Chuck Knox’s tenure as coach of the Seahawks from 1983-91 yielded many of the franchise’s first signature moments.

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Chuck Knox’s tenure as coach of the Seahawks from 1983-91 yielded many of the franchise’s first signature moments.

Here are five moments that stand out:

1, Cinderella Seahawks topple favored Marino and Miami

In what remains maybe the biggest upset in team history, Knox led the Seahawks to a 27-20 divisional playoff win at Miami on New Year’s Eve in 1983. With rookie Dan Marino beginning a record-setting career, the Dolphins entered the game winners of nine of their last 10 and were regarded as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Seattle needed to win its last two games just to get a wild card berth, and beat Denver in the wild card round to advance to play the well-rested Dolphins. The official Vegas line had Miami as an eight-point favorite, but it felt like more with few expecting Seattle to win. The Seahawks kept it close throughout, picking off two Marino passes and forcing three fumbles. A 40-yard pass from Dave Krieg to Steve Largent set up a TD that put Seattle ahead late, then a fumble recovery on the kickoff led to a field goal and the Seahawks were up 27-20. The Dolphins fumbled again on the ensuing kickoff and the Seahawks ran out the clock on what was to that point the most significant win in team history.

2, Dethroning the champs

After winning at Miami, the Seahawks were throttled the following week in Los Angeles by a Raiders team that would go on to win the Super Bowl. But Seattle got a chance for revenge the following season, hosting the Raiders in a wild card game. And in a year when Seattle had little running game after losing Curt Warner to injury in the first game, Knox devised an unusual strategy for the playoff showdown with the Raiders — centering the offense around burly running back Dan Doornink. Doornink had gained just 215 yards for the season. But against the Raiders he rushed 126 yards on 29 carries — he had 57 carries for the season — as Seattle held the ball for 34:19 in building a 13-0 lead and holding on to win 13-7. Alas, Miami would get its own revenge the following week, knocking Seattle out of the playoffs with a 31-10 win.

3, Winning a division

The Seahawks were within at least a game-and-a-half of the division title in three of Knox’s first five seasons in Seattle but couldn’t break through. That finally happened in 1988 when the Seahawks beat their two main competitors for the division title — the Broncos and the Raiders — in the final two games to finish 9-7 and win the West. Seattle had to win at Los Angeles in the final game to win the title. And in a wild game that defied Knox’s “Ground Chuck” reputation, Krieg threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns as Seattle held on, 43-37.

4, An unfathomable win over the Raiders

His players said Knox had an uncanny ability to make them feel as if they were going to win every game, no matter the circumstances. An early indication that wasn’t just talk came in the seventh game of Knox’s Seattle tenure, a contest against the Raiders at the Kingdome. Jim Zorn, who would soon be benched, completed just 4 of 16 passes for 13 yards, with Seattle’s 2 yards of net passing still the second-fewest in team history. But somehow, the Seahawks scored 38 points, forcing eight turnovers and returning a punt for a touchdown in beating a Raider team that would go on to win the Super Bowl by a final of 38-36. Seattle would beat the Raiders two weeks later, as well, with Krieg at QB before losing the rubber match in the playoffs.

5, Shaking the Kansas City hex on the final play.

Oddly, during an era when AFC West rivals the Raiders and the Broncos either won a Super Bowl or appeared in one, Knox’s Seahawks struggled against the Chiefs as much as any other team in the division, especially on the road. Seattle lost eight straight at Kansas City from 1981-89, most by decisive margins. But that changed in 1990 on another day when Knox’s teams showed an ability to win a game that maybe they shouldn’t have. Derrick Thomas set an NFL record by sacking Krieg seven times as the Chiefs finished with nine sacks, still a Seattle opponent single-game record. But Seattle’s defense kept the game close and the Seahawks got the ball back at their own 34 with 48 seconds left, trailing 16-10. Two Krieg completions took it to the Chiefs’ 25 where Seattle lined up for one final play. There, Krieg rifled a pass into the end zone caught by Paul Skanski as time ran out, with Norm Johnson’s PAT giving Seattle a 17-16 win.