The Seattle Seahawks' 2015 season was a wild ride, but the records and numbers behind it reveal why it was something truly remarkable in franchise history.
For the first time in three years, the Seahawks are not going to the Super Bowl. On the surface, this would seem to be a statement of failure. For some, it may appear that way, but it is far from the truth.
Only 6.25 percent of NFL teams make it to the big game. Yet the team’s success during the Russell Wilson era is unprecedented, with the Seahawks reaching the Super Bowl 50 percent of the time. That’s a higher percentage than the Tom Brady-led Patriots.
The 2015 season opened in St. Louis, a city that no longer has an NFL team. It ended with a near-miraculous comeback in Charlotte, N.C. The 40th incarnation of the Seattle Seahawks provided many highlights and a lot of Hawks history.
This was the season Russell Wilson transformed into the Seahawks’ equivalent of Michael Phelps, breaking records and making history. Wilson became the first Seattle quarterback to lead the league in passer rating. His rating of 110.1 was 14th best in NFL history.
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He broke Matt Hasselbeck’s team record for passing yardage on 80 fewer attempts and crashed through the 4,000-yard barrier at the same time.
He topped Dave Krieg’s 31-year-old Seahawks record for touchdown passes while throwing only a third of the interceptions Mudbone had in 1984.
Broken team records were not limited to DangeRuss. The whole squad got into the act.
This past year “Mad Max: Fury Road” — a sequel of sorts to the 1982 classic “The Road Warrior — hit the movie theaters. This seemed timely, since the Hawks themselves were road warriors in 2015. They set a team record by winning six straight on the road. They also won three consecutive games with the dreaded 10 a.m. PST kickoffs.
That has never happened in Hawk history.
For the fourth straight year, the Seahawks led the league in scoring defense. That has only occurred once in the NFL, and it was the 1950s Cleveland Browns. But the Hawks shouldn’t get complacent because the Brownies were actually atop the league in scoring defense five straight seasons.
Something for the Legion of Boom to aim for next season.
In 2015, Tyler Lockett became the second coming of Bobby Joe Edmonds, a special-teams rookie sensation in 1986 who was the Seahawks’ only first-year Pro Bowl kick returner. That is until Lockett achieved the honor this season.
The first time Tyler ever returned a kick in the NFL it was 55 yards to the house in St. Louis. Two weeks later, in his CenturyLink Field debut, Lockett had only one chance to return a kickoff because the Hawks shut out the Bears. But he made the most of it: a team-record return of 105 yards for a touchdown.
Another first-year player, Thomas Rawls, was on his way to becoming the first Seahawks rookie running back to rush for over 1,000 yards since Curt Warner in 1983 until Rawls broke his ankle in Baltimore.
Rawls’ game against the 49ers in Seattle ranks as one of the greatest performances by a running back in Hawks history. Not only did he have the second most rushing yards in a game in team history but he also scored two TD’s and accounted for over half of the Hawks’ 508 total yards.
The Seahawks had been shut out in their previous two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that changed when Pittsburgh came to the Jet City for a critical game that altered the trajectory of the season. The Hawks put up 39 points in a contest that saw eight lead changes before “Angry” Doug Baldwin caught a short pass for a key first down and turned it into an 80 yard game-clinching score.
While on the subject of Baldwin, we need to point out he wiped a 30-year-old record from the Hawks history books. His 14 touchdown receptions eclipsed Daryl “Deep Heat” Turner’s record of 13 in 1985. Any chance we can change Baldwin’s nickname from “Angry” to “Deep Heat?” Nah, I like him Angry.
Individual records are nice, but it’s really all about the team. Again, numbers underscore how special this era of the Seattle Seahawks truly is.
In their first 36 seasons of existence, the Seahawks reached double digits for regular-season wins only five times. With a 10-6 record in 2015, it’s four straight and counting during the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson epoch.
Before 2012, the Seahawks were 8-11 in the postseason. Since then, they’re 7-3, including triple the number of road playoff victories. They have also won at least one playoff game for four straight years, breaking the record of three from 2005 to 2007. Not bad for a franchise that once went 21 years between playoff victories.
The Seahawks are now above the .500 mark in their history, meaning they have won more games than they’ve lost in their 40-year saga. Another first for our birds in blue, green and wolf grey.
I have always been an optimistic and proud 12, even during the dark Behring years of the early-to-mid 1990s. But that eternal optimism and pride seems to be even more justified in recent years. The Hawks are an elite team and may very well be one for a long time.
Enjoy your offseason, Seahawk fans. It’s only about six months until training camp starts.
Mark Tye Turner is the author of “Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks” and “Seattle Seahawks Super Season”, both available on Amazon. Follow Turner on Twitter @mtthawk
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