When the Seattle Seahawks play the Green Bay Packers, strange things happen.
It’s almost become a fact of life.
“There’s obviously been some great games,” Seattle QB Russell Wilson said this week. “There’s been some great moments. Definitely tough battles, just games that come down to the wire.”
Coach Pete Carroll agreed.
“I mean, it happens to be the Packers and the Seahawks, so it’s a big deal,” he said. “We’ve had some great matchups in the past, so we’ve got to play good football.”
The two teams will be at it again Thursday night at CenturyLink Field in a game that kicks at 5:20 p.m. and will be broadcast on Q13 Fox, with the Gameday pregame show beginning at 3:30 p.m.
If history is any indication, expect to see something memorable.
Here’s a recap of some of the most notable matchups:
Holmgren’s Return, Nov. 1, 1999 at Lambeau Field
The Packers and Seahawks didn’t have much of a history until 1999, when Seattle lured legendary coach Mike Holmgren away from Green Bay.
That move instantly made their game later that season one to watch, and the NFL took notice, making it the Seahawks’ first appearance on Monday Night Football since 1992.
Both teams entered at 4-2, although the Packers had been to the playoffs six straight seasons and the Seahawks were hoping to snap an 11-year drought.
Seattle got a big play early, when Shawn Springs picked up a blocked field goal and ran it 61 yards for a touchdown.
Brett Favre responded with a 74-yard touchdown strike to tie it.
After that, though, it was all Seahawks.
Favre threw four interceptions, two to Springs, and was eventually replaced by backup Matt Hasselbeck once the rout was on.
Seattle claimed a 27-7 win and made the playoffs. Green Bay finished 8-8 and stayed home.
Not Nostradamus, Jan. 4, 2004 at Lambeau Field
While it’s hard to remember Hasselbeck even appeared in the ’99 game, it’s impossible to forget his contribution to the teams’ first playoff showdown.
Hasselbeck led a furious Seattle attack, throwing for 305 yards as he marched the Seahawks up and down the field against his former team.
Seattle outscored Green Bay 21-14 in the second-half, with running back Shaun Alexander diving for his third touchdown of the game with 51 seconds left on the clock.
That tied it at 27, and the game went to overtime.
Hasselbeck was all smiles as the team captains met at midfield for the coin toss.
When Seattle won, he proclaimed, “We want the ball and we’re going to score.”
The prognostication was not only heard on the stadium’s PA system, but on television as well.
After the teams traded punts, Hasselbeck’s pass near midfield found the hands of Packers cornerback Al Harris, who returned it 52 yards for the game.
Snowy Night in Seattle, Nov. 27, 2006 at Qwest Field
The second Monday Night matchup between these teams came a few years later in Seattle.
Favre had built a career on winning big games in cold weather, so the fact it was 34 degrees at kickoff and snow was in the forecast seemed to favor the Packers.
But the Seahawks were the defending NFC Champions, and although reigning league MVP Shaun Alexander had missed the previous six games because of a broken foot, he was set to make his return.
It was perfect timing for Seattle.
While Favre fell apart, throwing three interceptions, Alexander romped. Hasselbeck handed the ball 40 times to No. 37, who weaved in and around Packers defenders for 201 yards.
The Seahawks ran away with it in the second half, clinching a 34-24 win en route to another division title.
The Fail Mary, Sept. 24, 2012 at CenturyLink Field
No game brought more craziness than the most recent Monday night showdown.
Wilson was starting the third game of his career. Carroll’s goal was to ride the team’s suffocating defense, run the football and hope the rookie QB could make enough plays down the stretch.
All of it came true on this night, perhaps with a little help from the referees.
The Seahawks harassed Aaron Rodgers, sacking the league’s reigning MVP eight times and holding him to zero touchdown passes.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 98 yards, and Seattle entered the fourth quarter clinging to a 7-6 lead.
But Rodgers finally led the Packers into the end zone with just over 8 minutes left. Green Bay went for two to try to get up by seven but the attempt failed.
Wilson led Seattle all the way to the Packers 7-yard line on the next possession. But his pass intended for Golden Tate fell incomplete on fourth-and-3 with 2 min. left.
The Seahawks defense stood tall again, though, forcing a three-and-out and getting the the ball back near midfield with 46 seconds left.
Wilson found Sidney Rice for 22 yards down to the Packers 24-yard-line. Then threw three straight incompletions.
Finally, on fourth-and-10, Wilson tossed the ball into the end zone targeting Tate again as time expired.
Tate shoved a Packers defender and leaped into the air. M.D. Jennings jumped above Tate’s back and seemed to get his hands on the ball first. Both players struggled for possession as they fell to the turf.
Two referees stood over the play, they were replacement refs as the league and its regular officials were in a contract dispute. One appeared to signal a touch back. The other a touchdown.
After a brief discussion and review, touchdown was the call and Seattle won the game.
The NFL agreed to a new contract with its officials the next day.
Championship Redemption, Jan. 18, 2015 at CenturyLink Field
The Seahawks’ bid for a return to the Super Bowl the year after winning the franchise’s first title seemed doomed for nearly three quarters.
Green Bay took a 16-0 lead to the half, and it wasn’t until the Seahawks connected on a fake field goal with just over 4 minutes left in the third that they got on the board.
The Packers added a field goal and held on to a 19-7 lead into the final minutes.
Wilson had thrown four interceptions. But suddenly something clicked.
After getting the ball back with 3:52 left, he led Seattle on not one — but two — touchdown drives sandwiched around a successful onside kick.
The second score came with 1:25 on the clock, which was enough time for Rodgers and the Packers to put together a drive long enough to set up a tying field goal with 14 seconds to go.
The game went to overtime and the Seahawks won the toss. Six plays into the drive, Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for the decisive 35-yard score.
“You have the belief these guys have in one another, there is nothing you can’t do,” Carroll said afterward.
Seattle almost recreated the magic in the Super Bowl against Tom Brady and the Patriots two weeks later, but that’s another story.