A Seismic Timeline: Seahawks vs Saints

Posted Jan 11, 2014

Findings from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network's "earthquake" recording experiment during the Seahawks' playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.

Our friends at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) used a trio of strong-motion seismometers to monitor 12th-Man-generated "earthquakes" during Saturday's divisional playoff game between the Seahawks and New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field. Below is a small sampling of the group of plays that triggered some seismic activity in the Emerald City.

In the first quarter, quarterback Russell Wilson passed deep down the left sideline for wide receiver Percy Harvin. But the play was broken up by Saints safety Rafael Bush, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play after making contact with Harvin's helmet.

Midway through the first quarter and facing 20 mile-per-hour winds in the south end zone, Saints kicker Shayne Graham shanked a 45-yard field goal wide left. The field goal would have tied the game at three apiece, but the miss ensured New Orleans went into halftime without any points.

Running back Marshawn Lynch put the Seahawks on top 13-0 with a 15-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter. Lynch broke a handful of tackles on the play, and the reaction from the 12th Man set off all three seismometers.

Late in the fourth quarter, Graham failed to convert his second field goal try the same way he missed the first - battling winds in the south end zone. The attempt again sailed wide left and the seismometers picked up high-frequency crowd noise from the 12th Man.

The most obvious "earthquake" came late in the fourth quarter, when Lynch rumbled 31 yards for the game's clinching score. The crowd's reaction set off some highly-visible seismic activity and shook the press box at CenturyLink Field for a good couple of minutes.

UPDATE: Jan. 12

After the earth had settled, the PNSN compared the "earthquake" readings from Lynch's 31-yard touchdown run against the Saints to his 67-yard touchdown run that came against the Saints in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs back in January 2011. The activity from Lynch's original run appears slightly larger and longer than the movement seen during yesterday's divisional playoff.