The Pete Carroll 100: Counting down wins 20-1

With a victory over the Steelers on Sunday, Pete Carroll has officially won 100 games as head coach in Seattle. Because of this, Rain City Redemption’s William Cornell and I decided to precisely rank every single one of these wins from worst to best and reveal them to you in a trio of posts.

William and I ordered these wins by utilizing a proprietary formula that takes into account margin of victory, quality of opponent, storyline, how we felt during and afterward, significance within Seattle history, etc. Try as you may to argue with these rankings. We refuse to reveal the driving algorithm. This is canon now.

Wins 100-61 were posted on Monday: CLICK HERE.

Wins 60-21 were posted yesterday: CLICK HERE.

Hold on to your butts for Pete Carroll’s top 20 wins in Seattle.

20: 11/27/14, @ 49ers, 19-3

After facing off in the NFC Championship Game the previous season, Seattle and San Francisco met on Thanksgiving. Richard Sherman proceeded to intercept Colin Kaepernick twice and then feast upon turkey with Russell Wilson on the 49ers’ logo. Peak pettiness = peak win.

Play of the Game:

14.8 @ 49ers.gif

19: 2012 Wild Card Playoff, @ Redskins, 24-14

Russell Wilson’s first playoff win and Seattle’s first on the road in decades. Even with RG3’s gruesome injury, the Seahawks exhibited a newfound resilience we as observers hadn’t seen in quite a while. We also discovered Wilson likes to block people.

Play of the Game:

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18: 11/25/18, @ Panthers, 30-27

Finally we get to the fun game in Carolina. Seattle’s defense couldn’t dream of stopping Cam Newton or Christian McCaffrey from rolling up and down the field on this day. Despite this, Russell Wilson pulled some Russell Wilson magic out of his behind and willed the Seahawks to an incredibly important road victory. The touchdown Wilson somehow completed to David Moore on 4th and 3 is one of the most impressive throws of his career.

Play of the Game:

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17: 12/21/14, @ Cardinals, 35-6

Arizona had an overwhelmingly solid roster in 2014, even with Carson Palmer out for the season. Glendale has treated the Seahawks quite poorly in recent years but not on this night. Luke Willson roasted Larry Foote on a spit, Russell Wilson juked Antonio Cromartie out of his jorts, and Marshawn Lynch did this.

Play of the Game:

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16: 9/21/14, Broncos, 26-20

A Super Bowl rematch that quietly became one of the greatest games of this era. Russell Wilson threw a touchdown to Ricardo Lockette over Aqib Talib before finding himself on the ground and in a tug of war with DeMarcus Ware. After Peyton Manning, Jacob Tamme, and Demaryius Thomas baffled the Legion of Boom by tying things up late, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offense never gave Denver a chance to touch the football in overtime.

Play of the Game:

14.2 Broncos.gif

15: 9/4/14, Packers, 36-16

Coming off of [game details redacted to avoid spoilers], Seattle opened up the 2014 season by crushing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers by 20 points. Ricardo Lockette scored the first touchdown of the year and Cris Collinsworth made the “ooohhohhoaoOOOOHHHH” noise he makes so much of the time.

There has never been a moment where the Seahawks felt more indestructible; more ready to win back-to-back [redacted] and beyond.

Play of the Game:

14.1 Packers.gif

14: 10/29/17, Texans, 41-38

The ultimate duel between two of the league’s best quarterbacks: Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. It took three interceptions between Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, Paul Richardson hauling in jump ball after jump ball and touchdown after touchdown, and Jimmy Graham scoring in the waning seconds to make it past a dynamic Houston offense.

Play of the Game:

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13: 11/29/15, Steelers, 39-30

On his 27th birthday — with the flu no less — Russell Wilson transcended. 345 yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. A relentless Pittsburgh aerial assault led by Markus Wheaton (Richard Sherman locked down Antonio Brown and nabbed two picks in the process) could only be topped by Wilson and his main man Douglas Baldwin. I literally cried after this play.

