SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West, but make no mistake, they were the ultimate wild card. No one knew quite what to make of them. They had not beaten a playoff team since the opener against Tampa Bay. They had not even faced a playoff team since traveling to Pittsburgh in October. They were division champions, but that is no great accomplishment, considering their division is regarded as the worst in football.
Over the past few months, the Seahawks sometimes looked bored by their own schedule, as though they were in an exhibition season that would not end. But they broke out of their stupor with a fury Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field, thumping the Washington Redskins 35-14, and thereby ending the sweetest storyline in the NFL.
After coming back from the death of
The first of Seattle's rapid fire touchdowns was a 20-yard pass from quarterback
"I think that really put icing on the cake," said Seattle safety
The Seahawks will now head to Green Bay, site of Hasselbeck's most infamous playoff moment. Before overtime of a 2004 playoff game at Lambeau Field, Hasselbeck won the coin toss and declared into the microphone: "We want the ball and we're going to score." He promptly threw an interception that was returned for a game-ending touchdown.
Asked Saturday if he regretted the outburst, Hasselbeck said: "Not at all. I thought it was funny. I just regret throwing the interception."
Famous for its west-coast offense, Seattle won this game with a heavy-metal defense. Through the first half, the Redskins did not reach the Seahawks' 30-yard line. Through the first three quarters, they did not score a point. Washington's
But in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, Collins tossed two touchdown passes, a seven-yarder
After Washington's second touchdown, a pooch kickoff bounced between
"I think that today's game is a little bit like our season in that nothing seemed to go right for us early and then this team has a way," said Washington head coach
The game was much more competitive than the final score indicates. Seattle cornerback
In recent years, the Seahawks have become playoff regulars, winning the NFC West four straight times. But during that period, they have never won a playoff game away from the rowdy confines of Qwest Field. Next week, they have an opportunity to take a Lambeau Leap, all the way into the NFL's elite.