SEATTLE—Pulled over his dapper shirt-and-tie combo, Leon Washington proudly wore a blue NFC West" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/nfc-west-ORSPT000000258.topic">NFC West division champion T-shirt and hat.
Pete Carroll" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/pete-carroll-PESPT00008934.topic">Pete Carroll thought it was "pretty cool" to be going to the playoffs with a losing record.
But they're not going to be embarrassed for setting some dubious NFL" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/nfl-ORSPT000007.topic">NFL history on their way to the playoffs.
"There is no apologies for making it into the playoffs. The easiest way to make it to the playoffs is to win your division, period, point-blank," Seattle safety Lawyer Milloy" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/lawyer-milloy-PESPT005067.topic">Lawyer Milloy said. "We did that."
The Seahawks became the first-sub. 500 division champs on Sunday night with a 16-6 win over the St. Louis Rams" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/st.-louis-rams-ORSPT000059.topic">St. Louis Rams to wrap up their first division title since 2007. They secured a home playoff date with defending Super Bowl" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/super-bowl-EVSPR000004.topic">Super Bowl champion New Orleans on Saturday.
Seattle finished a laughable 7-9 and tied with St. Louis, but won the title thanks to a better division record than St. Louis, 4-2 vs. 3-3.
"I guess we won for all the teams that have a losing record and think they can't be champions. It can get done, you can do it," Carroll said. "Somehow it happened."
Critics have gladly taken shots about the National Football Conference" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/national-football-conference-EVSPR00003532.topic">NFC Worst, er, West this season and reignited the debate whether division champs should automatically be granted home playoff games. The New York Giants" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/new-york-giants-ORSPT000197.topic">New York Giants and Tampa Bay have better records within the NFC at 10-6 and both clubbed Seattle earlier this season.
But it's the Seahawks who are playoff-bound.
"It just shows that no matter what happens through an awkward year if a team sticks together they can have a shot at the end to accomplish what they talked about in the beginning," Milloy said. "We know it wasn't pretty getting here, but what we talked about was right there at the end and we took advantage of it. No body can take that away from us."
Making his second career start, backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw a 4-yard TD pass to Mike Williams" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/mike-williams-PESPT007959.topic">Mike Williams on Seattle's first possession and kicker Olindo Mare" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/olindo-mare-PESPT004631.topic">Olindo Mare connected on three second-half field goals.
That was more than enough thanks to a maligned defense that finally found some swagger just in time to rattle St. Louis' rookie quarterback Sam Bradford" href="http://www.q13fox.com/topic/sports/football/sam-bradford-PESPT00008883.topic">Sam Bradford and end the Rams' feel-good turnaround from a year ago. At this time last year, St. Louis was preparing to draft Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick after winning just one game.
Sunday night, they were despondent after seeing their chance at a division title and becoming the third 8-8 division champ in league history slide away.
"I don't even know if I can tell you right now," Bradford said of his frustration. "The fact our defense played, in my opinion, pretty great, the fact that we let the team down, that we couldn't get anything going, that's what really hurts."
St. Louis (7-9) was kept out of the end zone for the second time this season and Bradford finished 19 of 36 for 155 yards, with a costly interception midway through the fourth quarter.
Seattle's defense that allowed at least 34 points in four of its last five games, suddenly showed a backbone, making St. Louis' conservative offensive approach seem even slower. The Rams managed just 63 yards in the second half and, with the exception of a fumble recovered at the Seattle 21, didn't even cross midfield until midway through the fourth quarter.
And even when the Rams caught a break on Marshawn Lynch's third-quarter fumble, they could only get three points out of it on Josh Brown's 27-yard field goal.
"For the most part we just were out of sync ..." Rams running back Steven Jackson said. "But I don't think they completely shut down the office."