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Seahawks send Packers packing
GREEN BAY, Wis. – On a night when too many little mistakes were threatening to become a major distraction, the Seahawks used a trio of big plays to come out with a victory anyway.
Playing on national TV and before a Lambeau Field-record crowd of 74,030 Cheesehead fans on Friday night, the Seahawks got a long scoring run by rookie running back Christine Michael, another long touchdown pass to Stephens Williams and a late fumble-forcing hit by safety Winston Guy to pull out a 17-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
The win, which came despite 14 penalties for 182 yards and a two-interception outing by Russell Wilson, allowed the Seahawks to run their preseason record to 3-0 this summer and push their franchise-record preseason victory streak to eight in a row.
But this one didn’t come easy.
“They’re big distractions for us to play like we want to play,” coach Pete Carroll said of the yards his team gave away because of the penalties. “It bothers you. You don’t want to give your opponents anything and we gave them 182 yards tonight. So it makes it very difficult to get a win.”
Instead of self-destructing, the Seahawks once again found a way to win even though they did not play their best football.
After battling the Packers to a 3-3 tie at halftime, the Seahawks took a 10-3 lead in the third quarter as Michael broke a 43-yard scoring run.
“The offensive line, they were doing an amazing job,” Michael said. “I’m starting to trust those guys a lot more and be even more patient in the run game. Those guys were amazing.”
Second-year wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, displaying savvy beyond his limited NFL experience, used the large replay screen at Lambeau to help him make the final block that allowed Michael to get up the sideline and into the end zone.
“I saw him coming out in my direction,” Kearse said. “So I just tried to give a good little block out there.”
Added Michael, who finished with 97 rushing yards, “That definitely was a great block. I told him that. Definitely.”
The Packers tied the score again at 10, but that changed when No. 10 – quarterback Brady Quinn – went to Williams for yet another big play. Just as it appeared the Packers were going to intercept Quinn’s pass at the goal line, the ball disappeared from the Packers cornerback. That’s because the 6-foot-5 Williams reached over him to pluck the pass for this third TD this preseason.
“Just trying to make a play,” Williams said. “I was thinking I should jump for it. But with the angle of the ball, I just decided to reach for it.”
Williams now has three TD catches in three games – a 42-yarder from Tarvaris Jackson in the preseason-opening 31-10 victory over the Chargers in San Diego; a 38-yarder from Jackson in last week’s 40-10 win over the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field; and the 42-yarder from Quinn that proved to be the game winner against the Packers.
“It’s something I strive for everyday when I get on the field – just dominate the deep balls,” Williams said.
But the Packers weren’t done. They drove to the Seahawks’ 16-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, only to have Guy separate Jake Stoneburner from a pass at the 13. Rookie defensive end Benson Mayowa recovered the fumble, and the Seahawks had yet another preseason victory.
“That was a huge momentum change,” said Guy, who knows he has to make the most of any opportunity that comes his way because he’s the backup to Jeron Johnson, who’s the backup to Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor. “That was a big play for the defense.
“Coach Carroll and our defensive coordinator (Dan Quinn) always preach about getting the ball out. So I just took my chance to make the hit.”
Pretty? It wasn’t. Precise? No, not that either. But it was a win against a good opponent at one the toughest places to play in the NFL. And it sets the stage for the Seahawks’ second consecutive unbeaten preseason if they can get past the Oakland Raiders in their finale on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.
“I’m more impressed with the victory,” Michael said when asked if he preferred the TD run or his 25-yard run after one-handed a pass from Quinn on the drive to Williams’ TD catch. “We’re 3-0 in preseason now and we’re going to try and keep that going.”