Tag Archives: Brandon Stokley

#10for10 Game #4: Beast Quake (Seahawks vs. Saints, 2010 NFC Wild-Card Playoff)

19 Nov

*To commemorate my 10th season as a Seahawks season ticket holder, I am telling the stories of the top 10 home games I have attended in the past 10 years*

Marshawn Lynch

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

There are many reasons why I love playoff football but one of those reasons is very unique to me. My birthday falls during the first part of January, and it has been proven possible that NFL playoff games can fall on my birthday, January 8th. It happened on my 15th birthday, a 27-20 Wild-Card loss to the St. Louis Rams. Six years later it happened again, this time on my 21st birthday. What better way to ring in my alcohol legality by enjoying Seahawks playoff football? I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

In Pete Carroll’s first season as head coach he led the Seahawks to a 7-9 record; a two game improvement from the previous season but due to an extremely weak division and a win over St. Louis in the final week of the season dubbed the “NFC West Championship,” the 2010 Seahawks became the first team in modern NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record.

10for10 79pride

Photo Credit: nfltouchdown.com

We were the 2010 NFC West champions which guaranteed us a home playoff game. Our opponent? The 11-5, defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

After a night of drinking with my then-girlfriend Lisa the night before, game day started a little on the slow side. We left her apartment in the U-District relatively early for a 1:30pm kickoff and stopped for a coffee at the international district Starbucks. We happened to run into my dad and my dad’s friend Steve at Starbucks and they graciously offered to take us out to the Pyramid Alehouse for lunch before the game to celebrate my birthday. I distinctly remember that we were seated and I immediately put my hungover head down on the table to rest. After assuring the waitress that I was in no mood for a beer, I ordered fish and chips and she then brought me two glasses of water. Lunch was not particularly noteworthy, however I did excuse myself twice to answer a couple of different phone calls from family and friends wishing me a happy 21st birthday. After lunch Lisa and I headed into the stadium.

One of the disadvantages of drinking in or around the stadium is that the bars and concession workers do not accept vertical driver’s licenses. Because of this fact Lisa had to order my first legal beer inside the stadium, something that still irks me to this day but it is what it is. We ran into my friend Ned at his seats on the lower level during pregame warmups and after a brief chat we headed up to my seats. I may not have had a more epic rally in my life. In a mere 5 hours I went from hungover to “ready to party it’s game time” mode. By kickoff I physically felt great!

The Seahawks offense was introduced as 67,000 fans waved their white rally towels; a scene that still gives me goosebumps when the Seahawks give away rally towels. Walter Jones raised the 12th Man flag and as kickoff approached I prayed the Seahawks could pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. I did not expect a win to be honest, but I knew that we always have a shot to win when we play at home. The start of the game went pretty much how fans across the country thought it would. The Saints took their opening drive down into red zone and settled for a field goal. After an interception by Matt Hasselbeck (which was deflected mind you), the Saints found the endzone when Drew Brees hit fullback Heath Evans for a 1-yard touchdown pass. We were not even 9 minutes into the game and the Saints already had a 10-0 lead. Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy pulled the entire defense together after this touchdown and told them how important it was for them to stick together. It was at this point that the momentum started to shift.

The next Seahawks possession took the ball down to the New Orleans 11-yard line. On 1st and 10 Matt Hasselbeck fired a play-action pass down the seam which was caught by tight end John Carlson for a touchdown. The score cut the Saints lead to 10-7 and the energy from the fans had fully returned. The Saints would not be denied on their next possession however, leading to a short touchdown run by Julius Jones which re-gave New Orleans a 10 point lead. The next Seattle drive featured a 39-yard fade from Hasselbeck to Cameron Morrah. On the very next play Hasselbeck found an uncovered Carlson in the endzone for his second touchdown of the game. The Saints led 17-14 but it was clear the Seahawks were going to be able to be competitive, so long as they could go blow-for-blow with the most explosive offense in the league. The way New Orleans was playing on defense, we in the stands believed it was going to be possible.

After a Seahawks field goal tied the game 17-17, the Seahawks got the ball back and were driving late in the first half. With 1:23 left in the half Hasselbeck connected with wide receiver Brandon Stokley for a 45-yard touchdown. The score gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 24-17, and Lisa and I along with everyone else around us went crazy. It felt as if  the common narrative in the stands was “we thought we could be competitive but actually take a lead??!! I cannot believe this is happening!”

The Seahawks got the ball to start the second half and immediately extended their lead. Hasselbeck connected with Mike Williams on yet another long bomb and the Seahawks suddenly had a 31-20 lead. After a mediocre regular season and dealing with a broken wrist, Matt Hasselbeck was having the game of his life. It was his finest hour in his final home game as a Seahawk. The scoring continued on our next drive as an Olindo Mare field goal extended our lead to 34-20.

