The Seahawks have been a wild-card team six times, including this season. So yeah, that means a look at their history as a wild-card team seems in order.
The Seahawks have qualified for the playoffs 15 times in their 40-year history. They won a division title nine times. They have been a wild-card team six times, including this season. So yeah, that means a look at their history as a wild-card team seems in order. Here’s a review of each wild-card season:
Season record: 9-7, second in AFC West.
• Beat Denver 31-7 in AFC wild-card game.
• Beat Miami 27-20 in AFC divisional game.
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• Lost 30-14 to the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC Championship Game.
Comment: One of only two times the Seahawks have won a road playoff game came the first time they played in one, at Miami against the Dan Marino-led Dolphins. First, though, the Seahawks had to beat Denver at home in the wild-card round. The Seahawks, which had to win their last two regular-season games to get into the playoffs, got that done with surprising ease, hammering the Broncos on Christmas Eve at the Kingdome. Then came the trip on New Year’s Eve to face a 12-4 Miami team, which was an eight-point favorite in the rookie year for Marino and had gone to the Super Bowl the previous season without him. The Seahawks used a strong running game and what turned out to be an off day by Marino (14 of 25, 193 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) to keep it close. A 40-yard Dave Krieg-to-Steve Largent pass put the Seahawks in position for a go-ahead TD run by Curt Warner with 1:48 left to make it 24-20. Miami then fumbled the kickoff, and the win — once rated the No. 7 playoff upset of all time by ESPN — was sealed. The run ended there, as the Seahawks were blown out 30-14 eight days later at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (yep, they used to play NFL games there) by the Raiders in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
Season record: 12-4, second in AFC West.
• Beat Oakland 13-7 in AFC wild-card game.
• Lost 31-10 to Miami in AFC divisional game.
Comment: The Seahawks spent much of the 1984 season considered among the NFL’s best teams. But losses in the final two regular-season games also cost them the AFC West title, which instead went to Denver. Back in the days when the West was considered by some the best division in the AFC, if not the NFL, the Seahawks for the second consecutive year hosted a division opponent — the defending Super Bowl-champion Raiders — in a wild-card game. A slugfest developed — the teams combined for just 491 yards. But the Seahawks used 129 yards from Dan Doornink and three Raiders turnovers to secure the win. A second consecutive trip to Miami, though, didn’t go so well as Marino threw three touchdown passes and the Dolphins got some revenge to end Seattle’s season in the divisional round.
Season record: 9-6, second in AFC West.
• Lost 23-20 to Houston in overtime in AFC wild-card game.
Comment: A season that began with the Seahawks regarded as a Super Bowl favorite ended in some perplexing losses that had them relegated to a wild-card berth and a game at Houston, which was led by quarterback Warren Moon. After a day spent mostly going nowhere, the Seahawks uncorked a quick, 80-yard drive to tie the score on a Krieg-to-Largent TD pass with 26 seconds left and force overtime. The Seahawks looked like they literally had caught a break early in the extra session when Fredd Young dove to make an apparent interception of a tipped Moon pass at the Houston 43-yard line. After a replay, though, it was ruled no catch, and the Oilers drove for the winning field goal.
Season record: 10-6, second in NFC West.
• Lost 33-27 at Green Bay in overtime in NFC wild-card game.
Comment: After a move to the NFC West the year before, the Seahawks made their first NFC playoff appearance on the road against coach Mike Holmgren’s former team. The Seahawks forced overtime with a 1-yard run by Shaun Alexander with 51 seconds left. After winning the coin toss, Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck said, “We’ll take the ball, and we’re gonna score.’’ That Hasselbeck was in part joking with some former Packers teammates didn’t help soothe the Seahawks’ pain when Green Bay cornerback Al Harris stepped in front of a Hasselbeck pass intended for Alex Bannister and returned it 52 yards for the winning touchdown.
Season record: 11-5, second in NFC West.
• Won 24-14 at Washington in NFC wild-card game.
• Lost 30-28 at Atlanta in NFC divisional game.
Comment: The Seahawks finally won another road playoff game, 29 years after their first, rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to beat Washington in the first playoff game for Russell Wilson. The Seahawks fell behind 20-0 the next week at Atlanta before rallying and appearing on the verge of an improbable win when Marshawn Lynch scored from 2 yards out with 31 seconds left. But two quick Matt Ryan completions led to Matt Bryant’s 49-yard go-ahead field goal with eight seconds left.