Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Raiders busters week: Flashback to 2001

By Kshell

When the Seattle Seahawks(4-2) travel down to Oakland to take on the Raiders(3-4) it will bring back memories of the old AFC West rivalry between these two teams. The big dissapointment in 2002 when the Seahawks moved to the NFC West was they would only get to play their AFC West rivals particularly the Oakland Raiders just once every four years. That meant Seahawks fans and plenty of Raiders fans in the Northwest only get to see the Raiders play in Seattle every eight years so we have to wait another four years before the Raiders visit. The Seahawks and Raiders were usually featured on big primetime games whether it was Monday night games in the 80's or Sunday night games in the 90's it was a huge game. The Raiders lead the all-time series against the Seahawks 27-23 but keep in mind as Seattle was entering the league the Raiders were in the middle of a run that saw them win three Super Bowl championships in a seven year span.

The Seahawks-Raiders rivalry reached a peak in the 1980's that the Seahawks probably won't ever experience again with another team. When these teams played the game was usually on a national t.v. setting. In 1980 the Seahawks who finished the year 4-12 took on the eventual Super Bowl champions Raiders and lost 19-17 in the Kingdome on Monday Night football. The rivalry really heated up in 1983 when the Seahawks swept the Raiders that season beating them 38-36 at home in the Kingdome then down in Los Angeles 34-21. The Seahawks would advance to the AFC Championship game down in L.A. and face off the with the Raiders yet again and this time were crushed 30-14. The Raiders would go on to win the Super Bowl that year.

The following season saw the Seahawks exact some revenge on the Raiders. Seattle would beat the Raiders at home on Monday night football 17-14 then face the same Raiders again in the playoffs. The Seahawks offense would continue to struggle against the Raiders in the postseason. The previous year Dave Krieg was horrible and hall of fame receiver Steve Largent was held to just one catch. Well this year Krieg would pass for under 100 yards and Largent was shut out. The Seahawks despite all that would win 13-7 over the Raiders at home in the Kingdome. That would be the franchises last playoff win for 21 years.

In the 1986 Monday night game saw the Seahawks who would eventually go to the postseason shut out the Raiders 37-0 in front of a sold out Kingdome crowd. They held the Raiders to just 138 yards of offense on the day. The following year the Seahawks would beat the Raiders down in L.A. 35-13 but on Monday night in Seattle Bo Jackson came to town. The game was hyped as a Boz(Brian Bozworth) vs Bo game and Bo destroyed the Seahawks. He bulled over Boz for a touchdown then broke another one for a long touchdown run. When it was all said and done Jackson ran for over 200 yards and the Raiders handed the Seahawks a 37-14 blowout defeat at home.

In 1988 the Seahawks were making a late season run and beat the Raiders at the Kingdome on Monday night 35-27. As was the tradition it seemed like the Seahawks and Raiders would play on Monday night football but these two teams wouldn't play on Monday night again for 18 years. The Seahawks in the last game of the season needed to beat the Raiders in Los Angeles to clinch their first ever division title. The Seahawks would win in a wild shootout 43-37 clinching their first division title. The rivalry continued to be on prime time during the 1990's but there wasn't quite the same playoff implications.

In the 90's the Seahawks series with the Raiders shifted to ESPN's Sunday night football. In 1994 again in the Kingdome saw the Seahawks lose 17-16 when John Kasey missed the game winning field goal attempt. That would mark the last season former two time Super Bowl winning coach of the Raiders Tom Flores would coach for the Seattle Seahawks. In 1995 the Seahawks won 44-10 in a blow out that saw former pro bowl runningback Chris Warren run wild. In 1998 the Raiders won again in the Kingdome on Sunday night 31-18. Then in 1999 in a game that would prove crucial the Seahawks won 22-21 as the Raiders missed a 60 yard field goal attempt. The Seahawks would win the division title the following season.

This series returned to Monday night in 2006 when Seneca Wallace who was filling in for the injured Matt Hasselbeck got his first career start at Qwest field. The Seahawks won 16-0 over the Raiders. They sacked the Raiders nine times that game in a game that they also didn't have Shaun Alexander who was also injured. I'm going to talk about the last time these two teams played as AFC West rivals back in 2001 on Sunday night football.

