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Seahawks reach 4-0 for first time ever with 23-20 victory over Texans
HOUSTON – Don’t try making sense of what transpired at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, because it made no sense.
From the way the Texans stormed to a 20-3 halftime lead; to the way the Seahawks rallied for 14 points in the fourth quarter to tie the score – on a 14-play, 98-yard drive that ended with All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch’s 3-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard interception return for a score by All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman; to a 45-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left in overtime.
All of it defied explanation – to everyone, that is, who wasn’t on the field or Seahawks’ sideline while it was happening or in the locker afterward.
It was only the fourth game of Pete Carroll’s fourth season as coach, but this one just might go down as a defining moment in the development of a good team into a resilient, opportunistic team that can find a way to win against all odds and against any opponent.
“After the first half, I think we showed who we really are,” said All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas, who also had an interception and seven tackles. “Guys were kind of getting frustrated, but we’ve got leaders on this team and we got everybody back together and we finished the job.”
The victory kept the NFC West-leading Seahawks unbeaten, and lifted them to the franchise’s first 4-0 start. It also extended a few other streaks. The Seahawks have won nine consecutive regular-season games and 12 of their past 14 overall – including those playoff games. They also have won four consecutive road games for the first time since a five-game streak during their run to the Super Bowl in 2005 – and only the fourth time in franchise history.
Historic stuff. Near-hysterical stuff.
Russell Wilson, who’s so pliable when it comes to being resilient that he could qualify as a contortionist, had a statistically ugly outing: a 49.7 passer rating, as he completed only 12 of 23 passes for only 123 yards and also threw an interception. But on the fourth-quarter drive that got the Seahawks back into the game, he ran for 52 yards and passed for 50. All that came after getting some timely advice from Lynch, who finished with 98 rushing yards and added another 45 on three receptions.
“Marshawn and I were talking and he said, ‘Hey, Russ, just take over,’ ” Wilson said. “I just decided I was going to step up and I’m going to slide a little more. If it’s not there just take off and see what happens.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win the world, but it sure looks pretty now.”
A defense that was yielding yards by the chunk in the first half, duped the Texans – and especially quarterback Matt Schaub – on the play where Sherman made his game-tying pick-six by showing Cover 3, only to have strong safety Kam Chancellor blitz and Sherman cover the tight end.
Oh, and it was the second time in three days that Sherman made that exact play, because the ploy also worked against the Seahawks’ scout team in practice on Friday.
“We knew it was coming,” said Sherman, who also lost a shoe on the play. “Kam brings the pressure. I disguise. Earl disguises. And then you come make the play. Not everybody can make that play, because it’s a risk. It’s a high-risk, high-reward kind of play where you’ve got to jump it. You might get beat, but if you make the play you get a pick-six and change the game for your team.
“I think that was the turning point in the game. I think that was the turning point when we evened it out.”
And don’t forget that the Seahawks played this one without three injured starting lineman – with Paul McQuistan at left tackle for Pro Bowler Russell Okung; Lemuel Jeanpierre at center for All-Pro Max Unger and rookie Michael Bowie at right tackle for Breno Giacomini. And don’t forget that the defense had to stand and watch as defensive lineman Michael Bennett – the “spark-plug for us,” as Sherman called him – was taken off the field on a stretcher and to the hospital with a lower back injury. Fortunately, Bennett returned to the stadium before the game was over.
As several players said after this game that defies explanation, they did all that they did for the love of their teammates.
“I think what won this game is a sense of family,” said Golden Tate, who had a 31-yard punt return – from the goal line – to get the Seahawks headed in the right direction to Hauschka’s game-winner. “We love each other. We love each other, man.”