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Seahawks do just enough to down Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. – After scoring more than enough, and then some, in winning their first two preseason games, the Seahawks scored just enough at Lambeau Field on Friday.
Stephen Williams’ 42-yard catch of a pass from Brady Quinn in the fourth quarter provided the winning touchdown in a 17-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Rookie running back Christine Michael added a 43-yard touchdown run in the third period, and Steven Hauschka’s 27-yard field goal gave the Seahawks their only points in the first half.
The victory extended the Seahawks’ franchise record for consecutive preseason victories to eight, and the nationally televised game was played before a Lambeau Field-record crowd of 74,030. It was a record because 7,000 seats were added to venerable venue during the offseason.
The Seahawks will close out their 38th preseason on Thursday night when they host the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks played without three offensive starters – wide receiver Sidney Rice, tight end Zach Miller and fullback Michael Robinson. Doug Baldwin started at flanker for Rice. Rookie Luke Willson continued to start for Miller, who has yet to play in the preseason. Derrick Coleman got the first-team snaps at fullback for Robinson.
Russell Wilson completed 11 of 17 passes, but was intercepted twice, in his longest – and least effective – stint of the preseason.
The first half ended in a 3-3 tie, but there was a lot more action than that score would indicate. And it wasn’t all good.
The Seahawks took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards in 12 plays to a 27-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Wilson was 5 of 5 for 67 yards to five different receivers, including hitting a 17-yarder to Luke Willson on third-and-9 and a 27-yarder to Doug Baldwin on third-and-8. Wilson also ran for 13 yards on the first play on the drive. But he was sacked by Clay Matthews, who beat Robert Turbin, for a 12-yard loss that forced the Seahawks to settle for the field goal.
The Packers came right back and drove 52 yards in 11 plays to a 38-yard field by Mason Crosby to tie the score with 3:07 left in the quarter. The big play was Aaron Rodgers’ 22-yard pass to Jermichael Finley to the Seattle 24-yard line.
Second-year right guard J.R. Sweezy, who was named the starter during the week, was penalized twice for holding and also for a personal foul in the first half.
Each team began the second quarter with a three-and-out, as the Packers’ Graham Harrell took over at QB for Aaron Rodgers.
The teams then traded turnovers, with All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas forcing a fumble that was recovered by nickel back Walter Thurmond for the Seahawks and cornerback Casey Hayward intercepting a Wilson pass that was tipped by Nick Perry.
Jarrett Boykin appeared to catch a pass for a first down on the play where Thomas forced the fumble, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll challenged the call and the review showed that Thomas had knocked the ball from his grasp. It was the kind of play you expect from an All-Pro free safety, in a half when Thomas played like one.
The Packers appeared to take the lead with 2:12 left when Harrell passed 4 yards to Jermichael Finley on fourth-and-2. But the play was reviewed and the replay showed the ball went through Finley’s hands, so the Seahawks took over at their own 5.
The chippy first half, the Seahawks’ lowest scoring of the preseason, included three turnovers – Wilson’s two interceptions and Thomas’ fumble-forcing play.
The game remained tied, at 10, after three quarters. The Seahawks took the lead in emphatic fashion as rookie running back Christine Michael broke a 43-yard run for his first NFL touchdown with 9:38 left in the quarter. Stephen Williams had a nice run after catching a pass from Russell Wilson to pick up just enough yards on a third-and-16 play during the five-play, 45-yard drive.
The Packers tied it on a 1-yard TD pass from Vince Young to Jonathan Amosa with 3:41 left. The 11-play, 80-yard drive came against the Seahawks’ No. 2 defense.
Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks’ middle linebacker, started the quarter with a mixed bag of big plays. After being penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct on the second play of the half, Wagner teamed with Red Bryant for a 2-yard loss; stopped Eddie Lacy for a 6-yard loss; and, on third-and-18, teamed with Walter Thurmond for the stop after a 2-yard gain.
The Seahawks regained the lead for good on Williams’ third touchdown catch of the preseason. This one was a 42-yarder with 8:51 left, as he took Quinn’s pass away from Packers cornerback Lance Means at the goal line. Michael one-handed a pass from Quinn and turned it into a 25-yard gain to the Packers’ 42-yard line on the five-play, 81-yard drive.
The Packers were driving to a tying TD. But Winston Guy’s big hit after a second-down pass from the Seahawks’ 16-yard line forced a fumble that Benson Mayowa recovered.
Williams, meanwhile, has three TD catches in as many games from two different QBs. Plays that covered 42 yards (from Tarvaris Jackson in the opener), 38 yards (from Jackson last week) and 42 yards (from Quinn). Read