SEATTLE, Wash. — Almost as soon at Russell Wilson threw what could have been a game-deciding interception, the Seahawks quarterback got together with his offensive teammates and coaches on the sideline to figure out how they were going to make sure that his lone turnover in an otherwise flawless performance didn't end up being the story of the game.
"I felt so on it today, then that one play happens," Wilson said of his fourth-quarter interception that ended what the Seahawks were hoping would be a go-ahead drive. "You're frustrated for a split second, then you clear your head and you realize, 'OK, here's the scenario, here's the truth of the situation. We need to get the ball back, we need the defense to stop them, which we have full confidence that that's going to happen. Then once that happens, what are we going to do?' Then it's just having that confidence, having that belief, we've been there before. A minute-however-many-seconds on the clock, 1:30, 1:40, whatever it was, I love nothing more."
As Wilson predicted, the defense came up with a quick stop, and thanks to Seattle having all three timeouts left, the offense got the ball back with 1:39 left on the clock needing to go 80 yards to retake the lead.
Wilson then hit Paul Richardson, who made a great leaping grab on a contested ball, for a 48-yard gain; Tyler Lockett followed with a 19-yard catch to get the Seahawks into the red zone; then Wilson hit a wide-open Jimmy Graham for an 18-yard touchdown.
And just like that, in three plays and 1 minute, 18 seconds, the Seahawks secured a thrilling 41-38 victory over the Houston Texans following a game-clinching interception by Richard Sherman. That wild finish capped a massive performance for Wilson and the Seahawks passing game, and the Seahawks needed every bit of it to top a Houston passing attack led by rookie Deshaun Watson who put up numbers that were nearly as impressive as Wilson's.
"That was a wild football game," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "A fantastic game. Two teams that would not let up, going for it."
The Seahawks were 4-2 heading into Sunday's game for a number of reasons, but the single biggest factor in their early-season success was the play of a defense that, prior to Sunday's game, led the NFL in scoring defense. Yet even as Seattle's defense helped lead the Seahawks to some low-scoring victories, players on that side of the ball continued to point out that that they had full confidence in the offense, noting that a time would come that the offense would need to pick up the slack for the defense.
That time came Sunday, and Wilson and the offense were more than up to the task. On an afternoon when the Seahawks struggled to run the ball, Wilson completed 26 of 41 pass attempts for a Seahawks-record 452 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of 123.2.
And of course for Wilson to have a big game, he needed good protection from the offensive line, which he got—the Texans had 2.0 sacks, and Wilson had time when he needed it most late in the game—and he needed his playmakers to step up, which they did in a big way. Richardson finished with 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns on six catches, Tyler Lockett had a team-high 121 yards on six catches, Jimmy Graham had a pair of touchdowns, giving him four in his last three games, and Doug Baldwin had six catches for 54 yards. The Seahawks even got big plays from unexpected places, with Tanner McEvoy hauling a 53-yard grab for his first catch of the year, and fullback Tre Madden rumbling 66 yards on his only catch.
"Today the defense really needed the offense, and we've been in a lot of games on the other side of that, and they all knew it," Carroll said. "They're very, very grateful for the play of our guys on that side of the ball. If there was ever any doubts about Russell, what he can do, there is no limit. That was a fantastic day. All kinds of guys made plays. It was really fun."
Wilson coming through in the clutch was no surprise for his teammates on both sides of the ball.
"He's phenomenal," tight end Luke Willson said. "You saw it today. He's just a special, special player."
Added safety Earl Thomas, "Russell, he's the ultimate competitor. I'm so proud of Russ and the offense. They did a great job. He had a turnover at the end, but the poise, that's the big thing I saw, the poise he had at the end to finish the game."
Not only did Wilson set a team record with his passing performance Sunday, he also recorded his seventh career game with four or more touchdowns and one or no interceptions. Through six seasons, only Hall of Famers Dan Marino (10) and Brett Favre (9) had more.
"He bailed us out," cornerback Richard Sherman said of Wilson. "He bailed us out. He was lights out. He was lights out down the stretch. This was not one of our better games in the history of us being here. There were just a number of dumb mistakes, and the quarterback (Watson) played good football. You have to give their offense credit… In a game where in past years we may have kind of wavered and it might have been one where it could've gotten away, (Wilson) didn't give up. He never stopped fighting. He stayed poised, the offense executed and they won the game for us. They bailed us out. They bailed us out in a big way."
And in addition to Wilson and his teammates coming up with big plays, Seattle's offense also thrived because of the coaching of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable, who were able to adjust and keep the offense moving despite a stagnant running game.
"I think it's worth noting that in this game when we realized that we were struggling (to run the ball), Bev and Tom and those guys did a great job to go ahead and go where we could go, and to find it," Carroll said. "I thought Bev called a marvelous game today, just a marvelous game today. So many great calls, so many great plays, and going for it so aggressively in his mentality… Bev's calling the game was beautiful today."
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 41-38 victory over the Houston Texans in Week 8 at CenturyLink Field.