Newer Seahawks fans — and there are plenty of them — might think the Packers-Seahawks series consists of two games: the Hawks’ infamous Fail Mary victory on a Monday night in 2012 and Seattle’s 20-point win in the opening game of this NFL season.
But this series was full of great matchups back when Mike Holmgren and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck were leading the Hawks against their old team — led by Brett Favre — and this will be the 11th meeting, the third in the playoffs, since 1999.
Just ask Russell
Wilson and Pete
Carroll. Oh, and the stats.
In Seattle’s 31-17 playoff win over Carolina, center Max Unger returned from a six-game absence and helped the Seahawks’ offense surpass 30 points for just the fifth time this season while leading a line that protected Wilson as well as it had since the first month of the season.
And Unger survived a scare when he got his just-healed ankle rolled up on late in the game.
“I’m excited to have Max Unger back in there,” Wilson said after the game. “… Max Unger played a phenomenal game tonight. ”
Carroll wasn’t quite as effusive, but he was pleased to have the former All-Pro center back and knows he will only get better.
“He was real solid — pass protection was really good,” Carroll said, referencing the fact that Wilson was hit just twice — one of the cleanest games the Hawks have had up front all season.
“Our consistency, just like we had hoped, was there, along with the communication,” the coach said. “So it was a good start back for him. He hadn’t played in a long time, so you have to kick the rust off a little bit.”
He threw a postseason-career-high three touchdown passes and tallied a 149.2 rating, completing 68.2 percent, while tying Matt Hasselbeck for most playoff wins in Seattle history (five).
Wilson now has nine TD passes and just one interception in six postseason games, and his passer rating has been over 100 in four of them. In fact, his postseason passer rating of 109.6 is the best in NFL history (hat tip to Hawk Blogger for first reporting that stat).
So why was Wilson so good vs. the Panthers? (1) His offensive line kept him clean, (2) he was perfect on third downs, (3) he got the ball out quickly when he could and (4) he trusted his receivers to come down with long passes.
It was only appropriate that Kam Chancellor had perhaps the best game of his career on the day Kenny Easley raised the 12th Man flag.
Just as Easley was once Seattle’s best player, Chancellor — who, like Easley, is from Virginia and once dated Easley’s daughter — has been this team’s MVP the past two years.
Yeah, that’s a loaded statement on a team that includes so many star players — fellow Legion of Boomers Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch.
Everyone likes to say Lynch is the heartbeat of the team — embodying the tough, relentless style Pete Carroll wants his guys to play with.
But the defense is the backbone — the reason Wilson has won more games than any quarterback in his first three seasons — and Chancellor has been the heart and soul of that unit for the past two dominant years.