Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Honoring Walter Jones vs. Carolina fitting
By Mike Sando
The Seattle Seahawks' decision to unveil Walter Jones' already retired jersey number (71) during their game against Carolina in Week 13 seems fitting.
Jones, whose number was retired when he announced his retirement April 29, turned in one of his more memorable performances against Carolina the last time the Panthers visited Qwest Field.
Check out this video at the 3:01 mark to see what I'm talking about. The sequence shows Jones at his dominant best during the Seahawks' victory over the Panthers in the NFC title game following the 2005 season.
Seattle took the best offensive line in the league -- and in its history -- into the playoffs that season. Center Robbie Tobeck and right guard Chris Gray had started 80 consecutive games together at that point. Jones had started 78 of those games, missing two during a contract dispute. Left guard Steve Hutchinson had started 68 of the 80, missing 12 after suffering a broken leg during his second NFL season. Right tackle Sean Locklear was a newcomer to the line that season; I remember him matching up well against the St. Louis Rams' Leonard Little.
The Seahawks finished that season with 361 first downs. They are on pace for 249 this season. That 2005 line helped Shaun Alexander convert all 16 chances on third-and-1. That season ended a five-year run during which time Alexander averaged 1,501 yards rushing and 17 rushing touchdowns per season.
The team announced Wednesday that it would unveil Jones' No. 71 for display at Qwest Field during the two-minute warning before halftime Sunday.
Earlier: Walter Jones appreciation.