Seattle Seahawks 2008 Turning Points

The were many turning points during the 2008 campaign for the Seattle Seahawks

On the way back home on the team charter from Phoenix last week I made a list of the 10 reasons the Seahawks finished 4-12 and not 10-6, 11-5 or 12-4.  Next time you get a few minutes you might want to make your own list and let us know how it compares. Here we go.

#1 – Injuries, lots of injuries

Wide Receiver Nate Burleson caught the first touchdown pass of the season in Buffalo on September 7, a 20 yarder from Matt Hasselbeck, then injured a knee in the third quarter and missed the rest of the season. In all 26 different players were injured during the 2008 season missing a total of 150 games.

“It really shouldn’t happen again, because no one will get injured like we got injured this year. It hasn’t happened to me in 25 years, it’s not going to happen again,” said Mike Holmgren at his final press conference as coach on Monday.

Then he added, “The injury thing was absolutely a factor, but it wasn’t the only factor. I’ve always said that to get to the Super Bowl or to get to the playoffs and do those things, your best players have to have great years. The players look to them, the coaches rely on them and that didn’t happen this year.”

#2 – September 14 overtime loss to San Francisco

The Seahawks took an early lead on a Julius Jones touchdown and had a 20-13 lead at half time.   The Niners turned the tide in the 3rd quarter when Patrick Willis returned a deflected Hasselbeck pass 86 yards for a touchdown. Joe Nedney’s five field goals including the game winner in overtime gave the 49ers an upset victory and dropped Seattle to an 0-2 record. A win would have made the Seahawks 1-1.

#3 – October 12 loss to the Green Bay Packers 27-17

The Seahawks built a 10-3 lead in the second quarter when Seneca Wallace connected with tight end John Carlson for a six yard touchdown,  the rookie’s first NFL score.  But the Packers took control in the second half scoring 17 un-answered points. Aaron Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes. Seattle dropped to 1-4, but a consistent second half would have made the Hawks 3-2.

#4 – October 19 loss to Tampa Bay 20-10 at Raymond James Stadium

It started early for the Bucs when Jeff Garcia found Antonio Bryant for a 47 yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Seahawks struggled to convert third downs and the Bucs took advantage all afternoon. The Seahawk defense limited the Bucs 6th ranked running game but allowed 310 yards passing.  Seattle fell to 1-5.  With two or three key third down conversions, Seattle would have went to 4-2.

#5 – November 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles 26-7 at Qwest field

The final score doesn’t indicate a close game but the Seahawks had their chances. In fact they scored first on a 90 yard touchdown strike from Matt Hasselbeck to Koren Robinson. The defense stymied Donovan McNabb in the first half, holding the Eagles quarterback to 3 of 13 passing and only 81 total yards in the first quarter. The Eagles adjusted nicely however and McNabb went 25 for his next 30 including two touchdown strikes in the first half.  Seahawks fell to 2-6, could’ve been 6-2.

#6 – November 9 loss to Miami 21-19 at Dolphin Stadium

Jets castoff Chad Pennington connected with Ted Ginn Jr. for 38 yards and a touchdown midway through the first quarter.  On the first play of the second quarter, Ricky Williams took a hand off from Ronnie Brown in the Wildcat formation and raced 51 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. Inspite of all that the Seahawks chipped away at the lead and when Wallace found Koren Robinson with a short touchdown pass they’d cut the lead to 21-19. Wallace’s pass attempt for the two point conversion was knocked down but after forcing a Dolphin punt Seattle had one last chance. They turned the ball over on downs as time ran out.  The Seahawks dropped to 2-7. With a late two point conversion, or eliminating one of the Dolphins big plays, the Seahawks could have returned home with a  7-2 record.

#7 – Nov. 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals 26-20 at Qwest Field

It didn’t help that the Cardinals and a red hot Kurt Warner built a commanding 26-7 lead by the end of the 3rd quarter. The Seahawks defense gave up 395 yards passing with Boldin getting 186 and Fitzgerald 151 respectively. The bright spot was Josh Wilson’s 58-yard return after an interception late in the first half. Two T.J. Duckett touchdowns closed the gap to 26-20 but the Seahawks could not sustain two late drives, including an interception on the team’s final drive, and went down to their 8th defeat of the season, instead of a potential 7-3 record

#8 – Nov 23 loss to the Redskins 20-17 at Qwest field

The Seahawks welcomed home Jim Zorn and came within a whisker of spoiling his homecoming. Matt Hasselbeck tossed a touchdown pass to Mo Morris at the end of the first half for a 10-7 Seahawks lead.  Josh Wilson returned the second half kickoff 55 yards, but the Seahawks failed to turn the opportunity into points. Later in the quarter Jason Campbell and Antwaan Randle El connected on an 8-yard scoring pass for a 17-3 lead. The Seahawks tied the game 17-17 on John Carlson’s touchdown catch with 13:24 left in the game but could not mount another scoring drive and the Redskins won in on a field goal by Shaun Suisham. Seattle falls to 2-9, could’ve been 8-3.

#9 – December 7 loss to the New England Patriots 24-21 at Qwest Field

The Seahawks built a 21-13 lead over the defending AFC champion Patriots but could not hang on for the victory. Deion Branch had a terrific game against his old teammates grabbing two touchdown passes, the second one late in the 3rd quarter for a 21-13 lead. After the Patriots hit a field goal and a touchdown to take a 24-21 lead the Seahawks had one more chance. Despite playing without all pro tackle Walter Jones and starting offensive linemen Chris Spencer and Mike Wahle, the Seahawks held the Patriots defense sackless until the last drive of the game when an all out blitz forced a sack and a Wallace fumble inside Patriots territory. Inspite of a three touchdown pass effort by Wallace the Seahawks fell to the Patriots 24-21 for their 11th loss of the season. Could’ve been 9-4.

Okay let’s admit it, there were games in which the Seahawks had no shot. It would have taken numerous factors to reverse losses to  Buffalo 34-10, The N.Y. Giants 44-6, Dallas 34-9 and Arizona 34-21.   But had the Seahawks suffered a normal  number of injuries and been able to avoid a dozen or so dropped passes, incorrect pass routes, missed tackles, blown coverages and holding calls a 4-12 season might well have been 10-6 , 11-5 or maybe even 12-4.  Scoff at my numbers if you will be it is this “glass half full” approach that keeps hope alive and makes next season more appealing than ever.