The history of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks games have been very interesting since 2010. Seattle currently leads the series at 2-1 during the Pete Carroll era. However, Denver will have a chance to tie the series Week One as the Seahawks will be coming to Denver for the first time in eight years. Here is a walkthrough of each of the Broncos and Seahawks matchups during the Pete Carroll era, starting with their most recent game in 2014 and working backward.
Denver Broncos Versus Seattle Seahawks: A Brief History
A Clash of Egos
The most recent game between the Broncos and Seahawks was the most entertaining of the bunch. It started badly for the Broncos with a fumble by Running Back Montee Ball on his first carry of the game, just a minute and a half into the first quarter. Seattle was able to capitalize, landing a field goal to take an early lead. Denver matched Seattle’s field goal and tied the game at three.
The game then stagnated until about 4:42 left in the second quarter. Newly acquired Cornerback Aqib Talib nearly intercepted Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson but Ricardo Lockette, the targeted Wide Receiver, threw Talib to the ground and saved the interception. Offensive pass interference was called but the Seahawks happily took the penalty instead of the would-be pick-six that Talib was in great position to score. Three plays later, the same receiver caught a 39-yard touchdown pass to put Seattle up 10-3 with 3:05 left in the second quarter.
Before the end of the half, Seattle was able to score seven more points with a short 5-yard run by Running Back Marshawn Lynch and put the Broncos down by 14 going into halftime.
Both teams were at a stalemate for the third quarter but they were going to make up for it with one of the most exciting fourth quarters of the season, if not the decade. It began with a 3rd and 17 for Seattle from their own 1-yard line. Seattle handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch, trying to avoid a safety. They failed. Denver was now only down 5-17 but still needed two touchdowns. Denver got the ball next but had to punt.
Seattle, up 17-5, felt pretty good but they wanted more. Wilson forced a bad pass on their drive that was tipped and intercepted by Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. with 11:02 left to play. Denver capitalized on the pick, scoring a touchdown with a quick shuffle pass to Tight End Julius Thomas, making the score 12-17. Seattle was forced to punt on their next drive and they were starting to feel the pressure, only up five points. This pressure was alleviated because quarterback Peyton Manning threw a fourth-quarter interception of his own, picked by Safety Kam Chancellor with 2:20 left to play. Seattle was able to turn the interception into three points and so Denver needed eight points in the final minute of the game to force overtime.
What transpired was one of the most memorable fourth-quarter drives of Peyton Manning’s career in Denver. Manning screamed down the field against the legendary Legion of Boom in about a minute and was able to capitalize with a 26-yard touchdown pass thrown to Jacob Tamme.
Now down two points, Manning called the two-point play. Manning was able to find Demaryius Thomas, who caught the ball and toe-tapped on the back line of the end zone. The score was tied at 20. A roller coaster of a fourth-quarter had forced overtime.
The referee declared that the first team to get a touchdown would win the game, his voice booming throughout the stadium. Seattle won the coin toss and received the football first. The referee’s message was heard loud and clear by Seattle, who methodically marched the ball down the field and scored the game-ending touchdown, Marshawn Lynch delivering the death blow with a 1-yard touchdown run.
On the other side, Denver’s defense must not have gotten the message as they had let Wilson scramble to convert a pair of 3rd and 3s during the game-winning drive. Manning finished 31-49 with 303 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception while Wilson finished 24-34 258 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. It was a lost game but a moral victory for Broncos fans as the game was much more competitive than their matchup earlier in the calendar year.
A Clash Of Titans
Taking place just eight and a half months before their thrilling matchup in Seattle, the stakes were higher than mere bragging rights and moral victories. This was the Super Bowl. Both teams came to the stadium expecting to win, but only one would get their wish.
Seattle won the initial coin toss but deferred, wanting to put their defense on the field first. This was a loud statement made by Pete Carroll. Not just any coach would give one of the best offenses in NFL history a chance to score first. Carroll clearly had faith in his defense and they performed.
Well, it would be better to say that Denver failed. On the first play of the game, while Manning was giving commands at the line of scrimmage, the center snapped the ball way over the quarterback’s head and it tumbled into the end zone. Manning sprinted after it and dived on the ball and on the first play of the game, the Broncos had given up a safety.
Seattle got the ball next and scored a field goal, giving themselves a five-point lead. They scored a second field goal and moved the lead to eight with a minute left in the first quarter. Even with the bad start, the Broncos were far from out of the game at this point. Manning could still lead the team down the field and make it a one-point game. Instead, he threw an interception to Kam Chancellor.
