It was hard to know what to expect in New England. Vegas called the Hawks a touchdown underdog, and most analysts went with that in picking the Patriots in the Super Bowl XLIX rematch.
But the Seahawks bounced back off a short week against the bye-rested Pats and put together their best — though far from perfect — game of the season in a 31-24 upset that Doug Baldwin said evoked a “phenomenal emotional feeling in our locker room.”
That is the feeling that this team has made its typical Second Half Turn and is headed for something special again.
This was not a must-win for Seattle, from a standings standpoint. But it certainly was a big game for Seattle’s psyche — to get even for the XLIX debacle and to measure themselves against the AFC’s best team.
If the Seahawks have any hope of rebounding from that devastating Super Bowl loss, Pete Carroll is going to have to adjust the attitudes of some of his immature players.
He should start with Dookie Baldwin. Is anyone else fed up with his act yet? First he lashed out in Richard Sherman fashion after the NFC title game, and then he performed a classless “turddown” celebration after scoring in the Super Bowl.
He was fined $11,025 for the latter move — pretending to poop out the football in the end zone after his 3-yard touchdown gave Seattle a 24-14 lead in the third quarter. It was his only catch of the game as he found himself stranded on Revis Island, and yet he still felt like it was worth giving the Patriots a free 15 yards to start their next drive.
A year ago, wise football followers knew Seattle was going to beat Denver in the Super Bowl. After all, defense wins championships, and Seattle had the No. 1 defense in the NFL.
Of course, the way it happened was astonishing — with the Seahawks’ defense shutting out the most prolific offense in NFL history for most of the game and Seattle running away with the win, 43-8.
It is hard to imagine the Hawks doing the same thing to the Patriots in this Super Bowl. But, Seattle again has the No. 1 defense in the league and — despite the Legion of Boom being banged up — that unit largely has played even better than the 2013 version.
Wise football followers once again know the Seahawks are going to win. The only question is: How will it happen?
One of the most anticipated matchups in the Super Bowl is Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor: Gronk vs. Bam Bam.
But that’s obviously an oversimplification of the matchup. The fact is the Hawks are going to focus their entire defense on all of New England’s offense, and Chancellor will interchange with K.J. Wright and other teammates in coverage against the Patriots’ best receiving target.
The Seahawks allowed just 17 passing touchdowns all season — second fewest in the NFL behind Buffalo’s 16. But 11 of those went to tight ends, making some think the Hawks have a weakness in that part of their defense.