The deafening din at Lumen Field in Seattle is nothing new, but on Sunday, the home crowd played a massive role in discombobulating the Carolina Panthers offense in the Seahawks' 37-27 victory.
The Panthers were called for a whopping eight false start penalties on Sunday, most of which were a direct result of the crowd noise.
"Yeah, I think the (12s), they got us a win today" quarterback Geno Smith said after the game. "You can tell just from watching them out there. The offense, they can't hear a thing. I think they had eight or 10 pre-snap penalties, and you can put that right on our crowd.
"I think we have the best fans in the world. Just tremendous the way they showed up for us today and always. They're always here for us. We want to continue to give them things to get rowdy about, because it makes it hard on the opposing offense. (The 12s were) real today, and I'm just happy to be a part of it."
It's not often we highlight crowd noise. Fans are loud. It's what they do best. Home stadiums across the league offer boisterous settings. But Sunday's performance was noteworthy.
Not only did the crowd play a factor, but the timing of many of the Panthers' pre-snap penalties played a significant role in the outcome. For instance, midway through the fourth quarter, Carolina, threatening to cut into Seattle's lead, faced a third-and-4 from the Seahawks 39. The Panthers couldn't get a snap off, committing back-to-back false starts, leading to a third-and-14 they couldn't convert.
The Panthers' eight false start penalties were the most in a single NFL game since the Bears had nine in Week 5, 2011 at Detroit. It marked the second-most false start penalties at Lumen Field since the stadium was opened in 2002 (most: 11 by the New York Giants in Week 12, 2005)
"One of the most obvious things that happened today was feeling the 12s," Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. "God, what a great impact they had on this game. These guys had eight false starts in this game, and that's not us. We had nothing to do with that. They can't get coordinated because of the noise. What a great factor. It felt like what it feels like to be here at Lumen. That was a thrill. Thrill for our young guys who hadn't heard it like that, hadn't felt it like that, and they understand why we talk so much about them, why it's such a factor and all that. Anyway, we got to give a lot of credit to our fans being part of this game, just like they've been in the past. That was really obvious today."
Conversely, Panthers head coach Frank Reich called the penalty spree "totally inexcusable" and "pathetic."
"The number of penalties that we had on offense was pathetic," he said. "That starts with me as an offensive coach. That starts with our offensive coaches getting our players ready, and that starts with our players. That's unacceptable. I mean, it's like we never played in the noise before. We knew it was coming."
They knew the noise was coming but still succumbed. That's when you know it was loud at Lumen Field.