Kelly Jennings was on the field for a play that readers of Seahawks.com voted the best of the just-completed decade. It’s just that Jennings had a completely different take – and view – of Jordan Babineaux running down Cowboys QB/holder Tony Romo after a botched field goal attempt to ice the 2006 wild-card win over Dallas at Qwest Field.
Jennings was a rookie cornerback that season, the team’s first-round draft choice out of Miami. Now, he is about to start his fifth postseason game as the Seahawks head to Chicago for Sunday’s divisional game against the Bears at Qwest Field.
In fact, Jennings is one of only 11 players remaining from the Seahawks’ last playoff team in 2007 – joining Babineaux, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, cornerback Marcus Trufant, defensive tackles Craig Terrill and Brandon Mebane, offensive linemen Sean Locklear and Chris Spencer, linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Will Herring and wide receiver Ben Obomanu.
To help celebrate the Seahawks’ return to the postseason after a two-year absence, Seahawks.com asked Jennings for his favorite playoff moment. Here’s what his view of the Romo play – or Babineaux play, if you will – looked like:
“I was actually coming to block it from the other end. If you look at some of the pictures from that play, I’m actually flying through from the other side and I almost tripped Babs. Because when I flew, he had to jump over me to go make the tackle. So I almost kind of messed that up.”
Jennings didn’t trip Babineaux, who was then able to trip up Romo – short of the goal line, and also short of what would have been a first down.
“As I landed after trying to block it, I looked up to see Babs chasing him. So I kind of had a backroom view. Because I almost knocked Babs down, my thought through the whole thing was, ‘Get him. Get him. Get him.’ ”
Babineaux did, to preserve a 21-20 victory that sent the Seahawks to a divisional game in Chicago – which the Bears won 27-24 in overtime on a field goal that the Seahawks could not find a way to prevent.
Will Herring never was a wide-eyed rookie. After joining the Seahawks as a fifth-round draft choice in 2007, the linebacker from Auburn was among the team leader in special teams tackles and has since developed into a valuable situational player in the nickel defense and he also possesses the skills to play any of the three linebacker spots in the base defense.
But Herring’s eyes were opened very wide during his first postseason game – the Seahawks’ 34-14 victory over the Washington Redskins in a wild-card matchup at Qwest Field that season.
To help celebrate the Seahawks’ return to the postseason after a two-year absence, Seahawks.com asked Herring for his favorite playoff memory. After pondering the question for a second, Herring opted for the obvious:
“Definitely that first playoff game against the Redskins my rookie season. They were coming in hot. They had had won four or five straight, coming off Sean Taylor’s death, and they really rallied and had become a tremendous football team. They were playing with a lot of emotion, and it was a hard-fought game.”
But a game the Seahawks won, as cornerback Marcus Trufant and nickel back Jordan Babineaux returned interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter and the linebacking trio of Leroy Hill (13), Lofa Tatupu (12) and Julian Peterson (10) combined for 35 tackles.
“There were guys out there scratching and clawing. There were some tears. It was an emotional game – on both sides of the ball,” Herring said. “So that entire game was just unbelievable.”
Asked about the 12th Man that day, Herring offered, “It was insane. The atmosphere in the stadium was just insane. We talked about it the other day, before we played the Saints (in Saturday’s wild-card game at Qwest). Just in the linebacker room. What it was like. Just for the younger guys.
“When you step in the stadium and you feel the energy and you feel the crowd, people are angry; people are out for blood. It’s not laughing and giggling, like ‘Let’s go Seahawks.’ It’s like a (perturbed) look in their eyes, and it’s like, ‘Let’s go!’ You can’t really explain it. I probably can’t put it into words.
“But we talked about it the other day, and sure enough it was the exact thing (against the Saints). It was incredible.”
Because of that repeat of the incredible atmosphere at Qwest, and another emotional effort by the team, Herring will play in his fourth postseason game on Sunday when the Seahawks meet the Bears in a divisional playoff game in Chicago.
Brandon Mebane joined the Seahawks in 2007 – as a third-round draft choice, and just in time for what turned out to be the last of the team’s five consecutive postseason appearances.
