It will take a while to get over the way the 2014 season ended.
That was apparent by the stunned silence in the locker room at University of Phoenix Stadium after the Seahawks had come up a yard short in their 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1. It was a so-close-yet-so-far-away malaise that carried over to the team's flight back to Seattle on Monday and still was palpable while the players were cleaning out their cubicles in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center last Tuesday.
In the locker room in Arizona, most players did not want to talk, and those who did really didn't know what to say after Russell Wilson's pass was intercepted at the goal line with 20 seconds to play. In the locker room at VMAC, the search for an explanation produced more tears than answers.
But coach Pete Carroll already has said, "That one moment, that moment isn't going to define this team and who we are. This is a championship team. It's a great team that plays great football and plays as a team in a wonderful way. So that moment is what people might want to define us by, but it won't because we know the truth."
With that thought in mind, here are 49 reasons to celebrate the season that ended with the Seahawks playing in – and coming up a play short – in Super Bowl XLIX:
I.With two games remaining in the regular season, the Seahawks trailed the Arizona Cardinals by two games in the NFC West. They beat the Cardinals in Arizona 35-6 in Week 16 and then defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-6 in the regular-season finale to win the division for the second consecutive season, and the third time in five seasons under Carroll. The late-season surge also made the Seahawks the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs for the second time in two seasons.
II. The Seahawks led the league in average yards allowed (267.1) for the second consecutive season.
III.The Seahawks led the league in average points allowed for the third consecutive season (15.9), making them only the NFL third team to do that and the first since the Minnesota Vikings in 1969-71.
IV. During their six-game winning streak to close the regular season, the Seahawks did not allow a point in the fourth quarter.
V.The Seahawks had five players voted to the Pro Bowl – strong safety Kam Chancellor, running back Marshawn Lynch, cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas and, for the first time, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. They weren't able to play in the game, of course, because the Seahawks arrived in Phoenix on Pro Bowl Sunday to begin their on-site preparations for Super Bowl XLIX.
VI.After starting the season 3-3, the Seahawks won nine of their last 10 in the regular season, including six in a row to close the regular season.
VII. **Versatile defensive lineman Michael Bennett had seven sacks during the regular season to lead the team for the second consecutive season.
VIII. The Seahawks used eight different starting combinations on the offensive line, including playoffs, and still led the NFL in the regular season with a franchise-record 2,762 rushing yards.
IX. By beating the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks ran their postseason winning streak at CenturyLink Field to nine in a row – the third-longest in league history behind the Packers (13) and Patriots (11).
X. By beating Aaron Rodgers (twice), Peyton Manning and Eli Manning this season, Russell Wilson ran his record against Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks to 10-0. But it dropped to 10-1 after Tom Brady rallied the Patriots to their four-point victory in the Super Bowl.
XI. Pro Football Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones became the 11th member of the Seahawks' Ring of Honor when he was inducted during a halftime ceremony of the Week 9 game against the Oakland Raiders.
XII. The 12s. Yes, you and you, and you, too. The Seahawks' loud-and-proud fans broke the attendance record at CenturyLink Field five times during the season – 68,424 for the season opener against the Packers; 68,447 for the Week 3 rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos; 68,453 for the regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams; 68,524 for the divisional playoff game against the Panthers; and 68,538 for the NFC Championship game against the Packers. And the 12s also traveled better than ever, including huge turnouts for the Week 2 game against the Chargers in San Diego; the Week 16 game against the Cardinals in Arizona; and the return trip to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX.
XIII.Chris Matthews wears No. 13, and even the most die-hard 12 didn't know that when the season began. But after the CFL refugee recovered an onside kick to spark the Seahawks' rally in the NFC Championship game and then caught four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, expect to see some 12s wearing No. 13 jerseys next season.
XIV.The Seahawks turned the ball a franchise record-low 14 times during the regular season (seven interceptions and seven fumbles).
XV.** Jermaine Kearse wears No. 15, and where would this season have ended without the former rookie free agent wide receiver from the University of Washington? He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the NFC Championship game, for the second consecutive season, and then gave the Seahawks a final chance to win the Super Bowl with an on-his-back-juggling-act of a catch in the closing seconds.
XVI.The Seahawks overcame a 16-0 deficit to somehow pull out their overtime victory against the Packers in the NFC title game.
XVII. Lynch scored a league-high 17 touchdowns during the regular season by producing career-highs in rushing (13) and receiving (four) TDs. His four TD receptions also led the team.
XVIII.In his past 18 games, going back to the 2013 postseason, Wagner has had double-digit tackles 11 times and eight or more in 16 of those games.
XIX. It was Oct. 19 that the Seahawks played their first game after trading Percy Harvin to the New York Jets. It was the Week 7 matchup against the Rams in St. Louis, and word of the deal came down on Friday, as the players were preparing to board the buses at VMAC for the short trip to the airport. The Seahawks lost that game, making it the only time they lost back-to-back games this season. The national media tried to pin the loss to the Rams on the "disruption" created by the trade. But it turned out to be the Seahawks cutting their losses by shipping out a player they had given so much to acquire the year before. How'd that work out? After the loss to the Rams, the Seahawks won nine of their last 10 games in the regular season.
XX.The Seahawks scored 20 rushing touchdowns to lead the NFL. In addition to Lynch's 13, Wilson had six and Harvin had one.
XXI. The Seahawks' victory against the Washington Redskins in Week 5 gave them 21 wins on "Monday Night Football," and also provided them with the best winning percentage in the 45-year history of the prime-time telecast (.724, 21-8).
XXII.Wilson pushed his regular-season victory total at CenturyLink Field to 22, the most for a quarterback in his first three seasons since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. He is 22-2.