November 11th, 2001: Oakland Raiders(6-1) at Seattle Seahawks(3-4)

This game took place at Husky Stadium as the Seahawks were waiting for Qwest field to open up in 2002. The Seahawks were just hoping to get a win to keep their playoff hopes alive while the Raiders under Jon Gruden had bigger things on their mind. The Raiders the previous year lost the AFC championship at home and were hoping to this year go to the Super Bowl. The Raiders were also hoping to avoid another letdown in Husky Stadium where they blew a 24-13 lead in the fourth quarter to the Seahawks last year. The Seahawks who were just 5-9 entering the game defeated the 11-3 Raiders 27-24 in a rainy soaked game in December.

This year the Seahawks were in middle of a quarterback controversy. The Seahawks started the season off 1-2 then ineffective starter Matt Hasselbeck went down. That allowed Trent Dilfer to come in and the Seahawks won two games in a row to improve to 3-2. When Hasselbeck returned Mike Holmgren insisted that Hasselbeck was the guy. The team then lost two games in a row. The Seahawks this game were going to simplify the playbook for Hasselbeck and feature second year pro Shaun Alexander who was also filling in for the injured Ricky Watters. This was another big game for this rivalry as this game was featured on ESPN Sunday night football.

After a quiet first quarter that saw the Seahawks lead 6-3 with two field goals by Rian Lindell the second quarter featured some scoring. The Raiders scored the first touchdown when Rich Gannon hit Tim Brown for a four yard touchdown pass to take a 10-6 lead. The Seahawks would respond when Matt Hasselbeck would hit Darrell Jackson for a nine yard touchdown pass to give the Seahawks a 13-10 lead at halftime. Hasselbeck would connect with Jackson for more touchdown passes than any other receiver in his career.

The second half would begin terribly for the Seahawks as they gave up a 90 yard kickoff return to Terry Kirby for a touchdown giving the Raiders a 17-13 lead. The game was pretty cold as well in the 40 degrees and the crowd wasn't so confident. Husky Stadium is a loud stadium and Seahawk fans have proven they are loud in the Kingdome and especially Qwest field. For whatever reason the Seahawk fans at Husky Stadium just weren't very loud. That would change later in the game. After a Raiders field goal giving them a 20-13 lead the Seahawks Shaun Alexander would begin to take over the game.

The Seahawks would begin to feature Alexander on the next series and Alexander would tie the game with a six yard touchdown run. Alexander would then get some revenge for Seahawks fans on the Bo Jackson run back in 1987. Alexander would take the hand off cut up the middle then was gone for an 88 yard touchdown run. As he was running he could see himself scoring the touchdown on the giant scoreboard at Husky Stadium giving the Seahawks a 27-20 lead. The Seahawks crowd was going crazy like it was a Husky win going to the Rose Bowl. Alexander in the fourth would add another touchdown run this time being just a 10 yard run giving the Seahawks a 34-20 lead. The Seahawks would eventually hang on for the 34-27 win for the rivals last AFC West game against each other.

That was probably the best game of the year for the Seahawks. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck who wasn't the pro bowl version of Hasselbeck that would would all enjoy from 2003-2007 enjoyed his best game of the year. Hasselbeck was 15 of 23 for 181 yards and a touchdown. He would also run for 34 yards. The star of the game was Shaun Alexander who set a Seahawks franchise record for rushing yards in a game. Alexander would run for 266 yards on 35 carries for three touchdowns. This was a breakout year for Alexander that saw him score over 15 touchdowns starting a streak that would last until 2005 of scoring over 15 touchdowns or more ever year.

That Raiders team would go on to lose to the Patriots in the famous "tuck-rule" game. Head coach Jon Gruden would leave after the season as the Raiders would finally reach the Super Bowl in 2002. As for the Seahawks they would go 9-7 and finish the year missing the playoffs because the Raiders lost to the Jets on the last day or the Seahawks would have faced the Raiders again in the playoffs. The Seahawks would enjoy great success in the new NFC West reaching the playoffs five consecutive years and winning four division titles in a row.

All in all, this series means a lot especially to the fans. The atmosphere at the old Kingdome when the Raiders came to town was a great feeling and that is the one shame about the Seahawks going to the NFC. I'm still glad the Seahawks are in the NFC though as odds say they wouldn't have achieved the amount of success in the AFC West as they would in the watered down NFC West. The only good thing about the rivalry last every four years is when the Raiders come to town in 2014 you'll hear such stats such as the Raiders haven't won in Seattle since 1998. Anytime you can put a burn on the Raiders I say go for it. On the flip side the Seahawks haven't won in Oakland since 1997. Here is hoping the Seahawks with that same quarterback Hasselbeck who is now a veteran instead of a first year starter end that streak over the Raiders.

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