After a sluggish first half the Seattle Seahawks erupted for 21 points during a nine minute span in the third quarter Sunday to finish off the lowly Carolina Panthers 31-14. Whatever half-time magic elixir Coach Pete Carroll administered to his team worked and worked well. It needed to as the Seahawks looked like they had hit empty during the first half by allowing the 1-11 Panthers to push them around in their own house.

The win propelled the Seahawks back to 6-6 and tied again for first place in the NFC West with St. Louis. The first thirty minutes resembled the past month as Jonathan Stewart ran over, through and around the Hawks beleaguered defense and the Seahawks offense looked lost. Even when the offense found some rhythm late in the half and marched the ball down to the six inch line cheers turned to groans and boos as they couldn’t punch it in and settled for a field goal to bring the half time score 14-3.

In this one game the Seahawks displayed both their Jekyll and their Hyde sides that have plagued them all year. After a first half when you had to start wondering how bad they really are they come out to start the second half and drive the ball 96 yards for a touchdown. That was followed up seconds later by a Lofa Tatupu interception return for a touchdown, and in the blink of an eye the Hawks had the lead and never looked back.

This Seahawks team is quite remarkable in many ways as many never expected them to win more than three or four games. The fact that after twelve weeks they may actually make the playoffs should put Pete Carrol into Coach of the Year contention. If any coach has squeezed more out of less this year it would be a surprise.

Most teams that have started eight different offensive line combinations in twelve games, have seen three quarters of their starting defensive line miss time, have seen their top wide receivers in and out of the line up and are relying on an aging quarterback with one good hand are fighting it out for the worst record in the league. But not the 2010 Seahawks. Bad division or not, the fact that they are tied for first this late is a small miracle. They also have a couple of quality wins, San Diego and Chicago, under their belts to boot.

Now granted yesterday’s win was against the worst team in the league so it’s probably too early to plan for a parade through downtown Seattle, but this all would seem to point to great things in the team’s future. Some fans will try to tell you that squeaking into the playoffs only to lose is a bad thing, that the Hawks should be playing for next year and winning this year should be secondary. While that may make sense on paper it is completely naïve, as fans of the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and the 1990’s Seahawks can tell you. Missing the playoffs becomes an epidemic and a culture of losing takes over. If nothing else Pete Carroll is wiping out the losing of the past two seasons and instilling a win first mentality.

There are still many holes and concerns with this team, but none of that is going to change in the next four weeks. Save the ‘what should we do with Matt Hasselbeck’ questions for the off season. For now, hold on and enjoy the up and down ride and see if the Hawks can once again become the NFC West Champions.

Heroes from yesterday:

Marshawn Lynch. For the first time this year he didn’t have to shed four tacklers on every play. Seahawks fans got a glimpse of what the Beast can bring with his 87 yard 3 touchdown performance.

David Hawthorne. The Heater, as he is known, led the team with 14 tackles yesterday and quietly has been having a good year. Hawthorne is not as heralded as his fellow linebackers but in many ways has outplayed both Tatupu and Aaron Curry. Hawthorne signed a contract extension this week and followed it up with a stellar game.

Sports Seahawks Soar Past Lowly Panthers 31-14