Has Pete Carroll brought back the 12th man?

It’s something that we as Seahawk fans take personal pride in.

The Seahawks from 2003-2007 had one of the best home records in the NFL. Nearly 100 false starts since 2005.

Qwest Field has been one of the toughest venues in sports for an opposing team to win in.

Then, we lost it. The Seahawks fielded a team so uncompetitive that it didn’t matter what the 12th man did. The Seahawks were often out of it by halftime, the crowd taken out of it, the 12th man subdued. Even in instances where the 12th man did their job in close football games, our wonderful Seahawks found ways to lose.

When Pete Carroll decided he was interested in this head coaching job he immediately began to think about the crowd noise, the home field advantage, how he could use it to HIS advantage.

Pete Carroll, you’ve successfully unleashed the beast. The tiger is out of the cage. Pete Carroll himself might as well consider himself part of the 12th man the way he jumps and down and screams during the action, running up and down the field.

The most important thing he’s done though has been to make this football team, at the very least, competitive. Let’s face it, these guys still aren’t that talented. There are still a lot of holes on this football team, there are a lot of question marks on this football team, and last Sunday against San Diego there were a ton of mistakes, a ton of shooting themselves in the foot, and a ton of inconsistencies.

But these guys believe. These guys know that when they are at Qwest Field they can beat anybody, they know that if they keep it close, and give us a reason to be loud for our football team, that’s exactly what we’re going to do, and that’s what happened against San Diego.

The way the Seahawks have played their two home games, compared to the one road contest in Denver is quite frankly night and day. In fact, I could argue that the Seahawks played every bit as sloppy on Sunday as they did last week in Denver.

Deion Branch fumbled at the one which led to a touchback. Seattle gained one first down in the second half. Phillip Rivers gashed Seattle’s secondary for over 400 yards gaining what seemed like 15 yards an attempt(exaggeration).

Of course you could say Leon Washington’s two return touchdowns over shadowed the effects the 12th man had on the football game. Sure, but those two touchdowns wouldn’t have even mattered if San Diego was able to get into an offensive rhythm in the first half. San Diego was scoreless and turned the football over three times. Chris Clemons, who had three sacks in the entirety of 2009, had two yesterday, and a pass rush that hasn’t shown any signs of life since Patrick Kerney had the one healthy year of his career, put pressure into River’s face and made him throw a plethora of incomplete passes.

Still, in the second half San Diego had momentum. Even after flying high with Washington’s second touchdown return, the Seahawks once again did nothing on offense when they got the ball back with two minutes left. They had to punt, and give it back to the hot hand quarterback. Phillip Rivers had the ball at midfield, and it only took two passes to get him down inside the Seahawk’s 12.

Then Pete Carroll broke back out the secret weapon. The 67,000 deep defensive player whose average income is probably a mere fraction of the game check that Phillip Rivers received after the game. They made the Chargers star quarterback have to respond when push came to shove.

Flags flew on third down, the official crossed his arms, and penalized the offense five yards. Delay of game. Rivers couldn’t get the play off.

Way to feed the secret weapon Rivers. He sealed his own fate, it was over. The 12th man had too much energy, and the football eventually ended up in the arms of Earl Thomas to end the game.

What is the moral of this story?

A vastly outmatched defense stepped up during crunch time against a top five quarterback and a top five passing attack. An offense that had proved during the second half they could try overcome the 12th man. Only temporarily, I guess.

This wouldn’t have happened last year. This wouldn’t have happened in 2008 when the 12th man couldn’t be a factor in games against New England, Washington and San Francisco. The Seahawks weren’t good enough. The Seahawks didn’t believe.

Football is a sport of emotions, and it’s a game of emotions for everybody involved. On Sunday, the Seahawks turned a major corner and re-introduced a very important member of their family back into the fold.

There will be more home games where the Seahawks will be, on paper, over matched. The other team will have more talent, they’ll have better players, and will hands down play better football. The 12th man won’t care though, because they know that when they are in unison with their football team, magical things can happen in this stadium.

Now, if the Seahawks want to REALLY over-acheive and you know, actually make some noise and stuff, how about winning a road game? Making it 11 in a row against a St.Louis team playing decent football, in their house, would be pretty significant. God forbid doing it at Soldier Field? Who knows.

But when Pete Carroll and the boys come back home, they have the secret weapon in their back pocket.