Sadly, one play will stand out as the defining moment to a remarkable season for the Seattle Seahawks, turning things around at midseason and going on an eight-game win streak that enabled them to reach the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year.
The Seahawks were 6-4 after a loss at Kansas City and three games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, but Seattle ran the table, including two victories over the Cardinals and two over the San Francisco 49ers, to win the division title.
Two playoff victories, including the miraculous comeback over Green Bay to win the NFC Championship Game in overtime, got the Seahawks to Super Bowl XLIX before losing on an interception at the 1-yard line in the final seconds, a play call that will be questioned for years to come.
MVP: Russell Wilson. Many people will pick Marshawn Lynch, who had what might have been the best all-around season of his career, but this team isn't close to a back-to-back Super Bowl participant without Wilson. Fifteen times in his career he has led the Seahawks to a comeback win in the fourth quarter or overtime (the most in the NFL the past there years). He did it five times this season and was one play away from doing it again in the Super Bowl. On a team with pass-blocking issues at times, and a team without an elite receiver, Wilson has managed to guide the Seahawks to a 30-8 record the past two seasons.
Best moment: The incredible comeback against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. The Seahawks trailed 19-7 with less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but rallied to win it 28-22 in overtime. The comeback including three heart-stopping plays -- an onside kick recovery by Chris Matthews, a two-point conversion pass when Wilson somehow escaped being sacked and threw all the way across the field to tight end Luke Willson at the goal line, and the 35-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse that won it in overtime.
Worst moment: Is there any doubt? What many people always will view as the worst play call in Super Bowl history, the pass play that resulted in an interception when the Seahawks had a second-and-goal at the New England 1 with 26 seconds to play. Lynch in the backfield, three chances to score, but the Seahawks elected to run a risky inside slant into a crowd of defenders. Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler saw it coming, jumped the route and picked off Wilson's throw that was intended for Ricardo Lockette. It's a seemingly senseless call that will be second-guessed for years and constantly replayed as one of the strangest decisions ever in a Super Bowl.
2015 outlook: Despite the heartbreaking end to this season, things continue to look bright for the Seahawks, a young team that has the nucleus in place to be a championship contender for years. They already are the early Super-Bowl favorites for next season, but there are some challenges moving forward. First will be salary-cap issues with big contracts coming up for Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. And who knows what Lynch will want entering the final year of his contract. The Seahawks also have a banged up Legion of Boom with four players who will need to get healthy in the offseason. Richard Sherman may have Tommy John surgery on his elbow and Jeremy Lane will have major surgery to repair a compound fracture in his right arm. Kam Chancellor (knee) and Earl Thomas (shoulder) also may need medical procedures.