ESPN’s Trey Wingo, national media surprised by ‘Hawks playoff success
By Michael Simeona, MyNorthwest.com intern
Heading into last week, the unsuspecting Seahawks were the biggest home underdog (+10.5) in NFL playoff history having been the first team ever to clinch a postseason berth with a losing record.
But after Saturday’s thrilling 41-36 upset victory over New Orleans, the Seahawks were the only home team to come away with a victory during wildcard playoff weekend – surprising not only the defending world champions, but the entire nation.
Matt Hasselbeck‘s four touchdown passes against New Orleans were his most in a single game all year, and considering the Saints only gave up 13 passing touchdowns all season, its safe to say Hasselbeck’s veteran leadership will be a major asset throughout the postseason according to Trey Wingo, host of ESPN’s NFL Live.
“I think the reason (the Seahawks) are moving on in the playoffs is because of what Matthew Hasselbeck is able to do,” said Wingo.
Hasselbeck threw the ball with pinpoint accuracy Saturday, as his 45-yard touchdown toss to Brandon Stokley and 39-yard completion to TE Cameron Morrah – to name a few – exemplified the beauty of what a perfectly thrown pass looks like.
“Those were big-time, under pressure, getting hit-in-the-chops throws that a veteran quarterback like Hasselbeck can make, and kids like Charlie (Whitehurst) haven’t learned yet,” Wingo said on Tuesday’s show.
Although Hasselbeck had a memorable game for the ages, Marshawn Lynch‘s game-clinching 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was one of the greatest plays in NFL playoff history.
“I’m not sure I ever saw a run where eight guys in the playoffs try and tackle him and couldn’t be brought down,” Wingo said. “It reminded me a lot, in many ways, of Otis Anderson‘s run in the Super Bowl – Super Bowl XXV where he dragged Mark Kelso for five yards and gave him a little battering ram with his right arm as he was trying to bring him down. If it’s not the top, it’s not out of the top five, – I can promise you that – in postseason history. It was awesome.”
The Seahawks can shock the football universe once again when they travel to Soldier Field this Sunday to battle the NFC North champion Chicago Bears. The two teams have played once already this season, as Seattle’s 23-20 win on Oct. 17 was a hallmark win for a team that struggles on the road.
So are the knowledgeable experts of the NFL Live cast going to predict another upset for the underdog Seahawks this Sunday?
“The Seahawks, as you well know, are a completely different team in the playoffs at home,” Wingo said. “They’re 7-2 in postseason play at home and 1-7 on the road, and they’ve lost their last seven road playoff games.
“I don’t mean to be Mr. Buzzkill, but they got a lot of baggage heading into this one in Chicago.”