With Charlie Whitehurst at the helm, the Seattle Seahawks rallied for the final game of regular season play to earn the division title over rival the St. Louis Rams.
Whitehurst, in what was only his second NFL start, threw a solid game: 192 yards, 1 touchdown, and—most notably—no interceptions.
The credit for the win really goes to Seattle’s defense. They held St. Louis to a total of 184 yards over 54 plays. Raheem Brock tallied 2.5 sacks (Chris Clemons evened out his season total to 11 with .5 sacks this game), Will Herring flawlessly picked a Bradford pass, and every member of the defense had their hands in every play, deflecting passes and pressuring receivers.
They’ll have to carry their momentum into next week if they stand a chance against the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round.
The last time the Seahawks met the Saints they lost 34-19 despite Hasselbeck’s 366 passing yards. Seattle simply could not stop the Saints’ relentless march and could not complete drives (Olindo Mare kicked 13 of Seattle’s 19 total points).
Last weekend, though, Seattle found their run game (something they were sorely lacking against New Orleans) rushing for a respective team total of 141 yards (compared to their 58 total in Week 11 against the Saints).
Jeremy Bates’ play-calling against the Rams was conservative and effective. With a young squad, who haven’t had much consistency this season, simple is better—and could be key to a wild-card weekend win.
The entire country will be looking to the Seahawks to prove the NFL’s playoff scheme works by hosting a competitive match rather than the complete blow-out the Northwest is used to seeing from Seattle.