They were tired and they were sore. They were short on breath and their bodies ached. And from their body language and attitude, you could tell that they knew they were beaten.
This is what the 2005 Seahawks running game could do to you. They pounded you into submission. They ran on first, second, and third down. With a 4.7 yards per attempt average, more often than not this worked. The offensive line was good, and the left side with Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson was dominant.
Mack Strong had a career year, opening up huge holes in the run defense, and made it to his first pro-bowl. These blockers, combined with MVP running back Shaun Alexander, made for a very good running game. Alexander had fantastic vision which led to his great cut-back ability. He had a nose for the end-zone, scoring 27 rushing touchdowns.
Aside from the run game, the rest of the offense was also pretty good. Matt Hasselbeck and Company made just enough plays to extend drives and keep the ball in the hands of the offense. Bobby Engram established himself as a great third-down receiver, making critical plays to keep drives alive. This pass game complimented the great running game to make the #1 offense in the league.
On defense, the Hawks were small but fast. Players would fly to the ball, and as a result there were multiple hawks there to tackle the ball carrier, making up for lack of size. As a result, the Seahawks had the 5th ranked run defense in the league. They gained two great rookie linebackers, Lofa Tatupu, who made it to the pro-bowl, and LeRoy Hill. Their pass-rush was fantastic, led by Bryce Fisher and Rocky Bernard.
They were aided greatly by crowd noise, which led to a league-high 24 false start penalties at Quest Field in 2005. This also contributed to the Seahawks 10-0 record at home including the playoffs. It was a great time to be a Seahawks fan.
The Hawks concluded the regular season with a 13-3 record, and the 1st seed. They beat the Washington Redskins and the Carolina Panthers at home to head to Detroit to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL.
The Steelers were a wild card team, and the #6 seed. Bill Cowher led this team to the Super Bowl, and it was a team very similar to the Seahawks. Their greatest strength was their run game, with an efficient but not spectacular passing game, and a solid defense.
In Super Bowl XL, the Steelers capitalized on big plays for touchdowns, including a 43-yard fake reverse pass to Hines Ward. The Seahawks, meanwhile, spluttered on offense, dropping passes, missing opportunities, and falling victim to some questionable calls. Final score: Steelers 21, Seahawks 10.
Nevertheless, it was a great run for a team many consider to be the best in history, and their first super bowl appearance in the team’s 30 year history. The fans helped this team along the way. It was a great time to be a Seahawks fan.
Photo source: [ioffer]