Delisa 'Momma' Lynch, Marshawn Lynch's mother, gathered with Seattle Seahawks fans at a casino in Arlington to watch her son's return for the playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.

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ARLINGTON — For some fans, Sunday’s game was a miniature version of this Seahawks season, with the team falling into a deep hole early, then valiantly striving to come back late.

“It was good to see them struggle back into it. We knew that they could,” said Debbie Kuzminsky of Mill Creek, one of about 200 fans watching the game at Angel of the Winds Casino.

Kuzminsky drew parallels between the team’s rugged start to the season, losing four of its first six games, and falling to a 31-0 halftime deficit against the Carolina Panthers.  “They fight their way back in it,” she said.

Her one-word mantra for the game, the single word her son texted her: “Believe.”

PANTHERS 31, SEAHAWKS 24


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But this was a hole too deep to climb out of, and the Seahawks ended up one miracle short of what would have been a comeback for the ages, losing the NFC divisional playoff game, 31-24.

“You just can’t spot a top team like Carolina 31 points and expect to succeed,” said Bruce Knott of Smokey Point. “That’s really tough.”

Early on, Knott, a season-ticket holder for 19 years, continued to voice confidence in the Seahawks, even though Carolina seemed to score at will.

“This is what you call a good old-fashioned butt whuppin’,”  Knott said after Carolina’s third touchdown.

But Knott said he knows what the Seahawks were capable of. He was at CenturyLink Field to see the Seahawks’ improbable comeback against Green Bay in last season’s NFC Championship Game, when the Hawks came from 15 points behind in the closing minutes, and then won in overtime.

He was gratified, and relieved, to see Sunday’s comeback attempt. “I think it showed that we really are a quality team,” Knott said.

Some patrons in the casino had come to see Delisa “Momma” Lynch on the day her son, Marshawn, returned to the Seahawks line-up after being out since Nov. 15 for abdominal surgery.

She greeted some fans before the game, said she believed Seattle could win and added, “My baby’s OK so that’s a great thing.”

Later in the game she quietly looked over some Seahawks gear at a merchandise table and said she didn’t have anything to say about the game.

“I’m just praying,” she said.

Vince Talik of Lynnwood said the game was the opposite of what he expected. He thought the Seahawks would jump out to an early lead and then struggle to hang on.

“Carolina did a great job. They earned it,” he said.

Of the Seahawks’ late effort, he said, “We knew they could come back and make a game out of it. They gave it a good shot.”

Seated next to him, Candace Crittenden of Marysville was already looking to the future.

“It was a helluva comeback, and we were with them,” she said. “Now we have to wait until next year. I’m still in.”

The lopsided first half had been a shock not just to fans, but to former Seahawks players and relatives watching at the casino.

“Somebody’s got to step up and do something,” said Mae Milloy, mother of former Seahawk Lawyer Milloy, and at the game with her husband, Michael Milloy. “I want them to get hungrier.”

Former Seahawks players Eddie McMillan, Ron Howard and Hillary Butler were also on hand. “It’s a tough road ahead,” McMillan said at halftime. “They’d have to play error-free.”

But even though the task proved too tough, that didn’t stop Diane Danubio of Stanwood from looking over the Seahawks merchandise table for a new sweatshirt for herself.  She and her husband, David, have been fans since the Seahawks came into existence in 1976.

“We’ll be fans forever,” she said.