How 12s May Have Saved Jordyn Brooks, Seahawks From 'Misery' in Season Opener – Sports Illustrated

RENTON, Wash. – Known as one of the loudest fan bases in professional sports, the 12s have been a critical component to the Seahawks home success throughout the franchise's history. Whether forcing opposing quarterbacks to use silent counts or leading to false start penalties in bunches, they have always created a home field advantage few teams can come close to matching.
With Russell Wilson returning to Lumen Field five months after forcing his way out of town and being traded to Denver, the boisterous 12s took their volume to a whole other level in Monday night's opener and boos rained down from the stands, showing the star quarterback what life is like playing on the other sideline. The impact of the crowd couldn't be understated, as the noise led to three false start infractions and two delay of game penalties for the visitors and aided the pass rush working against a silent count, helping fuel a thrilling 17-16 prime time win.
But three days after the victory, thanks to unexpected insight from linebacker Jordyn Brooks, the 12's overall influence on the outcome appears to be even greater than originally thought.
Inside 1:30 left to play in the game, Wilson and the Broncos had first and 10 at midfield and coach Nathaniel Hackett had all three timeouts at his disposal. Though they had been held to one touchdown and three field goals up to that point, the visitors already had north of 400 yards of total offense and had been able to move the ball all night long with relative ease until they reached the red zone.
Speaking with reporters prior to Thursday's practice, Brooks indicated he couldn't hear the play call from defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, which forced him to take play calling duties into his own hands.
"I didn't hear the call," Brooks admitted. "So I just had to call the call and we got what we needed right there."
With their backs against the wall, linebacker Cody Barton promptly snuffed out a first down screen pass from Wilson to running back Javonte Williams, slipping past right guard Graham Glasgow's failed block attempt and stuffing the ball carrier for a four-yard loss. The play proved critical in a chaotic closing minute, as Wilson fired an incompletion on second down and receiver Jerry Jeudy was corralled five yards short of the marker on third and 14.
Rather than go for it on fourth and 5, the Broncos let the clock melt down before burning a timeout and Hackett controversially opted to send in kicker Brandon McManus for a 64-yard field goal rather than keep the ball in Wilson's hands. Though the kick had the distance, it hooked wide left, sending Seahawks players, coaches, and fans into a frenzied state of euphoria.
However, according to Brooks, that sequence of events likely would have transpired far differently if he had been able to hear the full play call from defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt through the deafening crowd noise before the fateful snap where Barton brought down Williams for a tackle for loss.
"I think if we called that blitz, we'd be in misery right now," Brooks snickered. "They had a lot of yards to go, so luckily I didn't hear it and we got another call called. Cody [Barton] made a great play, saved that for us."
In an alternate universe, if Barton is sent as an extra rusher to hunt down Wilson, Williams has a caravan of blockers in front of him on the screen call and 20 yards of green turf in front of him. At best, the play goes for big yardage and Denver chews up clock before kicking a much shorter game-winning field goal as time expires, likely making it anyone could hear a pin drop in the stadium.
The moral of the story? Sometimes, as the old adage goes, it's better to be lucky than good. But as is the case in most football games, several plays unfolding differently could have altered the final score.
Thankfully for Brooks and his teammates, good fortune was on Seattle's side in a pivotal moment and he couldn't hear the original call sending Barton on a blitz. Instead, reading screen pre-snap, he was able to deliver a game-changing play that ultimately helped the Seahawks fend off the Broncos late and hold on for a thrilling, hard-fought win to take sole possession of first place in the NFC West.


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