After defeating the St. Louis Rams (7–9) by the score of 16–6 on Sunday night at Qwest Field, the Seattle Seahawks (7–9) became the first team in NFL history to reach the postseason with a losing record.
Pete Carroll was all smiles though. Speaking after the game, the Seahawks first-year head coach enthusiastically said on www.seahawks.com, "We feel very fortunate to have been in this situation tonight, to be there with the opportunity to win the division.
"It was a complete win for us and it was great to be in a game like that. It's a first step for us, we're a work in progress, but the guys answered the call."
The Seahawks beat the Rams with a punishing ground game (35 rushes for 141 yards) and a stingy defense that played with reckless abandon.
Resembling the tenacious 'Hawks team that made it to the 2007 Super Bowl, Seattle's defense held the Rams to only 47 yards rushing, 137 yards passing, and allowed only 2-of-14 third down completions.
Seattle quarterback Charlie Whitehurst put his team on the board and scored the first points of the game at 11:38 in the first quarter after hooking up with receiver Mike Williams on a 4-yard touchdown that drove the home crowd into a frenzy. Some say the Qwest Field crowd is the noisiest in the NFL.
In the second quarter, the Rams cut into the lead following a 32-yard field goal by former Seattle kicker Josh Brown at 8:54.
Opening the second half with a 7–3 lead, the Seahawks defense then took over the game and shut down the Rams offensively, holding them to only 3 points—a 27-yard field goal at 8:59.
Seattle kicker Olindo Mare answered back with a pair of field goals, at 3:04 and 10:53 in the fourth quarter, connecting on field goals for 31 and 38-yards respectively.
With the Seahawks leading 13–6 and the game winding down, Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford threw the pick of the game, getting picked off by Seattle linebacker Will Herring at 8:42, at the Seattle 46-yard line. The interception all but took the life out of St. Louis.
Mare sealed the win for Seattle with a 34-yard field goal at 1:34.
Coach Carroll commented, "Our fans were incredible. So grateful that we can give that back to them and come back and play on Saturday. I imagine that Seattle is going to be on fire for it."
Will Herring added, "Getting into the playoffs, that's all you want—to have a shot. We're going to have our fans behind us.
"To have the 12th Man behind us, you can’t even put into words how much they help us and the advantage we get to have with that noise factor they bring every week."
The reason Seattle is headed to the playoffs, while other teams such as the New York Giants (10–6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10–6) are staying home, is due to the NFL rules which include divisional winners in the postseason despite records.
Both Seattle and St. Louis were tied with the same record but since the Seahawks had a better divisional record (4–2) than the Rams (3–3), they won the division.
As the No. 4 seed, the Seahawks will host the fifth seeded and defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints (11–5) in the Wildcard round next Saturday.
Seattle will most likely need its infamous 12th Man to create enough noise to wreak havoc for the visiting Saints—because on paper, and from their earlier meeting this year in which New Orleans defeated the Seahawks 34–19 in November at the Superdome, the Saints will present a very tall order for the home-favorite 'Hawks.