The Seahawks are back in the postseason, and so is the wide-bodied defensive tackle. Mebane will start his fourth playoff game on Sunday, when the Seahawks face the Chicago Bears in a divisional-round matchup at Soldier Field.
To help celebrate the team’s return to the postseason after a two-year absence, Seahawks.com asked Mebane for his favorite playoff memory. He wanted two, and anyone his size (320 pounds) deserves a second helping:
“My first one was ’07, when (cornerback Marcus) Trufant took the interception back against the Redskins. That was my favorite one.”
That was in a wild-card game at Qwest Field. Trufant picked off a Todd Collins pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown – the first interception return for a score in franchise playoff history – to give the Seahawks a 28-14 lead with 5½ minutes to play.
“What was so cool about it,” Mebane said, smiling as he replayed the runback in his mind’s eye, “was that we had a wall set up along the sideline for Trufant. He got the score, but we all felt like we did our part, too, because no one was able to touch him. That was pretty cool.”
Mebane’s other choice was a play that has become an instant classic: Marshawn Lynch’s electrifying 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to ice Saturday’s upset victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints at Qwest Field.
“Unbelievable,” Mebane said, smiling again, as he talked about his former teammate at Cal shocking the football world. “I knew he had that in him, because I’d seen it before. But to break that kind of run – and to do it the way he did it, when we really needed it – that’s something I’ll remember forever.”
Mebane is not alone on that one.
During the Seahawks’ run to the Super Bowl in 2005, Sean Locklear was the team’s “other” tackle. That’s not a dig at Locklear. It was just a fact of life, because nine-time Pro Bowl tackle Walter Jones was on the left side – and paired with guard Steve Hutchinson, also an All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection that season.
Sunday, Locklear will start his 10th playoff game when the Seahawks meet the Bears in a divisional-round matchup at Soldier Field. So he has been there for several of the greatest moments in franchise playoff history – and is one of only seven players on the current 53-man roster who was on that ’05 team.
To help celebrate the Seahawks’ return to the postseason after a two-season absence, Seahawks.com asked Locklear for his favorite playoff memory. His choice might surprise you, until you stop and think about it:
“For me, it was against the Redskins the year we went to the Super Bowl. We were known for running left all the time, of course. We called on off-tackle play to (fullback) Mack Strong – to the right side – and he got a first down to seal the game.”
That was in the fourth quarter of the divisional-round game at Qwest Field. The Seahawks had a 17-10 lead, with roughly five minutes to play. On third-and-6 from the Seahawks’ 48-yard line, the ball went to Strong – not Shaun Alexander, who was on the sideline after getting a concussion in the first quarter; or Maurice Morris, Alexander’s backup. And, Strong went right – not left. He ran for 32 yards to the Redskins’ 20. Four plays later, Josh Brown kicked a 31-yard field goal, and the Seahawks were on their way to the NFC Championship game.
“For me, that was a defining moment – just because we were running to the right side for once, and we got a big first down to win the game,” Locklear said.
That game also marked the Seahawks’ first playoff victory in 21 years.
“That whole game was huge,” Locklear said. “Just because of what it did for the city of Seattle.”
Not to mention the Seahawks’ “other” tackle.
As a first-round draft choice in 2005, center Chris Spencer was there for the Seahawks’ run to the Super Bowl in his rookie season and started the team’s playoff games in 2006 and 2007.
He is, in fact, one of only seven players still on the 53-man roster from that ’05 team – joining quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Jordan Babineaux, right tackle Sean Locklear, defensive tackle Craig Terrill and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu.
So Spencer has seen a lot from his spot in the middle of the line. But he has never seen anything like Marshawn Lynch’s electrifying, tackle-defying, 67-yard touchdown run that iced Saturday’s wild 41-36 wild-card playoff win over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at Qwest Field.
To help celebrate the Seahawks’ return to the postseason after a two-year absence, Seahawks.com asked Spencer for his favorite playoff memory. Spencer broke into a large grin before offering:
“That ‘17 Power’ we called and to watch Marshawn do what he did. That’s my favorite. I blocked back on the nose (tackle), another lineman looped over the top because they assumed correctly – they guess right – that we were going to the left. All of sudden, I see Marshawn skate back to the backside. I looked up and saw the safety and just tried to get a piece of him, and Marshawn did the rest.
