SEATTLE, Wash. — Despite the end result not going in Seattle's favor, a pair of Seahawks set impressive franchise milestones on Christmas Eve at CenturyLink Field, providing a couple silver linings to the team's 34-31 loss to the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals.
Bobby Wagner, who came into the week leading the NFL with 145 tackles, needed nine more takedowns to establish the Seahawks' single-season record, while Doug Baldwin, the team's leading receiver, needed 87 more yards to become the fifth-player in club history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Against Arizona, both players hit those respective marks, with Wagner making a team-high 10 tackles to up his 2016-total to 155 and top a record that had stood since 1978, when linebacker Terry Beeson finished the year with 153 tackles for the Seahawks.
"It means a lot," Wagner, who earned his second-consecutive Pro Bowl nod earlier this week, said postgame of breaking a record that had stood 38 years. "It shows how much you put a lot of hard work into the offseason and you try to go out there and just try to have a great season.
"To get that record is dope, but it's unfortunate it comes under these circumstances."
As Wagner notes, leaving the stadium with a win would have been preferred, but the loss shouldn't take away from the performances Wagner has put up this year. The team's middle linebacker has notched double-digit tackles in nine of the Seahawks' 15 games to date, including 15-plus tackles in three of them. And with his 15 tackles against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11, Wagner became the first player in Seattle history to record 100-plus tackles in five straight seasons.
"On the bright side of things, Bobby had a heck of a year, broke the record," said fellow linebacker K.J. Wright. "I knew coming into this season he was going to do some great things. He definitely deserves his Pro Bowl. Should be an All-Pro."
Added Seattle head coach Pete Carroll at his Monday press conference: "That's a fantastic accomplishment. An extraordinary demonstration of consistency over the years, too. He's really become a great football player and a great leader and he does everything that you could hope a guy to do. Had another big game, 10 tackles again. He just does everything. I'm glad we mentioned that because it really is worthy of note, because to do that you have to do it for a long time, a long period of time over the season, and he's been just fantastic."
Baldwin, meanwhile, joined a short list of Seahawks to record 1,000-plus receiving yards in consecutive seasons. He shares the statistic with Darrell Jackson, who had back-to-back 1,000-yard years from 2003-04, Joey Galloway, who did it from 1997-98, Brian Blades, who did it from 1994-95, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Largent, who had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 1978-81 and from 1983-86.
"He had a great game," Carroll said of Baldwin. "He just did everything."
Baldwin's everything-day against Arizona included a career-high 171 yards on a career-high 13 catches, the first double-digit catching day of Baldwin's six-year career. Baldwin also found himself on the receiving end of one of Russell Wilson's four touchdown throws, hauling in a 42-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter to put the Seahawks within three points of the Cardinals following a successful two-point conversion. The touchdown was the 36th of Baldwin's career and it moved him into fourth place on Seattle's all-time receiving touchdowns list, and into ninth place on Seattle's all-time total touchdowns list, while the 13 catches for 171 yards gave Baldwin career-highs in receptions (92) and receiving yards (1,084) in a single season.
"I thought the receivers really came through," Carroll said. "Their catch and run stuff was great. Of course Russell had to deliver the ball, but you could see the protection changed and everything opened up and Doug was able to take advantage of it. I thought the catching and running was really exceptional today."
Baldwin said he would allow himself time to reflect on the accomplishment at the end of the season. For now, it's all about improving after Saturday's defeat and getting ready for the playoff push.
"Once we finish up the season, hopefully it's in February," Baldwin said. "But it's [about] wins and losses for us."
Action photos from Seahawks vs Cardinals during Week 16 at CenturyLink Field.