Two weeks ago, the Seahawks shocked the division, the league and even the country when they shamelessly bludgeoned the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field by a score of 58-0. Touchdowns on offense, defense and even special teams contributed to a total massacre of a division rival that nobody saw coming.
Last week, the Seahawks followed it up with a dominant showing on the road in Toronto, when they beat the Buffalo Bills, 50 to 17. They proved that they weren't a one-trick pony, only powerful in their own domain, as many pundits were quick to call out.
The real test, though, was the following week, when the big, bad, division rival San Francisco 49ers were coming to town. Since last weekend, the city of Seattle has felt like the playoffs were coming to town, because the matchup was flexed into primetime. Expectations were set in place, given the 'Hawks recent dominance - but the 49ers looked like they were poised for big things when they managed to defeat the New England Patriots on the road last Sunday night.
Then, they came to Seattle.
The 12th Man, having been loud enough to be considered legitimate psychological warfare all season long, was ready for San Francisco. Ready, waiting, and hungry.
The Seahawks stopped the 49ers on a three-and-out on their opening drive, firing up the 12th Man to be point of being heard from space. When Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks' offense took the field on their opening drive, all it took was a Wilson pass to Sidney Rice and a breakout Lynch run to get six points on the board.
But as I posted on the blog's Facebook page at that moment, "This will be the first of many." The energy was palpable, even from my seat at my family's house in nothern California. (Ill-timed holiday visits, you are the bane of my football-watching existence.)
On the Seahawks' next possession, Lynch hauled in a nine-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to quickly make it 14-0 with 4:52 to play in the first quarter.
That, however, was only the beginning.
Just when the Niners looked like they were going to put points on the board with an easy chip shot field goal, Red Bryant jumped up and blocked the punt, which led to Richard Sherman grabbing the loose ball and taking it 90 yards to the house for the third Seahawks touchdown in the past 15 minutes.
And it just kept going.
Russell Wilson would go on to throw his first four-touchdown game as a pro, finishing the night with 15 of 21 pass completions, and a QB rating of 115.3. Doug Baldwin caught two touchdown passes, with Anthony McCoy and Lynch rounding out the other two. The Seahawks won the matchup, 42-13.
The Seahawks are the hottest team in the NFC right now. They trail only the Broncos for the hottest team in the league. They came out tonight on national television and made a huge statement against a division rival - one they hadn't beaten since Pete Carroll took the reins as head coach two seasons ago. And they got the perfect setting to display such a powerhouse victory.
To quote Rocky Bernard in 2005, moments after the Seahawks finally knocked off the St. Louis Rams in the "Greatest Show on Turf" era: "We finally got that monkey off our back."
After tonight, nothing should scare this team. Nothing should strike fear into their hearts from this point forward. They passed their ultimate regular-season test with flying colors, and did not back down for one single quarter, one single possession, one single play.
Make no mistake about it: the Seahawks are the most dangerous team going into the 2012 playoffs. They control their own destiny from here on out, but given what we've seen in the past three weeks, the only question they should be asking is how many more 40-point games they can put up.