Seventh Heaven: Will Seattle's Streak Continue in the NFC Championship Game
January 15, 2015
Winning successive Super Bowls isn’t easy! The fact that the last team to do it was the Indianapolis Colts more than 10 years ago proves that. But Seattle has shaken off a slow start to the season to give themselves a golden chance of claiming successive NFL titles. The Seahawks are 1 of just 4 teams still alive and are on an exceptional run they hope drives them all the way to breaking a decade drought for defending champions. Can the side who won Super Bowl XLVIII claim Super Bowl XLIX?
Superb Streak after Slow Start to Season
Seattle’s season looked much the same as many reigning champions early on in their campaign. The Seahawks were 3 and 3 after 7 rounds; a Super Bowl hangover had kicked in. There were flashes of a championship team however injuries took its toll, and personnel dramas were evident. Factors which led to inconsistent performances from players and the entire team, and not just week to week, even quarter to quarter.
Then Seattle switched gears, found some form and began building its season. The Seahawks won 9 of their next 10 matches to finish on top of the pile in the NFC West Division and head into the play-offs on a 6 game winning streak. During their burst they’d gone from side doing what it needed to win to a team terrorising their opponents at every opportunity. Since losing to the Chiefs in week 11 the Seahawks defensive unit has shown little mercy and almost no gaps. In their final 6 regular season fixtures Seattle conceded just 39 points and only 3 touchdowns. With their offense also firing, the champs were now primed for the play-offs.
Seahawks Surge in Play-off to Crush Carolina
The Seahawks were certainly one of the hottest teams heading into the play-offs and Carolina couldn’t stop Seattle’s surge. Running quarterback Russell Wilson gave his legs a break, this time picking his opposition apart with the pass. He threw for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns in one of his finest post season games. The hosts bullied Carolina for 3 quarters and by the time the Panthers tried to launch a comeback in the last they were spent. An attacking error saw strong safety Kam Chancellor intercept a ball before returning it with interest. His stunning 90 yard touchdown sent the home fans into a frenzy as the Seahawks soared to a comfortable victory.
Seattle’s Divisional Round play-off win over Carolina came at a price though with rookie wideout Paul Richardson tearing his ACL. The injury in the third quarter unfortunately ending his season prematurely. The 22 year old took most of the year to find his feet before becoming an influential figure towards the back of 2014. He made 13 catches in his final three matches, including a career-high five grabs against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16 and a career-high 60 yards in Seattle’s last regular-season game against the St. Louis Rams. His explosiveness will be missed.
Championship Game – One Step Closer to Ultimate Goal
So Seattle reach a second straight NFC championship game and with fond memories of last year’s 6 point triumph over San Francisco. The Seahawks will aim to secure back to back Super Bowl appearances with back to back wins over the Green Bay Packers. Seattle powered past the Packers on the opening weekend of the season with a convincing 20 point win at Century Link Stadium and would take any sort of victory in front of their home fans once again.
While both sides won’t take a lot out of the week 1 match up The Packers are aware they need to slow down Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch who bagged a brace of touchdowns in that meeting. On the other side of the coin it appears the Seahawks shouldn’t have too much trouble slowing down Green Bay’s star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is playing with a calf injury that has limited his mobility, and although he guided the Packs to a divisional play-off win over the Cowboys he’ll need to move much quicker to avoid Seattle’s mob like defence.
Shooting for 8 straight wins the Seahawks in Seattle look almost unbeatable in this one but having not truly been tested in recent weeks are they ready for the grind? With a spot in the Super Bowl on the line…. You’d expect they will be.