XXIII.The Seahawks allowed 23 or more points six times this season, including playoffs. Not surprisingly, all five of their losses came in those games – including Super Bowl XLIX.
XIV.As anyone who has been paying any attention knows, Lynch wears No. 24. And the Seahawks' Beast Mode back had five 100-yard rushing performances during the regular season, giving him a league-leading 24 since the start of the 2011 season.
XXV. **This is the defensive side of No. 24, as Sherman wears No. 25. But there's also a "24" for the Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback. His 24 interceptions since stepping in as the starter on the left side midway through his rookie season in 2011 ties him for third in most picks through his first four seasons since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Sherman trails Lester Hayes and Everson Walls (25 each) and is tied with Seahawks' Ring of Honor strong safety Kenny Easley.
XXVI.Wilson threw 26 touchdown passes this season, tying his regular-season total from his first two years. But he needed six TD passes in three playoff games to get to 26 this season.
XXVII.Three times nine equals 27, and that's where Jon Ryan comes into play. The Seahawks' punter, who wears No. 9, was NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September – which, of course, is the ninth month. And, this was Ryan's ninth NFL season. During his September to remember, Ryan averaged 48.3 yards on 12 punts, with a net average of 43.3. He put seven of those punts inside the 20-yard line and had four punts of at least 60 yards, including a pair of 66-yarders.
XXVIII.Doug Baldwin led the Seahawks with 66 receptions during the regular season. Kearse finished second with 38. That's a 28-catch gap.
XXIX. Thomas wears No. 29, and the Seahawks' All-Pro free safety wore out more than a few offenses this season with his ability to cover centerfield like no other safety in the game.
XXX. The Seahawks' offense led the league in explosive plays (135) and explosive running plays (61), while the defense was No. 1 in explosive plays allowed (76). And those are running plays of 12-plus yards and passing plays of 16-plus yards.
XXXI.Chancellor wears No. 31, and the Seahawks' All-Pro strong safety made an impression – or depression, as was more often the case – on any ball carrier that dared cross his path.
XXXII.** Lynch's career-high for carries in a game is 32, but that came in 2011. This season, his high was 26 carries in the Week 3 overtime victory over the Broncos as Lynch finished the regular season with 280 carries – the fewest in his four full seasons with the Seahawks.
XXXIII.The Seahawks went 6-2 in games where they won the turnover battle this season, so they're now 33-6 when doing it in five seasons under Carroll.
XXXIV. The Seahawks scored 34-plus points three times this season and won all three games – 36-16 in the season opener against the Packers, 38-17 in Week 10 against the Giants and 35-6 in Week 16 against the Cardinals.
XXXV.Wagner was the Seahawks' leading tackler in 11 games this season, including playoffs, despite missing five games at midseason with a toe injury. That brought the total number of games he has been the team's leading tackler in his first three seasons to 35.
XXXVI.Wilson has 36 regular-season victories in his first three seasons, the most in the Super Bowl era that began in 1966. In Wilson's first three seasons, the Seahawks have gone 11-5, 13-3 and 12-4.
XXXVII.Steven Hauschka attempted 37 field goals during the regular season, a career-high, and his 31 successful kicks included a 58-yarder in the Week 8 win over the Panthers in Carolina that tied the franchise record.
XXXVIII.The Seahawks scored a season-high 38 points in their Week 10 victory over the Giants. They also rolled up 510 offensive yards, including a club-record 350 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
XXXIX.The Seahawks allowed a total of 39 points during their six-game winning streak to close the regular season.
XL. The Seahawks have played 40 regular-season road games under Carroll, and they're 19-21. But in the past two seasons, they've gone 11-5 on the road – 5-3 this season and a franchise-best 6-2 in 2013. Those 11 road wins are the most in back-to-back seasons for the Seahawks.
XLI.Hauschka attempted and made 41 PATs during the regular season. He is now 165 of 167 in four seasons with the Seahawks.
XLII.Bruce Irvin averaged 42.0 yards on his two interceptions, and returned both for touchdowns – a 49-yarder in the regular-season finale against the Rams and a 35-yarder in the six-point victory over the Raiders in Week 9.
XLIII.The Seahawks converted 90 of 212 third-down situations during the regular season. That's 42.5 percent. Rounded up, it's 43 percent. It also was the eighth-highest conversion percentage in franchise history and the best since 2003 (.468).
XLIV.There 44 seconds between the Seahawks' fourth-quarter touchdowns in their storm-from-behind rally in the NFC Championship game. Wilson scored on a 1-yard run with 2:09 left in regulation and, after Matthews recovered the onside kick, Lynch scored on 24-yard run with 1:25 to play. After Wilson went to Luke Willson for the two-point conversion, the Seahawks had a three-point lead and the game went into overtime when the Packers kicked a game-tying field goal with 14 seconds left.
XLV.** Double this 45 and you get Chancellor's 90-yard interception return for a touchdown in the divisional playoff win over the Panthers. It was the longest postseason play in franchise history.
XLVI. The Seahawks ran the ball a season-high 46 times in their Week 14 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia, and gained 188 yards.
XLVII.The Seahawks had 47 takeaways during the 2013 season – a league-best 39 in the regular season and eight more in the postseason. That total dipped to 31 this season, when seven came in the postseason.
XLVIII. With his 13 rushing touchdowns this season, Lynch has 48 since 2011, the most in the NFL during that span.
XLIX.In Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks came within a yard of becoming the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did it after the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
A look back at Team Photographer Rod Mar's series Eye On the Hawks in 2014 featuring behind the scenes, and game action photos from the Seahawks 2014 season.