NEW ORLEANS — With two seconds to play in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks sitting at the Saints' 10-yard-line trailing 25-20, Seattle had one last shot to secure a late-game win in Week 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Russell Wilson dropped back to pass and lofted a ball to the right corner of the end zone intended for Jermaine Kearse. The Seahawks receiver, in single coverage on the play, went up and got the football, but Wilson's throw sailed a bit too high, and as a result, Kearse couldn't keep both of his feet in bounds. The pass was ruled incomplete, dropping Seattle's record to 4-2-1 on the season.
"Russ did a nice job to fix the protection for us so that we could pick up the pressure and that was where his throw went," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said postgame of his team's last play. "He gave it a shot and Jermaine did another extraordinary job to make the catch and he just couldn't keep his feet in bounds. I think he got the pylon, but he didn't get the ground."
Said Wilson: "That was close. I tried to give him a shot. The corner did a good job of trying to drive him out of bounds. I think he got one [foot] in and was trying to get the second one down. It was a good play by the guy."
Added Kearse: "I thought I was pretty close. I thought I had a little bit of a chance to get my last foot in there. I think I got at least one in. So just try to make a play."
The Wilson to Kearse pass marked the final play of a drive that started with 1:50 left in regulation with Seattle holding no timeouts. The Seahawks, a team that to that point had struggled to find a rhythm offensively, ran their two-minute offense and managed to effectively move the football. Wilson used his legs to pick up five yards on the drive's opening play, connected twice on the drive with running back C.J. Prosise for a total of 22 yards and twice more with receiver Doug Baldwin for a total of 31 yards to put the Seahawks in position for a potential game-winning score.
"I thought it was awesome," Carroll said of his team's last possession. "Just to get down and have a shot at the end zone was a great job. Great poise, great timing, the kills that we needed to keep the clock alive.
"We had a shot at it. It was really well done."
Kearse, who finished with four catches for 57 yards on a team-high seven targets, said the Seahawks "prepare for those situations."
"We practice them throughout the week," he said. "So when we see a situation like that we're able to stay poised and be able to handle business."
Added Wilson: "The last drive was a testament to our resilience I think. I'm really looking forward to when we just really get in that rhythm once again. That's really our hiccup right now, just getting in that rhythm and staying on schedule and stopping with the penalties. The turnover, that's my fault."
As Wilson alludes to, the way Seattle moved the football on its final drive didn't necessarily resemble the way its offense looked earlier in the game. Against a Saints team that came into the week allowing a League-most 32.5 points per game, the Seahawks scored a touchdown on one of their nine possessions on Sunday. Wilson, who finished 22 of 34 for 253 yards, threw an interception that ended a drive in the second quarter, and Seattle had to settle for field goal tries on three occasions, one of which was botched for no points heading into halftime. Seattle had just 19 offensive plays in the first half and penalties played a role in stalling drives, with the Seahawks getting flagged a season-high 11 times.
"I think it really just came down to us," said Kearse. "Penalties is the main contributor to just killing drives. When you're starting first-and-20, first-and-25 and stuff like that, it's not easy. It's hard to convert on third down and get a rhythm and a drive. I think we need to correct that."
Wilson said he thinks the Seahawks "need to continue to play with a sense of urgency" like they did on their final drive that nearly produced the game-winner.
"The penalties kind of hurt us a little bit, it puts us in long situations," Wilson said. "We didn't have those that last drive there. We've got clutch players that make a lot of plays. So we're just going to stay the course."
While Carroll noted the Seahawks "just have to get out of our own way so we can have normal rhythms" offensively, he did come away impressed with the way his team battled back to set up a chance to win the game at the end.
"It was this far from being a spectacular finish and I don't think anybody who watches us should think anything else is going to happen," Carroll said. "That's the way these guys play, it's the way they battle and that's what's going to happen every time we go out. Nobody was surprised, we were just waiting to see if we were going to win it."
Added Wilson: "The great thing is we have all the players, we have the right system, we have the right coaching staff, we have the right guys and we're going to be able to do it, and I'm looking forward to that. Nothing that we haven't faced before. At the end of the day when you really want something you're going to face some challenges, you're going to face some ups and downs. But you just keep coming back. You just keep putting the hard work in, you keep putting your head down, and that's the only thing we know."
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The Seattle Seahawks took on the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday.