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Seahawks climb to 5-1 with 20-13 win over Titans
On a day when the offense wasn’t on its game, and the special teams almost gave away the game, the Seahawks’ defense came to play.
Sparked by interceptions from the All-Pro tandem of cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas, and a whole lot of Marshawn Lynch as a runner and a receiver, the Seahawks were able to pull out a 20-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 68,127 at CenturyLink Field.
It also was the Seahawks’ 11th consecutive victory at home during the regular season – all with Russell Wilson at quarterback.
After the teams exchanged punts to open the game, the Titans drove 72 yards in nine plays to a 38-yard field goal by Rob Bironas. The big plays on the drive were Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass from the end zone for a 32-yard completion to Kendall Wright and a 5-yard scramble by Fitzpatrick that became a 20-yard gain to the Seahawks’ 30-yard line as Richard Sherman was penalized for knocking the Titans QB out of bounds. Fitzpatrick was 4 of 5 for 55 yards.
A holding penalty on left guard James Carpenter nullified two of the Seahawks’ biggest play of the opening quarter. Free safety Earl Thomas got the Seahawks the ball at the Titans’ 42 with an interception, and Russell Wilson got them to the Titans’ 24 on a third-down scramble. Instead, the Seahawks had a third-and-15 at the 47 because of the holding penalty.
It was the Seahawks’ third scoreless first quarter of the season, but the first since Week 2 against the 49ers.
The Titans then had a first down at the Seahawks’ 41 late in the half, but Walter Thurmond broke up a second-down pass and Michael Bennett got an 8-yard sack on third down to force a punt that never happened because Brett Kerns fumbled the snap and was tackled at the Titans’ 38 by Chris Maragos.
But the Titans scored on the final play of the half as Jason McCourty returned a botched field-goal attempt 77 yards for a TD. Maragos was the holder, because would-be holder Jon Ryan was the kicker, because Steven Hauschka was in the locker room with a possible concussion. Maragos fumbled the snap, recovered and then fumbled again as he was attempting to pass the ball. McCourty picked up the loose ball and returned it up the left sideline to give the Titans a 10-7 halftime lead.
The Seahawks tied the game on a 31-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka with 4:27 left in the quarter – and with Jon Ryan as the holder. The three-pointer capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive in which Russell Wilson scrambled for 23 yards and also hit his first five passes for 31 yards and was 6 of 7 overall for 40 yards.
The Seahawks took the lead – again – on a 29-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka to cap a seven-play, 69-yard drive with 11:23 left. The Seahawks came out humming, as Lynch went for 55 yards on a pass from Russell Wilson, Robert Turbin ran for 13 yards and Lynch for 10. But the drive then bogged down and the Seahawks had to settle for three points, despite having a first-and-goal from the 2.
The Seahawks got the ball back on a Richard Sherman interception and they extended their lead to 20-10 with 7:33 to play as Lynch scored on a 3-yard run to cap a seven-play, 59-yard drive. Wilson was 3 of 3 for 45 yards, while Lynch caught a 10-yard pass on third-and-4 and got the score.
With the game on the line, Lynch did it as a receiver and he did it as a runner. Most importantly, he did it when the Seahawks had to have it. Lynch caught two passes for 65 yards and ran four times for 19 yards on the first two scoring drives.
On Sherman’s interception, his third of the season, the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback locked onto Fitzpatrick’s pass as soon as he turned his head. The pick came on the first play after the Seahawks kicked their go-ahead field goal and got the Seahawks started on the drive to what proved to Lynch’s game-winning TD.