During the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks have faced Aaron Rodgers eight times, Tom Brady five times, Drew Brees four times and Peyton Manning twice. Before Carroll came along, various Seattle teams dueled with Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Fran Tarkenton, Joe Montana, Dan Fouts, John Elway, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, among others.
None of them did to the Seahawks what Houston’s Deshaun Watson, the rookie from Clemson, did Sunday.
“It was the best game any quarterback has ever played against us, and we’ve played all the legends,” Richard Sherman told Sports Illustrated.
Watson threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for 67 more, and lost only because Russell Wilson, who finished with an equally gaudy 452 and four TDs, had the ball in his hands with 21 seconds left. He whipped the game-winner to TE Jimmy Graham, his easiest completion of the game, capping one of the biggest wow moments in franchise history.
The modern NFL dates to 1933. Since then,there have only been five games other than Sunday’s in which the quarterback on each team passed for 400 or more yards and four or more TDs:
Sept. 21, 1986: Ken O’Brien of the Jets threw for 479 and four TDs in beating Dan Marino’s Dolphins, 51-45. Marino threw for 448 and six TDs.
Sept. 4, 1994: Marino – 473 yards, five TDs – got the better of Drew Bledsoe of the Patriots – 421 yards, four TDs – in a 39-35 Miami victory.
Jan. 1, 2012: Green Bay’s Matt Flynn, who parlayed his 480 yards and six TDs into a free-agent contract with the Seahawks a few months later — which became moot when Wilson won the job during training camp — beat Matt Stafford (520 yards, five TDs) and the Detroit Lions 45-41.
Oct. 6, 2013: Peyton Manning (414 yards, four TDs) got the better of the Cowboys’ Tony Romo (506 and five TDs) in a 51-48 Denver win.
Nov. 3, 2013: New England’s Tom Brady threw for 432 yards and four TDs in a 55-31 win over Ben Roethlisberger (400, four TDs) and the Steelers.
Prior to Watson Sunday, the Seahawks had been burned for four or more TD passes in a game 21 times, including five twice, by Neil O’Donnell of the Jets Aug. 31, 1997, and Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers Dec. 26, 2010. Neither reached 300 passing yards.
In fact, in the 21 contests cited, the opposing quarterback exceeded 400 yards only three times. Before Watson, Dan Fouts did it Sept. 15, 1985, and O’Brien did it Nov. 2, 1986. Fouts and the Chargers lost to the Seahawks 49-35 while O’Brien and the Jets won 38-7.
Watson is the fifth quarterback to surpass 400 yards and throw multiple touchdowns against the Seahawks and lose (winning QB listed first):
|1985||Sept. 15||Dave Krieg||Seahawks||307||5||Sea 49-35|
|1986||Sept. 21||Dave Krieg||Seahawks||207||2||Sea 38-31|
|2010||Sept. 26||M. Hasselbeck||Seahawks||220||1||Sea 27-20|
|2011||Oct. 9||Tarvaris Jackson||Seahawks||165||1||Sea 36-25|
|2017||Oct. 29||Russell Wilson||Seahawks||452||4||Sea 41-38|
In Seahawks annals, the game most similar to Sunday’s in terms of garish stats by starting quarterbacks was Sept. 15, 1985 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, featuring Krieg and Fouts. Krieg didn’t reach 400 yards, but had 307 and five TDs without a pick. Fouts tossed four TDs while reaching 440 yards.
The Chargers led 10-7 after the first quarter and 23-14 at halftime. But Krieg tossed three of his five TDs in the third quarter – six yards to Steve Largent and 15 and 30 yards to Daryl Turner – as Seattle tallied 28 points en route to a 49-35 win.
Krieg’s five TDs matched his own franchise record. Wilson’s 452 yards Sunday established a franchise mark. The 440 yards by Fouts were the most any quarterback accumulated against Seattle. The 402 by Watson are the most by a rookie.
Turner caught seven passes for 121 yards and a career-high four TDs. San Diego’s Wes Chandler caught only one of Fouts’ TDs, but amassed an astounding 243 yards on 13 catches, the most ever by a receiver against the Seahawks. Second most: 224 yards (and two TDs) by DeAndre Hopkins Sunday at the Clink.
FYI: There have been three 200-yard receiving performances against Seattle (also Markus Wheaton of Pittsburgh Nov. 29, 2015) and in all cases the receiver’s team lost.
The biggest difference between the 1985 Krieg-Fouts duel and the Wilson-Watson barn-burner was the Seattle rushing story. In the 1985 game, the Seahawks ran for 196 yards, 169 by Curt Warner. Sunday, the Seahawks ran for 33, 30 by Wilson and three yards by everybody else. The club record for rushing futility in a game is four yards, at Minnesota Nov. 22, 2009.
The Seahawks have rushed for 50 or fewer yards in a game 54 times in club history. On 16 occasions the rushing total was fewer than 20. In those games, Seattle went 0-16.
Wilson on short list
Wilson has seven career games with four or more TD passes and one or no interceptions. Only Dan Marino (10) and Brett Favre (9) had more such contests in the first six years of a career. Most games, four or more TDs, one or zero picks, first six seasons:
|Dan Marino||Dolphins||1984||1988||10||5 TD/0 INT vs. Wash, 1984|
|Brett Favre||Packers||1991||1996||9||5 TD/0 INT vs. Chi, 1995|
|Jeff Garcia||49ers||2000||2003||7||4 TD/0 INT in 6 games|
|Donovan McNabb||Eagles||2000||2004||7||4 TD/0 INT in 2 games|
|Andrew Luck||Colts||2013||2016||7||5 TD/1 INT vs. Wash, 2014|
|Russell Wilson||Seahawks||2012||2017||7||4 TD/1 INT vs. Hou, 2017|
|Kurt Warner||Rams||1999||2001||6||5 TD/1 INT vs. SF, 1999|