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Seahawks go on the road and find several ways to win
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Pete Carroll challenged Brandon Browner by pulling the Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback in the second quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans.
The Seahawks coach did it again as his team was preparing for Thursday night’s nationally televised game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Once the game started, Browner answered the challenge, as well as any questions anyone had about his play and pride, as his first-quarter tip and third-quarter interception set up two touchdowns in a 34-22 victory that lifted the Seahawks to the first 6-1 start in franchise history.
“Brandon played a terrific game,” Carroll said after the game. “He was all over the football. He challenged everything. I challenged him a little bit last week and he came right back and had a great week.
“It was great night for him. That shows the kind of competitor that he is and how much we count on him and why we went right back to him in the second half last week. I’m really proud of him.”
Offered Browner, “It was big. As a competitor, you never want to be pulled off the field because of the way you’re playing. I thought about that all week. I knew I had to bounce back and play the way I’m capable of playing. Pete sat down with me during the week and told me why he pulled me. He said, ‘I don’t think you understand our defense. What we’re trying to do.’
On a night when so many players stepped up to answer the challenge for the NFC West-leading Seahawks as they won for only the second time in eight games at University of Phoenix Stadium, no one bounced back higher than Browner.
Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns passes – to wide receiver Sidney Rice and tight ends Zach Miller and Kellen Davis – while completing 18 of 29 passes to nine receivers for 235 yards for a passer rating of 122.1. Marshawn Lynch added to the Seahawks’ 344-yard effort by carrying 21 times for 91 yards and a TD against a Cardinals’ defense that entered the game ranked No. 5 in the league in rushing defense.
“I thought Russell played great. He did a lot of cool stuff for us,” Carroll said. “We’d be a different team without him. I don’t even know how you’d measure it. It’s just such a natural part of our game and he has become such a special aspect of our team, I don’t know what it would be like to be without him.”
Of Lynch’s efforts, Carroll said, “There must have been five or six runs tonight where he just kept going and churning and finishing. He just fires everybody up. He’s a tremendously inspirational player on our football team.”
The defense delivered seven sacks, from eight different players; All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas had the lunging interception off the pass Browner tipped in the first quarter; and the Seahawks held the Cardinals to 30 rushing yards on 18 carries.
“The pass rush was crazy tonight,” Thomas said. “You can’t ask for anything better than that. Those guys have done a great job all season in the run game and also rushing the passer.”
It was a complete victory, despite a hiccup here, a foible there and a couple of lost fumbles by Wilson on sacks.
“This was a really cool night for our football team. We wanted to get on the road here and get this thing done and continue to feel good about our ability to win on the road,” Carroll said. “It was a game that got tight, then we pulled away and kind of put it on control.
Now 6-1 for the first time in their 38-year history, the players will get a mini-break before returning to prepare for their Oct. 28 game against the Rams in St. Louis on “Monday Night Football.”
“We’re right there,” Browner said. “We’ve just got to keep piling on the victories. Like Russell Wilson says, ‘We just try to go 1-0 every week.’ ”
But in this short week, the Seahawks found a way – many ways – to go 2-0.