“Once I hit the safety, Marshawn skated off my back. He then dragged somebody for a couple of yards. Then he stiff-armed that guy to the ground. At the last minute, I see Hasselbeck running down, and I’m running down. I see (guard Tyler) Polumbus out front. It was unbelievable.
“Marshawn had enough for a first down (on the second-and-10 play). He just piled through it. It was unbelievable; definitely the best run I’ve ever been a part of – here, college, high school, pee-wee league. It was unbelievable. Just unbelievable.”
It also was a run that helped carry the Seahawks into Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Bears in Chicago.
No quarterback in franchise history has started more playoff games (nine), or completed more postseason passes (189) for more yards (2,211) and more touchdowns (11) than Matt Hasselbeck. When he starts Saturday’s wild card game against the New Orleans Saints at Qwest Field, Hasselbeck will tie the franchise record for most playoff starts that he is held by former Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones.
To help celebrate the team’s return to the playoffs after a two-year absence, Seahawks.com asked Hasselbeck for his favorite memory from all those starts and stats:
“My favorite playoff memory was against the Redskins,” he said of the 2005 divisional game against Washington at Qwest Field. “It was the Seahawks’ first playoff win in, I think, 20 years (actually 21). Seeing all the Seahawks alumni – the former players – before the game when we came out of the tunnel, and how excited and fired up those guys were for us to get the win, I got chills.
“I get chills now just talking about it.”
The Seahawks got the win – 20-10 – as Hasselbeck completed 16 of 26 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown, and also scored on a 6-yard run. It was the franchise’s first postseason win since the 1984 team beat the Los Angeles Raiders in an AFC wild-card game at the Kingdome.
But before any of that, Hasselbeck was moved by seeing Steve Largent, Jacob Green, Curt Warner, Brian Blades and Cortez Kennedy “come home” to cheer on their team.
“You could tell that it just meant so much to those guys,” Hasselbeck said. “I know all of us in this locker room, we’ll be there at some point to do the same thing. Just seeing those guys, and how much they cared and how much they were rooting for us, it was special.
“Because of that, it’s probably also the most pressure I’ve felt in a playoff game. You could feel the pressure in the building and the expectations of those players. It was awesome to get that win and just it’s just a great memory.”
In addition to ending the Seahawks’ playoff drought, that game also was the first of Hasselbeck’s club-record four postseason victories.
“Just a special day, from start to finish,” he said.
Craig Terrill has blocked eight field goals in his seven-year career with the Seahawks to tie the franchise record. The versatile defensive tackle also has played in six postseason games. No. 7 will come on Saturday, when the Seahawks host the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in a wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field.
Terrill is one of seven players remaining on the active roster from the 2005 team that went to the Super Bowl, and one of 11 left from the Seahawks’ last playoff appearance in 2007.
To help celebrate the Seahawks’ return to the postseason after a two-year absence, Seahawks.com asked Terrill for his favorite playoff memory:
“It would probably have to be the NFC Championship game (in 2005). Having Carolina and knowing that we had home-field advantage with them having to come to us, and just everything that was involved with that game – knowing that we would go to the Super Bowl if we won that game.
“We had a cool buzz about the team that week, just knowing what we were on the brink of. Obviously it went well and the crowd was just incredible. The post-game celebration with the confetti falling and being presented with the NFC Championship trophy and just knowing we were going to the Super Bowl, it was pretty cool.”
“I’ll always have my (championship) ring and the memories of that day and being the best in the NFC.”
The Seahawks were all of that, and more, because they beat the Panthers 34-14.
Lofa Tatupu has been an impact player since the Seahawks selected him in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft. So leave it to the team’s three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker to come up with a collision when asked for his favorite playoff moment.
Tatupu will make his eighth postseason start on Saturday, when the Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints in a wild-card game at Qwest Field. In his previous seven starts, he has 54 tackles – which ranks second in club history to linebacker Leroy Hill’s 64.
To celebrate the Seahawks’ return to the playoffs, Seahawks.com asked Tatupu for his favorite memory from all those playoff games and all those tackles:
“It’s not really a memory, but that hit against Carolina was actually pretty fun. We knew that he was their only chance at a ground game. We weren’t trying to take him out, it just ended up happening. We really took each other out.”