Play of the Game:

15.6 Steelers.gif

12: 11/13/16, @ Patriots, 31-24

Redemption. Two seasons after the play that we do not speak of, Seattle rolled into Foxborough with no public expectation of victory. Tom Brady threw his only interception of the season to DeShawn Shead. Russell Wilson tossed another three touchdowns to Doug Baldwin. Earl Thomas broke Rob Gronkowski’s torso. Kam Chancellor, finally coming back from injury, reminded us — play after play on the goal line with the game sitting loosely upon its fulcrum — that he was the most dominant safety in the NFL.

Play of the Game:

16.6 @ Patriots.gif

11: 2014 Divisional Playoff, Panthers, 31-17

This one wasn’t ever especially close, but the dagger is one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. On an evening with a trip to the NFC title game on the line, Kam picked Cam and set CenturyLink Field on fire.

(Sidenote: This is the best broadcast call for any play in Seahawks history.)

Play of the Game:

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10: 12/23/18, Chiefs, 38-31

In a season where Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs were a juggernaut hellbent on destroying any and all defenses; in a leadup where everybody doubted the Seahawks and their archaic Schottenheimer-led offense; in a game that would clinch a playoff berth that nobody in their right mind expected Seattle to even come close to clinching; in a down-to-the-wire battle where Russell Wilson was truly the NFL’s Most Valuable Player; in what we should remember as Doug Baldwin’s last meteoric, beautiful moment in a Seattle uniform; the Seahawks were the best version of the Seahawks once more.

Play of the Game:

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9: 9/24/12, Packers, 14-12

An ugly, horrible, gritty, disgusting, brutal, enthralling landmark victory that thrust Russell Wilson and a young, upstart defense on to a national scale. Did it result in a win for the Seattle Seahawks? Yes. Was the final play of the game controversial? Also yes. Did it make us lose our fucking minds and make us lose our fucking minds again when we revisit it seven years later? Yet again, yes.

Play of the Game:

12.2 Packers.gif

8: 9/29/13, @ Texans, 23-20

Let us preface this by saying that the 2013 Houston Texans were the most bafflingly bad team in recent memory. Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and a rookie DeAndre Hopkins should have been a solid squad and for 52 minutes against the Seahawks, they truly were. The peak Legion of Boom could not stop OWEN DANIELS or GARRETT GRAHAM. Until Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch strung a touchdown drive together. Until Schaub faked the handoff and turned to find Kam Chancellor right in his lap. Until Houston’s poor quarterback made a split-second decision to lob the ball up to his safety valve in the flat. Until Richard Sherman plucked the pigskin out of midair as if it belonged to him and him alone (it did) and flew into the end zone. A field goal in overtime (bless you forever Steven Hauschka) sealed Seattle’s first-ever 4-0 start to a season.

Play of the Game:

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7: 12/2/12, @ Bears, 23-17

Two long game-winning touchdown drives, the first of which only spoiled by Brandon Marshall shocking every last one of us, sealed what we all had been pretty sure of for a while but were now absolutely certain: Russell Wilson was the quarterback that would change everything for the Seattle Seahawks.

Play of the Game:

12.7 @ Bears.gif

6: 10/14/12, Patriots, 24-23

The Legion of Boom established themselves as the most physical, outspoken position group in the NFL, picking off Tom Brady twice and ultimately holding strong to preserve a last-minute 13-point comeback by Russell Wilson and company. This was the moment where our collective premonition was confirmed; the moment where we all knew there was something truly special brewing in Seattle.

Play of the Game:

12.4 Patriots.gif

5: 12/23/12, 49ers 42-13

As defending division champs and eventual NFC Champions, San Francisco was unbelievably good in 2012. Colin Kaepernick had recently gazelled onto the scene, turning an elite team into something completely terrifying. And on Sunday Night Football, on Jim Harbaugh’s birthday, after losing somewhat convincingly to their rivals just two months prior, the Seahawks beat the absolute shit out of them. Richard Sherman housed a blocked field goal and added a notch to his interception belt. Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns on a defense that never gave up four touchdowns. Capping off a three-game streak that saw Seattle average 50 points per, Pete Carroll and his band of magnificent misfits curb-stomped the best team in the league and let everybody in the league know that all of the good they had experienced that year was no fluke.