A 34-20 lead in 2015 would probably mean the end of this game but unfortunately the Legion of Boom was two or three years late to this party. Two punts led to 10 New Orleans points and with 9:16 left in the game the Seahawks lead was down to 34-30. The Seahawks punted the ball back to the Saints with 5:36 left and the Saints had to drive 94 yards to score touchdown and take the lead back. I distinctly remember the game going into a television timeout and they played a pump up video on the video screens. It was a video that synced select Seahawks players and clips of the fans screaming to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Let Me Hear You Scream” (something that has since become a Seahawks playoff tradition for select playoff games). This fired up the 12th Man to a level that had not been seen or heard at any point during the game. With an ultra-motivated crowd the Saints did nothing on their next drive, punting the ball back to Seattle with 4:20 left to play. All the Seahawks need to do was score a touchdown to virtually seal the upset. What happened next earned this game a spot on my #10for10 list.

After running back Marshawn Lynch was stopped for no gain, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates called the now-famous play, “17 Power.” Hasselbeck snapped the ball, turned around and handed to Lynch who somehow escaped 4 tackles at the line of scrimmage, and two more in the second level of the New Orleans defense. Lynch was off to the races. After shedding a fifth tackle, he delivered the nastiest stiff arm I have ever seen to Tracy Porter which launched Porter five yards backwards. It was at this point I thought Lynch could go all the way. After shedding a seventh tackle he cut it back inside and he had a clear path to the endzone. During the entire run the stands were going crazy and after Lynch stiff armed Porter I held on to Lisa on my left while grabbing at the two guys sitting in front of me. As soon as Lynch cut it back inside I knew he was going to score. I did not see him cross the goal line and I did not see him do his now-famous “hold mah dick” because I ran up the stairs on the aisle, waving my arms in exhilaration. I high-fived and hugged probably about 20 or more people and upon running back down the stairs back to my seat Lisa had a look in her eyes and an expression on her face I will never forget; a look of “you are absolutely crazy.” It was later revealed that this touchdown run was recorded as seismic activity close by the stadium and will forever be known as “Beast Quake;” the defining run of Marshawn Lynch’s career. The score gave the Seahawks a 41-30 lead and with 3:22 left in the game we all now believed we would be victorious.

10for10 holdmahdick

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

The Saints were able to drive down the field and score which cut the lead to 41-36 but New Orleans could not successfully execute the following onside kick. The Seahawks ran out the clock and the 7-9 NFC West champion Seahawks had remarkably punched their ticket to the NFC Divisional playoffs. I remember the fans stuck around for a while after the game and as the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” blared over the sound system on repeat, Lisa and I embraced for what felt like forever. To this day this is probably my most memorable birthday ever, and there is no question it rightfully deserves a place on this countdown.

Review: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10

19 Aug

The Seahawks were able to overcome a shaky first half and behind the solid play of quarterback Russell Wilson, defeated the Denver Broncos 30-10 Saturday night. Here are some thoughts on what I witnessed and some points I took out of the game.

Flynn took chances, but looked average: Something that was talked about by mostly everybody including myself after last week’s game was that Matt Flynn looked good but was very vanilla in terms of deciding where to throw the ball. He played safe last week and I wanted to see him take more chances down the field in Denver. Flynn took more chances but unfortunately he was inconsistent. Some throws were his fault and others were the receivers fault. A couple passes specifically, a pass intended for Kellen Winslow sailed high and through the endzone, was clearly a Flynn blunder. Another pass which has to be mentioned is a 46 yard pass to Terrell Owens that would have been a touchdown. Flynn put the ball right into Owens’s hands and he dropped the ball. As “Hawk Blogger” tweeted after the game if T.O. would have made that catch, Flynn’s would have been 7/14 for 77 yards and a passer rating of 158.0. Instead, Flynn finished 6/13 for 31 yards and a 57.4 passer rating.

Speaking of T.O.: Terrell Owens had every opportunity tonight to show Coach Carroll that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster. Instead he did not catch any passes that were intended for him. The target that hurt him the most was the long would-be touchdown pass. Owens should consider himself lucky that Braylon Edwards did not have any catches tonight either because that would have made his night even worse. What I also noticed was Owens’ body language on the field. Very early on Owens seemed to look frustrated that some passes were not thrown in his direction. He would slightly flail his hands up in the air, trying to show Flynn that he was open. I know Owens has stated that he is now very humble and gracious to have this chance but I wondered what would happen once he stepped on the field. My worry was that his prior attitudes would flare up again in the heat of the moment. The sample size is way too small to make assumptions at this point but Owens did look slightly frustrated at times. Owens will get a big chance next week in Kansas City to prove he belongs on this team and if he does not take advantage, I believe the T.O. experiment will be cut short. You cannot impress in practice and not have it translate in a game. It has to be a two-way deal.

