Almanac NFL: Wild momentum, but Seahawks fall short.

As a fan of sport around the world, I’m constantly amazed by the primo intangible, ‘momentum’. Yesterday, the Seattle Seahawks two-year reign as NFC champions seemed to hit a gross point-blank end; quicker than Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart running 59 yards from blast off, or Luke Kuechly picking off Russell Wilson (under immense pressure) and running it in the 14 yards (suddenly 14-0) or quicker than it takes to grind your beans and heat a first coffee – bitter at 5ish in the morning.

Carolina were ‘on’ and Seattle slip, sliding away on the apparently freshly sod turf at Bank of America Stadium. It led to player cleat changes during the game – surely there was a pre-game warm up while I was sleeping?

On his long awaited return – and on his first carry – Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch was mobbed by six Panthers for a 3 yard loss. It was a manifest act of pressure, the kind you look for in your team, whenever they run out. Carolina’s defence were buzzing (and probably verballing) with chest-out machismo. Shortly after, Russell Wilson was sacked.

In the second, Carolina Quarterback Cam Newton handed the ball off to Jonathan Stewart who leapt over a mass of bodies and hung the ball over the line (in mid-air) for a remarkable touchdown: 21-0. Russell Wilson was intercepted again, this time only costing a field goal (24-0), before Newton made a searing throw to Greg Olsen. At 31-0, the hole was too deep, debacle complete and all before half-time.

As the Seattle Times reported, ‘By all appearances, the Seahawks were dead and buried, and the Panthers were preparing to take a team selfie at the grave.’(1)

Sure enough, in the second half, an implausible comeback and momentum began to mount. Seattle got on the board, courtesy of a Kearse catch in less than a minute and better was to follow when Wilson threw 50 yards, to the corner of the end zone, for Tyler Lockett to run onto: 31:14. Don’t go into work too soon.

In the 4th, Wilson continued to back pedal and wheel in a manner that makes me nervous (and had seen him sacked a couple of times). To his great credit, he found Lockett (again) with a catch just inside the field of play and then, at 3rd and goal, evaded a menacing sack, found fresh air where there was none, and threw a 30 yard pass over the fingernails of a Panther, to Jermaine Kearse for the touchdown – this play was the worm for early birds: 21:31.

Wilson was back, now. He found Doug Baldwin twice for good gains, but as often happens for a chasing team, time was becoming a problem. With 1:20 left, the pass Wilson needed – long to Kearse in the end zone – was overthrown. Seattle settled for a field goal (24-31). The subsequent onside kick formation was recovered by Carolina and they would not give it back. Despite all the second half momentum, Seattle fell short. Another few minutes and who knows, but that is not an uncommon feeling for chasing teams. Carolina’s first half was stunning, perhaps the Seahawks luck had frozen in Minnesota, or they simply didn’t win enough games in the season to gain home-field advantage in the playoffs (Seattle were the 6th seed in the NFC, the conference’s second wild card). In any event, the Panthers hung on and advance to the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals, for a place in Super Bowl 50 on February 8.            .

“Well, we made a mess of it in the first half,’’ Pete Carroll said in his post-game media conference. Jermaine Kearse said, at half time, the focus was on “holding on to each other and sticking with one another.”… Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas’ mantra as the comeback mounted was, “just find a way to get the game to overtime — and then it’s over’’ (2).

And they nearly did.


NFL DIVISIONAL GAME – Yesterday 5:05am



Bank of America Stadium. Charlotte, North Carolina.





  1. Stone. L, “Russell Wilson’s appeal to teammates saves Seahawks from humiliation, but can’t save their season”, Seattle Times. 18.1.2016.
  2. Stone. L, “Russell Wilson’s appeal to teammates saves Seahawks from humiliation, but can’t save their season”, Seattle Times. 18.1.2016.













About Paul Campbell

Lawyer, left footer. Loves the Hawks and follows a few U.S sports.

Leave a Comment