I’ll never forget the look on their faces. Despair, sadness, shock, and denial. The expressions were something akin to what you would observe at the funeral of a soul who had been taken quickly and without notice. As they sat drinking their coffee and eating their beignets, the act of their demoralization and despise recycled upon the flat screen televisions throughout the restaurant at the Silver Cloud Stadium hotel. They had a long day ahead of them which included a flight from Sea Tac to Louis Armstrong International airport. They had lost and it was time for them to go marching home.
For me on the other hand, I was grinning from ear to ear in ectasy as I sipped my cup of morning Joe. I reveled in watching the act of their despair over and over, but for me, it was a breathtaking moment coupled with aspiration. It was a 67 yard touchdown run by running back Marshawn Lynch (#24) in the fourth quarter of the previous night’s game. The run secured a wildcard playoff victory for the Seattle Seahawks over the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 season.
The Seahawks had earned a home playoff berth the week before by beating the St. Louis Rams to win the NFC West division with a 7-9 record. Back up quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (#6) a/k/a Clipboard Jesus had started against the Rams due to an injury of starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (#8). At the time, there was a vocal minority of Seahawks “fans” who didn’t want the team to beat the Rams in order to secure a lower draft pick.
The national media and public were in an outrage that the Seahawks could host a home playoff game with a losing record while other teams such as the New York Giants failed to make the playoffs with a 10-6 record. Experts cried out for the NFL to change the seeding rules for the playoffs. The Seahawks became the target of national hatred, disdain, and disrespect.
The world was against the Seahawks and the 12th Man, just the way we like it. The world was not worried because the injustice of the Seahawks making the playoffs would be righted by the New Orleans Saints, who would surely destroy the Hawks and eliminate them from the first round of the playoffs.
All the talking heads on the national media didn’t give the Hawks a snowball chance in hell to win the game. Las Vegas had them at 10.5 point underdogs at home against the defending Superbowl champions.
It was unclear who would start at quarterback against the Saints. There was controversy amongst the 12’s on who should be taking snaps under center. I wanted #8 to start because he gave us the best chance to win in comparison to Whitehurst. The “Charlie Chanters” of course wanted Clipboard Jesus to start. Coach Pete Carroll went with Hasselbeck.
Seahawks Stadium was electric with energy and the 12th Man was prepared to do their job. It started off by Seahawks legend and future Hall of Fame’r left tackle Walter Jones (#71) raising the 12th Man flag.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Seahawks. On their first offensive possession, Hasselbeck threw a pass to wide receiver Ben Obomanu (#87) which hit him in his hands, bounced out, and was intercepted by the Saints. The turnover eventually led to a Saints touchdown. Halfway through the first quarter the Hawks were down 10-0.
Hasselbeck turned the offense around and threw some dimes to his wide receiver corp of nobodies. He ended up throwing a total of four touchdowns to tight end John Carlson (#89) , wide receiver Big Mike Williams (#17), and wide receiver Brandon Stokley (#15).
With 3.5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks were hanging onto a tenuous lead of 34-30. The stadium and crowd were nervous and sensed that the Saints would take the lead. Could the Hawks hang on long enough to get a victory? And then some magic happened.
Hasselbeck handed off the ball to Marshawn Lynch on second down for a “17 power” run play. The result was a 67 yard touchdown run where Lynch destroyed the Saints tacklers as he danced his way to the south end zone. He even got a “baby stiff arm” on Saints cornerback Tracy Porter along the way. He finished the run off by jumping backwards into the end zone and grabbing his crotch Michael Jackson style. It was perhaps the greatest run in NFL playoff history.
The run by Lynch and the reaction of the 12th Man is forever etched in the memories of my mind. I have never seen anything like it in my life and it was awesome. As Lynch crossed mid-field near the Seahawks logo, the whole stadium sensed he could score because there was so much green field turf in front of him. The excitement and fervor in the stands reached a crescendo as Lynch and his convoy of blockers celebrated in the end zone. At that point, everybody in the stands knew the Seahawks were going to win the game and the crowd went wild. If you weren’t present, these two videos on YouTube come as close as possible to what the feeling was in the stadium that night at that moment.
The Hawks shocked the NFL world by beating the New Orleans Saints.
What we didn’t know at the time and wouldn’t learn of until Monday, was that Lynch’s epic run and ensuing 12th Man reaction created an earthquake. An old geologic sensor that had been placed underneath the footprint of the old KingDome recorded seismic activity at the moment of the touchdown. The event would later be coined the “Beast Quake” and will live on in Seahawks lore.
Also unknown at the time, was that the Saints had placed a bounty on Williams, Hasselbeck, and Lynch. It’s safe to say no payouts were made.
Marshawn Lynch breaks down the anatomy of the run with NFL Films and is worthy of watching.
The scene around Seahawks Stadium after the game was euphoric. The 12s were partying hard and chants of “SEA-HAWKS” echoed through the streets of Seattle that night.
The Seahawks will match up against the Saints this coming Monday night for the first time since the Beast Quake. Today’s team for the most part is completely different from the 2010 team, except for Carroll, Lynch, free safety Earl Thomas (#29), strong safety Kam Chancellor (#31), and left tackle Russell Okung (#76). The Saints have recovered from their Bounty Gate season and are looking to knock the Seahawks out of the driver’s seat for home field advantage in the upcoming playoffs. It’s going to be a great game and hopefully there will be some more magical moments in Seahawks Stadium.