Tuesday in Hawkville: Seahawks continue to show that it's not how you start, it's how you finish

The Seahawks won the NFC West and then advanced to Sunday’s NFC Championship game because they’ve been dominant in the fourth quarter of games.

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A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 13, when the players had their "off" day while the coaches were preparing the game plan for Sunday's matchup against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field:

FOCUS ON: THE FOURTH QUARTER

And in this case, it's the fourth quarter of the regular season and also the fourth quarter of games. And the Seahawks have been on it in both categories.

They were 4-0 to close the regular season, in large part because they did not allow any points in the fourth quarters of their final six games – while scoring 35 in the fourth quarters of their last two games, victories that denied the Arizona Cardinals a chance to clinch the NFC West and allowed the Seahawks to do it.

It carried over to their playoff opener against the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night, when the Seahawks "won" the fourth quarter 17-7 to cap their 31-17 victory. During the regular season, the Seahawks outscored their opponents 122-67 in the fourth quarter and allowed 10 or more points only twice – in the Week 3 overtime victory against the Denver Broncos (17) and in the Week 6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys (10). Over the last 11 games, the Seahawks allowed 24 points in the fourth quarter; or an average of 2.2.

YOU DON'T SAY

"This crowd didn't come to a game, they came to work."

Hall of Fame 12 Mike Huston to KING TV after Saturday night's game


"I love the question," coach Pete Carroll said Monday when asked about the Seahawks' fourth-quarter success. "Because it points to something that we take tremendous pride in – it's about finishing. It's not just finishing the fourth quarter, it's finishing the season, it's finishing the plays, it's finishing everything.

"We're trying to do the right stuff when you're faced with the clock ticking down and trying to be right longer than the other guys, is really what we're trying to do. Our guys are showing it. I love that characteristic of our team and hope we can hang on to it and show it more time this week."

THE BUTLER FINALLY DOES IT

Former Seahawks linebacker Keith Butler was named Tuesday as the defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He replaces Dick LeBeau, the longtime coordinator who resigned Monday after being told he would not be given a new contract.

Butler has been the Steelers' linebackers coach since 2003 and had turned down overtures from other teams because he was waiting for this chance with the Steelers.

"It's the dream of a lifetime," Butler said in a statement. "There are only 32 of these jobs on this Earth. I am excited about the opportunity and I look forward to getting this process started immediately."

Butler joined the Seahawks as a second-round draft choice in 1978 and started as a rookie, when he had 122 tackles. He never led the team in tackles, but he was the franchise's all-time leading tackler with 813 by the time he left the Seahawks after the 1987 season – a total that was surpassed by free safety Eugene Robinson (894).

STATS 'N STUFF: SEAHAWKS PLUS-3, AND NO. 3

The Seahawks emerged from their playoff opener against the Panthers with three takeaways and no giveaways, making them a postseason-leading plus-3 in turnover differential.

STAT DU JOUR: POSTSEASON PASSERS

Who are the two highest-rated passers in NFL postseason history? That would be the quarterback who will square off at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:

Quarterback Team Rating
Russell Wilson Seahawks 109.6
Aaron Rodgers Packers 105.3
Bart Starr Packers 104.8
Kurt Warners Rams/Cardinals 102.8
Drew Brees Saints 100.7

Russell Wilson had a 149.2 passer rating against the Panthers to top all the QBs who advanced to the playoffs. He's also tied as the postseason's top-rated passer on third-downs (158.3) with the Packers' Aaron Rodgers. Wilson was 8 of 8 for 199 yards and each of three TD passes on third downs against the Panthers, while Rodgers was 8 of 10 for 137 yards and two TDs against the Cowboys. They're also 1-2 in fourth-quarter passer rating – Wilson at 158.3 and Rodgers at 155.8.

The Packers' Eddie Lacy is fifth among postseason rushers with 101 yards, while the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch is eighth with 59.

The Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse is fifth in receiving yards with 129, which also is ninth in total yards from scrimmage.

As a team, the Seahawks are No. 6 in average yards allowed, after leading the league in that category during the regular season. The offense is No. 8 in average yards.

The All-Pro safety tandem of Earl Thomas (11) and Kam Chancellor (10) lead the team in postseason tackles.

UP NEXT: "COMPETITION WEDNESDAY"

The players return from their "off" day to begin preparing for Sunday's NFC Championship game with their "Competition Wednesday" walkthrough, practice and meetings.

The Packers are altering their schedule this week by practicing on Wednesday and Thursday in Green Bay and then flying to Seattle on Friday.

"We'll have our meetings Saturday morning and we're looking at an indoor facility to do our Saturday work," Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. "And then we'll be out there and kind of be on a normal schedule on Saturday night and get ready for the noon game."

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