man.”
Easy: Marshawn Lynch’s 79-yard touchdown run against the Arizona Cardinals. Lynch broke four tackles. He made a ridiculous cutback. He dived into the end zone and grabbed his crotch. It might have been as impressive as the Beast Quake run against the Saints in 2011, and it sent his teammates into hysteria like he had hit a game-winning shot in basketball.
Marshawn Lynch against the Green Bay Packers. Lynch had his best game of the season when the Seahawks needed it most against the Packers. He rushed for a career-high 157 yards and was one of the only consistent weapons the Seahawks had all game. Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in six of the 10 playoff games he has played in and has scored touchdowns in eight of the 10.
The Packers comeback and the back-and-forth Super Bowl are too easy of choices, so let’s go with the Seahawks’ overtime win against Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch. The Seahawks’ defense once again mostly dominated Manning, and Russell Wilson led another game-winning drive in overtime for the 26-20 win.
Trading receiving Percy Harvin during the season. The decision to step away from Harvin sent jolts through the football community, and with good reason. The Seahawks had invested so heavily in Harvin, both in terms of the contract they splashed on him and the way they force-fed the ball to him. But Harvin had become a problem in the locker room, he wouldn’t go back in the game late against the Cowboys, and his production didn’t make up for either of those issues. The first part of the Seahawks relocating their togetherness was getting rid of Harvin.
There’s no way around it. The decision to pass from the 1-yard line against the Patriots in the Super Bowl has to be the clear-cut, undisputed choice of this category. Yes, yes, we’ve all heard coach Pete Carroll’s explanation about the time left on the clock (a little more than 20 seconds) and the number of timeouts (one) the Seahawks had, but the reality is this: The Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch, one of the better running backs in the league, and they elected not to give him the ball from one yard out with the Super Bowl on the line.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams. Williams got his fair share of recognition this season, but what he was able to do is still impressive and one of the more important parts of this season. When the Seahawks lost Brandon Mebane, it looked like a disaster. Mebane was having his best season, and the Seahawks didn’t have many players with experience at nose tackle. In fact, Williams had played nose tackle only a few snaps here and there in his 11-year career. But he filled Mebane’s shoes without much drop-off, and the Seahawks played their best defense of the year with Williams in the lineup.
Tie: defensive tackle Jordan Hill and guard J.R. Sweezy. Hill struggled in the first half of the season but turned into an effective interior pass rusher down the stretch. He is a 300-pounder, but he showed the quickness and agility that teammates say is unique. Sweezy always has been a ferocious competitor, but this season he showed he also could be a refined lineman. The fact teammates and coaches could say he was one of the better guards in the league with a straight face is a drastic sign of how far he has come.
The Seahawks had allowed only 13 total points in the fourth quarter in their previous eight games (all wins) before the Super Bowl. In the fourth quarter against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, they allowed 14.