The Play that Caused an Earthquake


January 8th, 2011 – It was a big day for Seattle.

Having just lost its NBA team to Oklahoma City only years before, the city was in the midst of trying to reclaim a spot in sports history as one of the most underestimated teams in the National Football League. Five years after their trip to Super Bowl XL had resulted in one of the most controversial loses in NFL history, the Seahawks had already made history as the only team to make it to the NFL playoffs with a losing record, having won seven games and lost nine during the regular season. Now, they sought to turn that dubious honor into something of legend.

The task was admittedly one of long odds and certain defeat; after all, their first playoff game was a matchup against the New Orleans Saints – a team who had marched their way to a Super Bowl title only one year earlier and were eager for a repeat. The defending champions came to Seattle certain of victory with virtually every sports writer and commentator in the business in agreement. Little did they know that the Seahawks were ready to play with relentless passion, and with every hopeful fan behind them in what had long been known as the loudest and most difficult stadium to play at in the whole league.

The entire game remained close – much closer than anyone had anticipated. Fans had been hopeful but generally held low expectations. It was hard to tell who was more surprised – the Saints, who had seen this game little more than a formality, or the Seahawks fans, who were somewhat used to disappointment by now. Nevertheless, with less than five minutes left in the game, with the Seahawks leading 34-30, the home team got the ball back. And then it happened.

It was instantly one of the greatest runs in NFL history. Marshawn Lynch, who had been the 12th pick in the 2007 draft but was then traded to the Seahawks by the Buffalo Bills for almost nothing, engaged his now famous “beast mode” that has become the trademark of his career. He charged down the field, breaking seven tackles on his way to a 67-yard touchdown that would prove to be game-winning. It was not only one of the most startling runs in years, but also one of the most unexpected upsets in the past few decades.

Here’s the best part: the usually raucous Seahawks crowd made so much noise during the play that it actually caused seismic activity to be registered at a monitoring station near Qwest Field. Ever since, Seattle fans have been waiting for a moment in which they can recreate what has been affectionately known as the “Beast-Quake”.

Do you remember the play? Let us know below. Also, don’t forget to check out the NFL Films segment on this historical run…the reaction by some of the Colts players watching highlights of the game from their stadium around 4:50 into the video says it all.

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