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Focus on: Red Bryant’s Playoff Memories
And then there were four.
Teams left in this season’s NFL playoffs, of course, as the Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday after the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots for AFC title. But also the number of players remaining from the team Pete Carroll inherited in 2010 when he was hired to coach the Seahawks – defensive linemen Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane, punter Jon Ryan and center Max Unger.
As one of the four holdovers, and 14 players who have been around for each of the five playoff games in Carroll’s first four seasons, we asked Bryant for his favorite postseason memory.
“I don’t really have a favorite, but if I had to choose I would say the Redskins’ game because we won it,” Bryant said Wednesday in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
That was the wild-card game last season, when the Seahawks spotted the Redskins a 14-0 lead before coming back to post a 24-14 victory for the franchise’s first road playoff win since 1983 – when Bryant’s father-in-law, Ring of Honor defensive end Jacob Green, was a member of the Seahawks that upset the Dolphins in Miami to earn a spot in the AFC Championship game.
Bryant then added, “But this one right here is going to be the best one.”
And that would Sunday’s matchup with the NFC West rival 49ers, who entered the playoffs as a wild-card team and then knocked off the NFC North Champion Packers in Green Bay and the NFC South Champion Panthers in Carolina to earn a rematch with the Seahawks.
“This will be the best one, because so much is at stake,” Bryant said. “And I’m looking forward to it.”
The Seahawks beat the 49ers in Week 2 at CenturyLink Field 29-3. The 49ers then beat the Seahawks in Week 14 at Candlestick Park 19-17, driving to a game-winning field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. The Seahawks earned the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the postseason with their 13-3 record. The 49ers were just a game back at 12-4, but had to settle for wild-card status and the long road to their third consecutive conference championship game.
“It worked itself out,” Bryant said. “I feel the four teams left are the four best teams in the game. Hey, it’s going to be a great Sunday.”
And one that features a study in contrasts at the most visible position. The AFC game Sunday morning features two of the most prolific passers in NFL history, and two pocket passers, in the Broncos’ Peyton Manning and Patriots’ Tom Brady. The afternoon game will showcase two of the QBs who represent the “now” generation at the position in the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick – who can, will and have hurt opponents running the ball as well as throwing it.
“It couldn’t have been scripted any better,” Bryant said.