No matter what happens Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the 2019 season will go down as one that delivered a lot of usual Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson-era thrills and chills.
OK, so there were a few spills, too.
But the purpose of this piece is to remember the good and honor the top 10 plays of the season — plays that, without which, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers wouldn’t be necessary.
1. Was the throw better? Or the catch?
The setup: The Seahawks opened a Thursday night home game against the Rams looking like they might get run out of the building before finally mounting a drive late in the first quarter. From the Rams’ 13-yard line, Wilson dropped back, found no one open and began moving to his left.
Looking as if he might be throwing the ball away, Wilson lofted it to the right corner where from almost out of nowhere, Tyler Lockett dived and caught it, both toes scraping barely inbounds, a score that kicked off an eventual 30-29 win.
What they said: “Everybody’s just raving it’s one of the best catches they’ve ever seen. But it’s also one of the best throws ever made if that’s the case. Because there was no room for error,’’ Carroll said.
2. The rookie comes through
The setup: DK Metcalf was hardly your usual rookie this season, making one big play after another. Maybe the biggest came on the opening possession of overtime against Tampa Bay as Seattle faced a third-and-six at the Bucs 35. There was zero guarantee the Seahawks could stop Tampa Bay, so it felt as if a TD was needed in order to win. Metcalf responded, beating Jamel Dean down the sideline and hanging on to a pass as he had his facemask grabbed. Seattle scored two plays later to win.
What they said: “I told him, ‘Hey, be ready, you may help us to win the game.’ And sure enough, he did,’’ Wilson said.
3. Sky High Clowney
The setup: A game in Glendale in Week 4 started out somewhat taut before the Seahawks got the separation they needed when defensive end Jadeveon Clowney reached to grab a screen pass from Kyler Murray and returned it 27 yards for a TD. Seattle beat the Cardinals by 17, the only time all year the Seahawks won a game by more than one possession.
What they said: “I told him he looked like 7 feet on that play. That was a big play in the game, he tipped it to himself and ran it back, showed a little speed. It really ignited the whole team,’’ middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
4. Showing faith on fourth-and-one
The setup: Maybe no sequence this season encapsulated the Seahawks than what they faced in the final minutes of the second game of the year at Pittsburgh, leading 28-26. On third-and-16 from the Steelers’ 48 with just over two minutes left, Pittsburgh hoping for a stop with enough time to get the ball back for a winning drive, Wilson scampered out of trouble for 15 yards. Seattle then decided to go for it on fourth-and-one with Carroll handing the ball to Chris Carson — who already had three fumbles on the season. Carson, naturally, picked up the needed yards, and Seattle ran out the clock.
What they said: “There was nobody I was going to but Chris right there on that one,’’ Carroll said.
5. Tre tips it up to pick it off
The setup: In the most Seahawky game of the season — trailing the entire first half, going on a big run to take the lead, then having to hold on at the end to beat Minnesota — Tre Flowers stole the show by stealing from Stefon Diggs, snatching the ball out of the air after Diggs bobbled it near the Seattle sideline. Given the ball at the 25, Seattle scored three plays later en route to a 37-20 win.
What they said: “That was such an extraordinary interception. I don’t know how he did that,’’ Carroll said.
6. Lockett, Wilson save Seattle from opening-day infamy
The setup: Everything about the Seahawks’ season was foreshadowed in the first game. Going against the Bengals, who finished 2-14, Seattle trailed for most of the first three quarters. Facing a first-and-20 on the first play of the fourth quarter, Wilson and Lockett noticed the Bengals in coverage they thought could result in a big play, and with a little on-the-fly adjusting turned it into a 44-yard TD that turned into the winning points in a 21-20 victory.
What they said: “The pass to Tyler, the execution from Russell to Tyler, that put us ahead to stay, was really an incredible play. It was just two guys who have been together a long time. … It was perfect,’’ Carroll said.
7. Clowney scoops it up to dig Seattle out of hole against 49ers
The setup: There were no shortage of big plays to pick from Seattle’s biggest win of the regular season — 27-24 in overtime at San Francisco. But the turning point came with the 49ers ahead 10-0 and seemingly in control late in the second, when Jarran Reed and Poona Ford forced a Jimmy Garoppolo fumble that Clowney returned 10 yards for a touchdown. Clowney put on as dominant of a defensive performance as anyone in 2019 with five quarterback hits and a sack.
What they said: “Did you hear that crowd out there? It’s the best atmosphere I’ve been a part of. It was crazy. … Those types of games you look forward to. You don’t forget games like that,’’ Clowney said.
8. Tedric’s dive turns tide against Rams
The setup: After the Seahawks took a 30-29 lead, the Rams appeared poised to get a first down near midfield when Jared Goff hit tight end Gerald Everett right in the hands over the middle. But the ball glanced off his hands and was seemingly headed to an incompletion before Seattle safety Tedric Thompson dived and batted the ball with his right hand, then his left, before finally controlling it with both. That led to a wild celebration during a lengthy review that eventually handed the ball to Seattle (the Rams would get the ball back and drive for a potential winning field goal, but the Thompson play seemed to define the night).
What they said: “The play I’m wanting to talk about is Tedric’s. What a moment for everybody sitting in the stands to watch it and the buildup and the replay and the challenge, all that stuff at that moment was a spectacular play and moment right there. I was happy to be around it,’’ Carroll said.
9. David Moore gets the most of the Vikings
The setup: Russell Wilson’s longest pass of the year was also one of his most important, propelling Seattle to a win over Minnesota that, depending on how the next week goes, could prove pretty darn pivotal. The Seahawks offense struggled most of the first half but broke out in the second, most memorably when Wilson hit a wide-open David Moore for a 60-yard TD on third-and-five. Moore beat cornerback Xavier Rhodes, a two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2017.
What they said: Asked when he knew he was headed for a TD, Moore said, “When I looked at the screen and could see he was a little bit behind me. It was like, all right, I can relax a little bit.’’
10. Josh Gordon makes “as good a catch as you could ever see’’
The setup: Josh Gordon’s Seahawks tenure lasted just five games, but he left one indelible image, a diving catch for a 58-yard gain that helped set up a touchdown against the Panthers. It would turn out to be the last catch Gordon made in 2019 before being suspended for violating the league’s policies for using both performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse.
What they said: “The catch that Josh made is as good a catch as you could ever see, I would think. For as long as that pass was and the layout and to catch it like he did was a magnificent play,’’ Carroll said.