The playoff hopes of the 2012 Seattle Seahawks, an exciting but predictably disappointing phenomenon marked by a an improbable late-season surge and a slew of second-half comebacks, died Saturday afternoon at Century Link Field. The hopes were 15 games old.
The highlights of the 2012 campaign included the emergence of Skittle-scarfing beast Marshawn Lynch as one of the league's premier running backs, a vastly improved defense anchored by the mammoth Red Bryant, several skull-rattling hits by safety Earl Thomas, and the slow fade into oblivion of Clipboard Jesus. But the team ultimately succumbed to inconsistent play by quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
"When it comes to us being able to throw the football in an obvious passing situation," Jackson remarked, "and go down and put points on the board at the end of the game, we haven't been able to do that the whole season."
Occasionally electrifying and often mediocre, the Seahawks did just enough to convince fans that it might be possible to sneak into the playoffs and upsett a heavily-favored first round opponent, repeating the memorable 2011 season. Clutch victories against the Giants, Ravens, and Eagles gave this year's group the feel of a contender, while horrendous losses to the Redskins and Browns exposed their true colors.
Against San Francisco, a team still in contention for the second-seed overall in the NFC and a first round bye, the Seahawks competed valiantly until the final minutes. A crucial blocked punt put the offense in position for Lynch to score the first touchdown of the year allowed by the Niners.
However, a botched play near the end zone in the first half proved costly in the 19-17 defeat. Jackson scrambled to his left after things went haywire but was stopped a yard short of the goal by a single defender. San Fran's signal caller Alex Smith managed to avoid turnovers and find open receivers in crunch time, leaving the Seattle faithful wonder if Jackson will ever make the leap from underwhelming to effective.
The Seahawks' 2012 playoff hopes are survived by their entire roster, coaching staff, and front office. A public ceremony and memorial service will be held Sunday in Phoenix at 1:15 p.m., televised locally on channel 13.
In lieu of gifts, cash donations should be sent to Jack Zduriencik to fund the signing of Prince Fielder and keep the 2012 Seattle Mariners playoff hopes from dying before spring training.