Five most satisfying games of the Seattle Seahawks' Pete Carroll era

The Seahawks have a lot to look forward to in new head coach Mike Macdonald, but it's never a bad idea to look back on fond memories of the recent past.
Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Seahawks hold on to defeat the 49ers in the NFC Championship (2013)

In 2013, the Seahawks went 13-3 and boasted the best defense in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers, led by phenom quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and an elite defense of their own, presented a formidable threat to Seattle's quest for their first Super Bowl win. And of course this new budding, yet already heated rivalry would culminate in the NFC Championship game for the chance to meet the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

Seattle, needing desperately to gain some momentum, finally answered back. After a 51-yard completion to a wide-open Doug Baldwin, Seattle was in business inside San Francisco territory. However, the Niners' defense stood their ground and forced the Seahawks into a field goal attempt. Steven Hauschka cut the Niners lead to 10-3.

After a quick 3-and-out, Seattle got the ball back with a chance to tie the game before the half. Seattle made their way inside of the Niners' 40 and faced a 4th and 6 at the 38-yard line. Instead of settling for a 56-yard field goal, Seattle elected to go for it, but Wilson's pass fell incomplete. San Francisco owned a 10-3 halftime lead.

After forcing a San Francisco punt to open the second half, Seattle finally found the end zone and tied the game. Marshawn Lynch took the handoff on the Niners' 40 and bounced it outside, taking it all the way to the house. Seattle was rocking and momentum was swinging. However, after a 22-yard Michael Crabtree reception and a 22-yard Kaepernick run, the Niners were threatening to retake the lead. A 26-yard Anquan Boldin touchdown catch gave the Niners the lead back, going up 17-10.

The following kickoff was returned by Doug Baldwin for 69 yards (nice), and Seattle was suddenly threatening to score from San Francisco's 33-yard line. Seattle couldn't cash in on the short field and settled for a 40-yard field goal, cutting the lead to four with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. Kaepernick and the Niners received the ball back with a chance to pad their lead, but Seattle's defense forced a quick 3-and-out. Seattle would get the ball back with time running out of the third quarter.

Seattle faced a 3rd and 22 at midfield to start the fourth quarter. Zach Miller gained a good chunk of it back with a 15-yard reception, and it was 4th and 7 from the Niners' 35-yard line. Carroll trotted Hauschka out for a long field goal, but bizarrely, Hauschka was frozen on the field as the play clock was running out.

The Seahawks called for time and decided the field goal was too long and they'd let their offense have a crack at the 4th and 7. Wilson drew the Niners offsides with a hard count and had a free play, he aired it out to Jermaine Kearse, who miraculously came down with the ball. Seattle exploded as the Seahawks took a 20-17 lead.

The Niners' ensuing possession ended when Cliff Avril stripped the ball out of Kaepernick's hands and Seattle regained possession deep in Niners' territory with a chance to bolster their lead. On 3rd and goal from the 10, Wilson's pass to Kearse was caught at the 1-yard line, but San Francisco great Navorro Bowman was there to stonewall him.

On the replay, it was fairly obvious that Bowman actually intercepted the ball straight from Kearse's grasp, but Seattle got away with it. Although, interception or not, Seattle squandered their opportunity on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line as Wilson scrambled all the way back to the 15 and took a strip-sack.

The very next play, Kaepernick's pass was intercepted by Kam Chancellor, and Seattle was immediately back in business. It was a chaotic few minutes which led to Seattle settling for a field goal to take a 23-17 lead with a little over three minutes to play in the game.

The Niners needed the end zone to win the game, and Seattle fans were on the edge of their seat as Kaepernick and company took the field. With just a tick over two minutes to play, San Francisco faced a 4th and 2 at their own 3-yard line. Kaepernick connected with Crabtree and the game would continue.

The Niners continued to gain chunk yardage as the clock dwindled down inside a minute left and the Niners were starting to creep into Seattle territory. With 55 seconds to play, Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for 11 yards to the Seattle 18-yard line. The Niners didn't use a timeout, nor hurry back to the line, letting precious seconds, for both teams, wind off the clock. With 30 seconds to go, Kaepernick took the snap. He looked right and kept looking right as Michael Crabtree was one-on-one with Richard Sherman.

Kaepernick let the ball fly for Crabtree toward the corner of the end zone. The ball hung in the air for what felt like an eternity as it hurled towards Crabtree in the end zone with a Super Bowl trip on the line. Crabtree had a step on Sherman. But as the ball made its descent towards Crabtree's waiting hands, Sherman swiveled his hips towards the ball, lept upwards with his left arm, and tipped the ball upwards. The ball landed right into the arms of linebacker Malcolm Smith, and the game was over.

Sherman did not let the Niners hear the end of it and was ultimately flagged for taunting, but it didn't matter. The game was over and the Seahawks were headed to the Super Bowl. Wilson and the offense took three kneel-downs from the victory formation and the clock expired. Richard Sherman was interviewed by Erin Andrews and gave one of the most disrespectful and legendary postgame interviews of all time.