On the ensuing drive, Denver’s defense was in prime position to hold Seattle to three points but instead gave up a pass interference call on a 3rd and 4 and the ball was placed at the 1-yard line. Lynch would run the ball in from a few inches away on 2nd and goal. Seattle’s lead grew to 15-0.
On the other side, Manning was not done making mistakes and threw a pick to Linebacker Malcolm Smith who ran it back for a touchdown, making the score 22-0 with 3:23 left in the first half.
Halftime could not come fast enough for the Denver Broncos. Many expected adjustments from the Broncos, adjustments that would make this a competitive game again. However, Seattle fans expected a continuation of the same. They smelled blood in the water.
Wide Receiver Percy Harvin, who had been injured for most of the year, awaited to return the second opening kick-off as Seattle was to receive at the start of the second half. Harvin ended all talks of a comeback with his return. He caught the ball and flew up the field at neck-breaking speed. Denver was no match. He ended his run in Denver’s end zone and with a 29-point lead, just twelve seconds into the second half.
Denver made the big next play, or rather, the next big mistake as Demaryius Thomas fumbled the ball just as Denver was starting to put together a good drive for the first time of the game. Malcolm Smith had earned his second turnover of the game.
Wilson capitalized on the Broncos error and threw a touchdown, moving the lead to 36-points.
It was way past the point of ugly. It was already one of the worst Super Bowls of all-time and it was not about to get much better. It took until the final play of the third quarter for Denver to find the scoreboard with a Demaryius Thomas touchdown and a successful two-point conversion. It was way too little, way too late.
To add insult to injury, Seattle matched the touchdown with a touchdown of their own, thrown from Wilson to Receiver Doug Baldwin from 10 yards out.
Mercifully, the game came to an end with the final score of 43-8. Out of 52 games to date, it was easily one of the worst Super Bowls of all-time and one of the worst days ever in Broncos history. On the flipside, it was easily the best day in Seattle Seahawks history. Wilson finished 18-25 with 206 yards and two touchdowns while Manning finished 34-49, 280 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
A Clash Nobody Remembers
Seattle and Denver’s first game during the Pete Carroll era took place in 2010 and featured rosters so radically different, that the teams are almost unrecognizable.
Josh McDaniels was Denver’s head coach and Pete Carroll was in his first season coaching the Seahawks. It was a matchup of Quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Matt Hasselbeck. Both teams were not very good and while Seattle was the only one of the two to make the playoffs and win a playoff game, they have been called one of the worst teams to ever make the playoffs.
Seattle had the first shot at getting points but Hasselbeck threw a pick in a 2nd-and-goal situation. The turnover did not turn into points as Denver ended up punting. Seattle made their second critical mistake of the game, muffing the punt and giving the Broncos the ball inside Seattle’s red zone. The Broncos capitalized on this turnover with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Orton to Eddie Royal to make the score 7-0 with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
Denver added on another touchdown near the start of the second quarter to make it 14-0. Before halftime, Denver was able to make a field goal to total 17 unanswered points at the half.
Denver kept rolling in the second half, giving the ball to Running Back Knowshon Moreno at the Seattle 1-yard line where he was able to punch it in for a touchdown to make the score 24-0. Next, Seattle finally found the scoreboard with a touchdown to make it 24-7 but Denver quickly responded with what would be their final touchdown of the game.
Down 31-7, Hasselbeck was able to scramble 20 yards into the end zone late to make the score 31-14. Hasselbeck’s touchdown was the final score of the game and so Denver won 31-14. Hasselbeck finished the day with 20 completions to 35 targets, 233 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions. On the other side, Orton finished with 25 completions to 35 attempts, 307 yards, and two touchdowns.
A Clash Of Wants
There have been three very different games played between these two teams since the beginning of the Pete Carroll era. There has been a Broncos blowout, a Seattle blowout, and an overtime thriller.
With Seattle coming to Denver in 2018, Broncos fans want a repeat of the game from 2010 and revenge for their loss in Super Bowl 48. On the other hand, Seattle fans want a repeat of Super Bowl 48. In the middle, neutral fans want a repeat of the thriller from 2014. Who will get their wish? One can only wait and see but the only sure thing is that this will be one of the most anticipated matchups for both fanbases in 2018.