With the game on the line, Cam Newton took the snap with only a yard standing between him and a comeback win for the Patriots. But unlike the previous two times in the game when Newton scored from a yard out, the Seahawks defense came up big with the outcome of the game hanging in the balance.
Safety Lano Hill took out fullback Jakob Johnson, which in turn forced Newton to take the run inside instead of bouncing it to the edge, and when he did, L.J. Collier was there to undercut the quarterback for a loss, the final play of a thrilling 35-30 win.
Collier and the Seahawks defense went crazy, the rest of the players and coaches spilled onto the field to join the celebration, and the Seahawks were off to a 2-0 start. It was a perfect capper to Seattle's home-opener.
Well, almost perfect. One thing was missing. Or more accurately, about 69,000 people were missing as the Seahawks, like most NFL teams, played in an empty stadium Sunday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was a big-time play," Collier said of what, to this point, is by far the biggest moment of his young NFL career. "Just the excitement, with your boys and everything, just to finish it off, man. It's a hell of a play. Imagine if we had fans here today. Seattle would still be shaking."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had implored fans during the week to get loud, wherever they were, when the Seahawks made big plays on Sunday, and no doubt the Pacific Northwest went crazy when Collier took Newton down to win the game, but Carroll definitely felt the absence of the NFL's loudest fans.
"This was really an amazing game," Carroll said. "For the fans out there, we missed you so much, I can't tell you how much. We're so used to this extraordinary following of the crowd, and the energy and juice and all that. I don't know if you saw our guys, but our guys were trying to fill in for you. I just wish so much that you could have been there for the last play of the game. It would have been so crazy for all the fans. I hope you went nuts and enjoyed the heck out of it… We really missed the fans. We can't wait to get you back sometime down the road."
Russell Wilson put together his second straight specular performance to open the season, throwing five touchdown passes to five different receivers, but he too could tell something was missing.
"Not having any fans is tough," Wilson said. "You miss the fun of it all. This game is meant to be played in front of thousands and thousands of people. It's so special. But at the same time, no matter where you play, you've got to love it just as much. The feelings and the emotions and everything else, it all comes out of you playing this game. Today, Sunday Night Football, we're so used to having so many people out there, fans going crazy and everything else. We obviously missed our 12s, how much they mean to us. They always travel so well too. Obviously our home games are always the best in the world. So just praying for healing, praying for a way to see our fans again, because that's the fun part of this game."
The best photos from Week 2's Seahawks-Patriots matchup on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field. Presented by Nesquik.