The memorable collision was between Tatupu and Panthers running back Nick Goings in the 2005 NFC Championship game at Qwest. Goings was in, because DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis were out. But then Goings didn’t last long, thanks to the hit from Tatupu in the first quarter. With Goings finished, the Panthers finished with only 36 rushing yards.
The big hit also knocked Tatupu woozy. He not only returned, Tatupu had one of three interceptions off Panthers QB Jake Delhomme and three solo tackles in the Seahawks’ 34-14 victory that sent them to the Super Bowl.
“Then there was just the atmosphere in the stadium that day,” he said. “Everybody was up and ready to go.”
Especially the Seahawks’ impactful rookie linebacker.
Versatile defensive back and special teams player Jordan Babineaux got his nickname – “Big Play Babs” – for the obvious reason. And some of his biggest plays have come in the Seahawks’ playoff games.
One of only seven players remaining from the 2005 team that made a run to the Super Bowl, Babineaux has played in eight postseason games – and No. 9 will come Saturday at Qwest Field against the New Orleans Saints. He had a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 2007 wild-game win over the Redskins. He also had a game-saving tackle on a certain special teams play in the 2006 wild-card win over the Cowboys at Qwest Field that readers of Seahawks.com voted the team’s best play of the decade.
To help celebrate the team’s return to the playoffs, Seahawks.com asked Babineaux for his favorite playoff memory:
“Favorite playoff moment?” Babineaux said. “Can I have two?”
Of course. When you’re as versatile as Babineaux, what’s an extra memory?
“OK then,” he said. “One, of course, is you know.”
Yes, it was Babineaux somehow chasing down Cowboys QB and holder Tony Romo after he had dropped the snap on what would have been a game-winning field goal in the that 2006 game at Qwest and tripping him up just short of gain a first down. The Seahawks hung on to win 21-20.
“They were only inches short of the first down, so even after I tackled him I wasn’t sure,” Babineaux said of his big stop that came with 1:14 left to play. “When I heard the crowd erupt, I knew he hadn’t gotten the first down. Then I just went into a full sprint and just celebrated.
“When he took off running, all I could think was, ‘I’d better get him.’ Because there was no one else. He was going to walk into the end zone.”
No. 2, and what Babineaux labeled “the most memorable memory of them all,” was beating the Carolina Panthers at Qwest in 2005 to win the NFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
“That was an overwhelming feeling of triumph,” Babineaux said. “I was young then. It was just so surreal. Like, ‘Wow. We’re going to the Super Bowl. Does this happen all the time?’ ”
No it doesn’t. In fact, the Seahawks won four games in 2008 and five in 2009, when their season ended after 16 games and the regular season.
“Now, we’ve got this feeling back again,” Babineaux said. “Just talking to some of the guys who were here when we were going to the playoffs consistently (2003-07), it’s good to have this feeling back.”
Marcus Trufant has started seven playoff games since being the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003 – one as a rookie, one in 2004, three in 2005 and two in 2007 (he was on injured reserve in 2006). Saturday, the veteran cornerback will make it eight when the Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints in a wild-card game at Qwest Field.
Trufant is one of seven remaining players who were on the 2005 team that played in the Super Bowl, and one of 11 still on the 53-man roster from the Seahawks’ last playoff team in 2007.
To help celebrate the team’s return to playoffs after a two-season absence, Seahawks.com asked Trufant for his favorite playoff memory:
“The Carolina game. The (NFC) Championship game (in 2005). I remember how loud and crazy it was. Man, it was just an intense game, in an intense atmosphere. I just remember how loud it was. My ears were ringing hours after the game. It gets louder and louder (at Qwest Field) as you go on in the playoffs. The 12th Man was rocking that day. I had an interception return for a touchdown in the 2007 playoff win over the Redskins, so that’s a pretty good memory, too. But the Carolina game meant so much to us as a team and a franchise. So I’ve got to go with that one.”
The Seahawks won that game 34-14 to advance to the Super Bowl. Shaun Alexander ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Hasselbeck completed 20 of 28 passes for 219 yards and two TDs. Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, free safety Marquand Manuel and strong safety Michael Boulware intercepted Jake Delhomme passes to pace the defensive effort.