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.