The Seattle Seahawks won for the first time in franchise history on this day 36 YEARS AGO

29 Aug

The Seattle Seahawks, in exciting fashion, upended the San Diego Chargers 17-16 in a NFL preseason game on August, 29, 1976.

The above picture is from The Seattle Times.

The win was the first in franchise history.

The Seattle Times reporter Gil Lyons’ first few game-story graphs:

The Seattle Seahawks are turning the Kingdome into Cardiac Hill, and their fans are loving every heartbeat.

After two near-misses under the concrete roof against San Francisco and Los Angeles, Seattle’s fledgling club broke the victory ice yesterday with a 17-16 squeaker over San Diego which dripped with drama.

If that’s the way it’s going to be, the Seahawks may find it necessary to pass out tranquilizers.

“This is a big lift,” said Jim Zorn, southpaw quarterback who rifled the game-winning pass to Ron Howard in the final 13 seconds.

Coach Jack Patera, dripping with perspiration, said his first reaction to Seattle’s initial victory was, “Thank God.”

The Chargers, leading by six (16-10) late in the fourth quarter, were attempting to punt from their own 31-yard line when things went awry. The snap was high and a Seahawk rusher made it impossible for the Charger punter to get the punt away. He was tackled for a 10-yard loss.

The Seahawks had a 1st-and-10 at the Chargers 21-yard line with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Zorn was called for intentional grounding, sending the ball back to the Charger 36. Three plays later the Seahawks were in business at the Charger 4-yard line. After two plays netted one yard – Zorn found Howard, who made a diving catch five yards back in the end zone with 13 seconds left to knot the score at 16 apiece.

“It was a hell of a catch,” said Chris Fletcher, Charger safety to the local media, who was jockeying with Howard just before the tight end made the grab. “He shoved me just in time to turn around and catch the ball.”

 The drama wasn’t over just yet.

Don Bitterlich, a left-footed kicker, sent the extra point towards the uprights but the ball was tipped and spun wildly out of control but managed to pass through the goal posts.

 Interesting facts from the win:

The only score in the first half was a 30-yard FG by Bitterlich.

San Diego kicker John Delaney missed a 22-yard FG and an extra-point.

Seahawk running back Andy Bolton had 58-yard run from scrimmage.

San Diego tried four running plays from the Seahawk 1-yard line – coming up short each time.

The Seahawks squandered their own 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line when Darwin Robinson’s fumble was recovered by San Diego’s Fred Dean.

Charger QB Dan Fouts completed 14 of 17 passes, including 13 in a row.

Gary Hayman returned a kickoff 96 yards to score Seattle’s first TD of the game.

Mercury Morris’ 39-yard TD run was negated by an illegal crack-back block administered by Charlie Joiner.

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