The Seattle Seahawks joined the National Football League in 1976. Today, the team has earned a reputation for exciting play, tough defense, and one of the loudest home fields in football. As an expansion team though, they were like other expansion teams, a team with a lot of struggles.
That expansion year saw Seattle post a final record of 2-12. This was improved upon in the team’s second season in 1977 when they would go 5-9 on the year. It was in Seattle’s third season though that they would finally have their first winning season. 1978 was also the first season the NFL would play 16 regular season games.
Game 1: Seattle 20 – San Diego 24
The 1978 season started out rough for Seattle with a home loss to the San Diego Chargers by the score of 24-20. It did feature a 64 yard touchdown pass from Jim Zorn to longtime Seahawks running back Sherman Smith. This was the longest touchdown by reception or run in Smith’s career. It was one of eight career TD passes thrown by Zorn of over 60 yards in length.
Game 2: Seattle 10 – Pittsburgh 21
In Week 2 of the 1978 season, the Steelers would beat the Seahawks on their way to winning the Super Bowl at the end of the year. The one Seahawks touchdown scored in this game came on a one yard run by David Hughes. Quarterback Zorn was intercepted by future Hall of Fame member Jack Lambert too.
Game 3: Seattle 24 – New York Jets 17
The Seahawks got their first win of the season in the third week when they shut down the Jets 24-17. Running back David Sims scored all three Seattle touchdowns in this game, scoring them all on runs of 3 yards or less. Finishing with 121 rushing yards, this was also Sims’ best game as a pro.
Game 4: Seattle 28 – Detroit 16
Seattle evened their record out and got a back-to-back win when they beat the Lions 28-16. This game saw the Seahawks down 16-7 at the end of the third quarter but score three consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Those three late game touchdowns all came on passes by Jim Zorn, first to Steve Largent, then to Ron Howard, and finally to Sam McCullum.
Game 5: Seattle 7 – Denver 28
The Denver Broncos relied on quarterbacks Norris Weese and Craig Penrose to lead them to a 28-7 win over the Seahawks. Seattle was scoreless in the first half and Denver scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Each team finished the game having intercepted the opposing quarterbacks three times.
Game 6: Seattle 29 – Minnesota 28
It took another comeback effort for Seattle to once again even their record up when they beat the Vikings 29-28. At the end of the third quarter, Minnesota was in the lead 28-19. Quarterback Zorn ran a fourth quarter touchdown in from 22 yards out, his second rushing touchdown of the day, and then kicker Efren Herrera helped the team take the lead with a 19 yard field goal.
Game 7: Seattle 28 – Green Bay 45
Seattle went on the road to Green Bay where the Packers were waiting and sporting a season record of 5-1. Green Bay jumped all over Seattle when they scored 28 points in the opening quarter. Seattle tried to fight back but it was too much. Three different players scored rushing TDs for Seattle that day: Jim Zorn, Sherman Smith, and David Sims. Packers running back Terdell Middleton finished the game with 23 carries for 121 yards and four touchdowns.
Game 8: Seattle 27 – Oakland 7
The Seahawks returned home and took care of the Raiders in a 27-7 victory. They jumped all over Oakland and had a 21-0 lead at halftime. The Seattle defense intercepted future Hall of Famer Kenny Stabler four times that day.
Game 9: Seattle 17 – Denver 20
The Broncos came into seattle and beat Seattle for the second time in 1978, this time by the score of 20-17. The Seahawks played them tough though, going to overtime where it was won for Denver on an 18 yard Jim Turner field goal.
Game 10: Seattle 31 – Chicago 29
Seattle traveled to Soldier Field for the 10th game of the season and took care of business by jumping out to a 28-16 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Bears tried to come back but came up short and the final score was 31-29 in favor of the Seahawks. Future Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton carried the ball 18 times for 109 yards and a touchdown that day.
Game 11: Seattle 14 – Baltimore 17
Seattle came back home only to suffer a loss to the Baltimore Colts 17-14 in the 11th game of the year. There were heavy fumbles in this game with the Colts coughing up the ball five times and losing it once. The Seahawks fumbled just twice but lost both.
Game 12: Seattle 13 – Kansas City 10
Seattle traveled to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City next and came away with a 13-10 victory. Kansas City outgained Seattle in total yards 355-257 that day but they also fumbled the ball seven times, losing it on four of those occasions.
Game 13: Seattle 17 – Oakland 16
Oakland was in the lead 10-7 at th estart of the fourth quarter when Steve Largent scored on a 27 yard play, putting Seattle up 14-10. The Raiders answered back with a Hall of Fame receiver of their own scoring when tight end Dave Casper came through from 31 yards out. Raiders kicker Errol Mann then missed the extra point. This proved costly as a late Seahawks field goal put the game away 17-16.
Game 14: Seattle 47 – Cleveland 24
The Seahawks exploded in the 14th game of the 1978 season when they beat the Browns 47-24. Seattle scored 14 points in the first quarter, nine in the second, seven in the third, and 17 in the fourth. In the second quarter of the game, Steve Raible of the Seahawks tackled Browns punter Johnny Evans out of the end zone for a safety. The final score of the game was a touchdown by safety Keith Simpson who returned an interception 40 yards for the score. Seahawks kicker Efren Herrera was 1 for 1 on field goals and 6 for 6 on extra points.
Game 15: Seattle 10 – San Diego 37
San Diego beat Seattle for the second time of the year when they welcomed the visitors to Southern California and outscored them 37-10. At the beginning of the second quarter, Seattle pulled to a 10-3 lead. It was all Chargers after that as they went on to score 34 straight uninterrupted points.
Game 16: Seattle 23 – Kansas City 19
Seattle secured their first winning season in the 16th game of the year at home when they beat the Chiefs for the second time that year, this time by the score of 23-19. The final score of the game was a safety against the Seahawks when Seattle punter Herman Weaver was run out of the end zone. Chiefs quarterback Mike Livingston finished the game having completed just 5 of his 19 pass attempts for a total of 66 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.