Seahawks improbably escape another postseason near-loss

Jan 10, 2016, 6:00 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm
A missed 27-yard field goal was all that kept the Seahawks from being knocked out of the playoffs S...
A missed 27-yard field goal was all that kept the Seahawks from being knocked out of the playoffs Sunday. (AP)

“I don’t believe in luck, but I don’t know what else to call that.” – Doug Baldwin

MINNEAPOLIS – Ahtyba Rubin was face down on the ground, holding the thumb he had injured two plays earlier as the football sailed overhead.

Left tackle Russell Okung was looking up into a nearly cloudless sky on the coldest game in Seattle’s history.

Coach Pete Carroll’s eyes never left the football from the snap to the hold, in which the laces were turned toward Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh and the point-blank kick went wide left.

Way wide left.

Recap | Seahawks feel for kicker | Wilson’s big play | Lynch update | Photos

“I heard the crowd,” said linebacker Brock Coyle, part of Seattle’s field-goal block unit. “I looked back and I look right at the ref and I just see him going no good. I was just in shock, and I saw big Ahtyba Rubin was laying down. I just went over to him, and I was like, ‘Hey man, we just won the game.’

“He just lit up.”

So did an entire city, which then was left to try and digest a second absolutely incomprehensible playoff win in the last 365 days.

But if coming back to beat the Packers in last season’s NFC Championship Game was the equivalent of surviving an avalanche, this was like being blindfolded and lined up in front of a firing squad, only having every shot miss wide left.

“What was it, like a 27-yarder?” Bruce Irvin asked. “That’s a chip shot.”

There were 26 seconds left, 5 fewer than the Seahawks had left Atlanta in the last NFC playoff game that Seattle lost. Seattle didn’t have any timeouts, either. Walsh’s attempt was closer than an extra-point these days, and after making two field goals of more than 40 yards most everyone assumed that the two-time NFC champions were about to be knocked out.

Of course, you know what happens when you assume, right?

“They’ve still got to snap it,” Carroll said, “and they’ve still got to hold it and put it down on the ground and kick it. There’s a lot that has to happen there.”

Stuff happens in the NFL, and in this case, stuff happened to the other team.

“It’s just meant to be,” Irvin said. “I feel like it’s destiny man.”

There will be plenty of time searching for a deeper meaning in this victory, only the third time in NFL playoff history that a team won after failing to score in the first three quarters. The truth is that this wasn’t a tribute to anything other than Seattle’s willingness to keep playing hard all the way to the end of the coldest game in franchise history.

“I don’t think that this is a measure of anything as far as your football,” Carroll said, “other than it was guts and stick-to-it and grit the whole thing for both sides and somebody had to win. So we got one. We’re thrilled about that.”

After that kick missed, Michael Bennett fell to his knees and pointed to the sky. Richard Sherman was on the turf, too, facemask pressed to the turf with his hands on his earholes. And in the locker room afterward, Pete Carroll had a simple message:

“Enjoy the heck out of it. They’re so hard to come by. Just to survive this game and get a win and get on out of here and get to the next ball game is an enormous accomplishment and that’s all we take out of it. We’re not going to take great pride in our execution during the day, but we are going to take pride in the way we went about it and how hard we played and how tough we played and how we stuck with it to the end to get yourself in position to win.”

Danny and Gallant Show

Wyman & Bob

Danny ONeil

Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Seahawks have uncertainty with a player ‘holding in,’ but it’s not Quandre Diggs

While Quandre Diggs appears to be the third Seahawks player to "hold-in" during training camp, Danny O'Neil writes that it's Duane Brown whose future is up in the air.
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

AZ Good AZ it Gets

SPONSORED – Phoenix was the place where the rest of the country found out that Seattle fans took their enthusiasm on the road with them. That was 2013. It’s also the place where I discovered how restorative a desert vacation can be. That was 2015. Let’s start with the screaming. That’s what caught everyone’s attention […]
1 year ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Mariners aren’t handing the spotlight over to Seahawks just yet

This is the time of year that Seattle tends to shift its focus to the gridiron, but the Mariners are still commanding attention.
1 year ago
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: When Seahawks decide not to extend players, they’re rarely wrong

If you think the Seahawks must sign Duane Brown to an extension, when's the last time they opted against re-signing someone and it came back to bite them?
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Oh, LA, LA!

Week 15, Dec. 19: Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Maybe it was fitting that the opening act for the first pro-football game I covered in Los Angeles was a rock band I loved as a teenager. There’s no place that makes me think of growing up more than […]
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Star in a Lone Star Adventure

Week 14, Dec. 12: Seattle at Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 10 a.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Enchiladas and greatness. That’s what I think of in Texas. The enchiladas are pretty straightforward. They’re so delicious at El Tiempo Cantina that it’s hard to take a bite without closing my eyes. There are three locations though the one […]
1 year ago
Seahawks improbably escape another postseason near-loss