Russell Wilson deserves a chance to play with the first- team unit in a game: After going 10/17 for 155 yards and two touchdowns, I think Russell Wilson is gaining legitimate ground to challenge for the starting quarterback job and definitely deserves the chance to play with the starting offense sometime in the next two weeks. The Seahawks scored 21 points in the second half thanks in large part to Wilson’s play. Wilson once again did a great job splitting defenders and is not afraid to air it out. Wilson’s most impressive play was a first-down conversion to Lavasier Tuinei in the fourth quarter that tricked the television cameraman. It looked as though Wilson was just going to throw the ball away on the rollout to his right but he threw a floater to the sideline and Tuinei reeled it in. Two plays later, Wilson connected with running back Tyrell Sutton for a 34 yard touchdown pass. Wilson is a very smart quarterback. I have said this before and he continues to show why I have that opinion of him. With the starters expected to play into the second half next week against Kansas City, I do not think Wilson will get the chance to start but he may get the chance to start when the Seahawks finish up the preseason in two weeks against Oakland.

MVP of the game: My MVP of tonight’s game was corner back Jeron Johnson. The second-year defensive back from Boise State had 4 tackles and also picked off Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the second quarter. Johnson played the majority of the game and was the definition of “ball hawk” tonight. Wherever a play developed, Johnson found a way to be around it whether he directly contributed or not. Johnson made the team last year and primarily contributed on special teams. After a solid outing Saturday night, Johnson has a really good chance of making the team this season.

My critique of Peyton: For the most part, Peyton Manning looked good enough. Good enough to be a solid quarterback fully capable of getting the Broncos in contention for the AFC West title. Manning did not look as sharp as has looked in the past, but what do you expect from a 36-year-old quarterback coming off two spinal fusion surgeries who hasn’t played in over a year? A lot of Manning’s passes looked wobbly but he managed the offense with ease. He was able to pick apart the front seven of the Seahawks for the majority of the first half but made key mistakes that cost the Broncos points. Manning proved a couple things to me after Saturday’s game. First, he has the arm strength to throw the ball deep down the field. He was unsuccessful against “the legion of BOOM” (The self-given nickname of the Seahawks starting secondary), but if he has to make a deep throw, he can. Secondly, Manning can take a hit. The Seahawks were not able to record a sack on Manning but we knocked him to the ground on multiple occasions. None of our quarterback hits were too hard and none were to the head/neck. Manning has yet to be hit hard in game action since his recovery so time will tell if he is durable enough to last after hard contact. Best of luck to him this season and here’s to a healthy Manning in 2012.

A potential (fantasy) sleeper: There has been a lot of talk over the offseason about the chemistry building between Peyton Manning and Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker. It is believed that Decker is the player to draft in fantasy football over flanker Demaryius Thomas. However after tonight I believe there is a super sleeper hidden on the Broncos depth chart; none other than Brandon Stokley. Stokley, a Seahawk in 2010, was a teammate of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis from 2003-2006 and was arguably Manning’s most trustworthy target out of the slot. In Saturday night’s game, you could tell the Manning-Stokley combination this season could be deadly after Stokley caught a team-high three catches for 41 yards. As a decent fantasy football player *cough cough* I believe that Decker and Thomas will put up good numbers but do not forget about Stokley. If Stokley makes the team expect Manning to throw his way a good number of times.

Broncos D haven’t missed a step: The first team Denver defense looked really sharp Saturday night, sacking Flynn once and flushing him out of the pocket multiple times. Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller will be a deadly duo rushing the passer this season. A combination of Peyton Manning’s play and the young, dominating Broncos pass rush will go a long way in securing the division title this season.

Random Thoughts: The weather did not play as big of a factor as I thought. When I went to Denver two years ago game time temperature was in the high 90’s. The high in Denver Saturday night was in the high 70’s. Very comfortable for a night game… I was glad to see us finish the game in great health. The only injury off the top of my head at this moment was tight end Anthony McCoy getting the wind knocked out of him in the second half… Marshawn Lynch saw some playing time early on in the game. After every handoff I quickly prayed that he did not get hurt. The last thing we can have is our star running back be sidelined for any amount of time… Our uniform combination was white jerseys and blue pants. The combo looked good but I would have liked to have seen white pants instead of blue… The Broncos brought back their orange jersey as their primary home jersey this season. Peyton Manning looks the weirdest in a navy blue helmet and orange jersey in my opinion. My buddy Alan has been waiting for a shout-out on my blog so here it is. There is nothing like brats, beer, friends, and football. Great to watch the game with Alan and have him pick my brain about the team. Can’t wait for us to go to the Cowboys game next month buddy!

The team landed safely in Seattle late last night. The Seahawks will take Sunday off before getting back to practice in preparation for the game against Kansas City next Friday. Thanks for reading everybody. See you back here tomorrow!