Plenty more preseason NFL to ignore this weekend as the Seahawks take on former-division-rival-turned-non-division-non-rival the Denver Broncos. For my preview this week, in lieu of actually preview anything, I’m detailing two Seahawks-Broncos RAGs (Randomly Awesome Game) from the past.
Seahawks 42 Broncos 14, December 11, 1988
The ‘Hawks run all over the ‘Cos to the tune of 230 yards and 4 touchdowns. The great Curt Warner goes for 23-126-4 (Att-Yds-TD), and the underrated John L. Williams pitches in with 20-109-0. Ground Chuck indeed.
The victory sets up a division-deciding season finale for the Seahawks against the L.A. Raiders, which Seattle wins. So the victory over Denver was a big one, but it’s not remember for it’s playoff implications; it’s remember for being the game in which Steve Largent delivered his famous hit on Marcia Gay Harden.
It’s a pretty sweet play by a legend, but I think it’s been a bit overblown over the years in Seahawks lore. For one thing, I’m not completely buying the vengeance aspect of it. The story goes, Harden took out Largent in the season opener with an illegal hit putting him on injured reserve for a few weeks, and Largent’s shot was payback. The dirty hit definitely did happen, I remember it, but there’s no evidence of Largent going on IR; he appears in the box score in Week 2 and Week 3 and Week 4… all the way to Week 14, which he missed for some reason that I’m guessing had nothing to do with a hit sustained three months earlier. Maybe Largent had revenge on Mike Harden in his head, but it seems more likely that, if anything, he was pissed about the bullshit retaliation call on Brian Blades the play prior. (By the way, I can see why the Broncos defensive back started the fight. Blades goes unnecessarily low at his knees during the play. It’s probably the worst thing Brian Blades ever did to anybody.)
For another thing, the play didn’t count because the refs threw a flag for defensive holding (not pass interference). Furthermore, even if had counted, it wasn’t a fumble. Harden clearly hits the ground before the ball is dislodged, and although I can’t tell for sure, I believe the referees are signaling him down at the end of the play.
Lastly, the hit is big, but not epically big. I’m not hating on it, just saying it’s not one of the franchise’s greatest moments or anything like that. I mean, as far as Seahawk wide receivers destroying opponents go, below is the far superior example in my not-so-humble opinion.
This Monday night game featured a fast-fading 7-4 Broncos team against a 1-10 Seahawks squad. Tommy Maddox was manning the helm for Denver, in for an injured John Elway (hence the fast fade), while Kelly Stouffer was under center for the Seahawks. The Broncos, exploiting two Stouffer picks, took a 13-3 leading into the fourth quarter. Another ‘Hawks loss was inevitable… but apparently nobody told that to Stanley Morris Gelbaugh*. Subbing in for Stouffer, Gelbaugh, in his only meaningful football moment this side of the Atlantic, rallied the troops with ten unanswered points, sending the game to OT, when John Kasay ended things with a 32-yard field goal.
The victory gave the ‘Hawks their second and last win of the season. At 2-14 they tied with the New England Patriots for worst record in the league; due to a tie-breaker the Pats got the first pick in the draft. So basically this game is the reason the Seahawks got Rick Mirer instead of Drew Bledsoe. Perhaps “awesome” is the wrong adjective for it.
*The ’92 Seahawks trio of Kelly Stouffer, Stan Gelbaugh, and Dan McGwire might represent the worst season of quarterbacking for a team in NFL history. They won just two games despite having a top-10 D (Tez!), averaged a putrid 4.9 yards per attempt, and threw 23 picks to just nine touchdowns. They were so sad I couldn’t even muster a winning season with them on Madden for Sega Genesis.