The Seahawks had arrived.

Play of the Game:

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4: 2014 NFC Championship, Packers, 28-22

This game was the worst. It took at minimum a decade off of our lives. In the darkest moment imaginable, both Jermaine Kearse and Russell Wilson melted into oblivion before reshaping themselves and their storyline. Beyond the fake field goal, beyond what must have been an imaginary onside kick recovery (still can’t believe it), beyond Marshawn Lynch lightly placing his phalanges upon his crotch after gracefully crossing the pylon, Kearse and Wilson were miraculous. For a tick, magic was real.

Play of the Game:

14.14 Packers NFCCG.gif

3: 2010 Wild Card Playoff, Saints, 41-36

In a span of 14 seconds, Marshawn Lynch transformed everything. The first losing team to ever make the postseason was no longer that; they had morphed before our eyes into a flock of shimmering birds of prey engulfed in flames with death metal playing violently in the background and fireworks taking up every bit of space in the sky and the cheers of an entire region shaking every bit of the earth. Pete Carroll, once a pariah, a joke, an 11-point home underdog, had done the unthinkable by vanquishing the defending Super Bowl Champions. It’s absolutely bonkers that this is only the third most iconic victory of a single era.

Play of the Game:

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2: Super Bowl XLVIII, Broncos, 43-8

The irrational sense of confidence you felt before that magical season began? Proven correct. The desire for your beautiful boys in blue to beat the fuck out of Wes Welker in front of 111.5 million people? Satisfied. The unshakable yearning to witness the team you love hoist the trophy and hang the banner? Finally fulfilled.

The promised land.

Play of the Game:

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1: 2013 NFC Championship, 49ers, 23-17

You may be disappointed to see Seattle’s first and only (UP TO THIS POINT OKAY) Super Bowl victory at number two on this list. But there is no way — not on this planet, in this universe, in a quasi-alternate dimension — that the Seahawks beating their most heated rival, the second-best team in the NFL, the most worthy adversary they have ever and will ever face, and earning a trip to a Super Bowl — the Super Bowl– is not the greatest moment of Pete Carroll’s career in Seattle.

The narrative following Jim Harbaugh and Carroll from the PAC-12 to the NFL; the rivalry between two men so hilariously similar yet so completely divergent, just as their respective teams became; Doug Baldwin, who had gone under the radar his entire life, doing so one more time, finding himself alone behind San Francisco’s back line; Marshawn Lynch rumbling forward, then further forward, and then even further forward until there was nowhere else to rumble forward; Colin Kaepernick floating effortlessly into the atmosphere before deciding that it’s physically possible to bazooka a ball 30 yards over an Earl Thomas fingertip for a score; Kam Chancellor deeming Vernon Davis worthy of receiving his less-than-merciful shoulder a second time; Russell Wilson whispering sweet nothings to an over-eager Aldon Smith; Jermaine Kearse validating a petrifying decision to go on 4th and 7 with paydirt; the newfound-turned-heroic duo of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett coexisting in fiery harmony, turning the corner in perfect unison to strip sack Kaepernick; NaVorro Bowman sacrificing his leg — and essentially his career — for a stop on the goal line; Michael Crabtree, who likely kept repeating to himself “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”; Richard Sherman, the former understudy, seething for three full years of crescendo, sealing the fate of his arch-nemesis at the legend’s climax; the unlikely and yet absolutely worthy fingers of Malcolm Smith that clutched the orb of triumph and superiority and sweet, sweet god-damned success; Carroll, surrounded by visceral excitement from Heath Farwell and Breno Giacomini, thrusting his fists victoriously skyward; every last bit of this game and everything surrounding it — building up, during, and afterwards — was perfect. We will never witness something of this caliber again.

And that’s okay.

Thank you, Pete. For everything.

Play of the Game:

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