Seattle should have clinched the NFC West two weeks ago when they faced the Arizona Cardinals, but lost 27-21. The odds were even more in their favor the following week when San Francisco came to the painfully loud Qwest Field, but the 49ers pulled off a 24-14 victory. With two games left, the Seattle Seahawks needed either one victory or one 49er loss to take the NFC west.
They nearly got both.
After the last two losses, not many people were giving the Hawks a chance against the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers. The Chargers still had a chance to take home-field advantage, so they would be playing full force.
Both teams struggled to score in the first half, but only San Diego pulled it off with a touchdown in the final minutes. They added another three early in the third on a 46-yard field goal to lead 10-0. The Hawks finally scored on a Shaun Alexander 33-yard touchdown run, then Nate Kaeding gave San Diego another three with a 40-yard field goal.
Down by six, Seattle came to life. Shaun Alexander picked up another touchdown on a 9-yard run to take the lead. The defense held back the Chargers’ next drive, then Hasselbeck drove the Hawks close enough for Josh Brown to pick up a 33-yard field goal.
Seattle held back the next San Diego drive, but couldn’t stop them a second time. Vincent Jackson caught a 37-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game to give San Diego the lead 20-17.
Despite the loss, Seattle received the good news of the Cardinals’ 26-20 victory over the 49ers shortly before falling behind to San Diego. With the loss, Seattle clinched the division, and San Diego clinched the first-round bye.
San Francisco’s loss and St. Louis’ 37-31 victory still puts the Rams in position for a long-shot chance at a Wild Card, but they are on the bottom of a long list.
Next week the Hawks attempt to break their three-game losing streak with a season-ending road trip against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.