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Seahawks Rookie Cornerbacks Tariq Woolen & Coby Bryant Make Big Plays In Win Over Lions

On an otherwise challenging day for Seattle’s defense, rookie cornerbacks Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen came up with big turnovers to help the Seahawks defeat the Lions.

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Over and over again in practice this summer, Seahawks rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen would use his speed to chase down a receiver running a crossing route, turning plays that look like routine completions into pass breakups or interceptions.

And over and over again, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has marveled at how Woolen uses his rare speed—he ran a 4.26 second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine—to make those plays.

On Sunday, Woolen was able to show of his playmaking ability in a game, interception Jared Goff on the first play of the second half, then returning it 40 yards for a touchdown. The pass was intended for tight end T.J. Hockenson, who for a moment looked to be open, but Woolen was able to accelerate past Hockenson, undercut the route and secure a much-needed touchdown in a victory that required every score the Seahawks were capable of on Sunday.

"He has chased a lot a bunch of wide receivers across the field on crossers like that, and he got a tight end opportunity, and he made a jump right in front beautifully," Carroll said. "A great play."

It was the third big play in as many games for Woolen, who blocked a field goal that Mike Jackson returned for a touchdown in Week 2, and who had an interception in last week's loss to Atlanta.

"I just trusted my instincts," Woolen said. "You know your matchups throughout the week, what you can and cannot do… It was my chance to finally pick one off."

Asked when he know he was going to score, Woolen said, "When I didn't see anybody in front of me, and it was just me and Jared Goff."

Like Carroll, Woolen's teammates weren't surprised by the play.

"I've seen him make that play 10 times already, so I expect that from him, and I'm just happy he got his first pick-six," said fellow rookie Coby Bryant.

Said safety Quandre Diggs, "The guys is growing every week. He's growing, he wants to learn, he wants to be great... He can just explode and go get the ball. He made a heck of a play.

"He's special. He's 6-4 and runs a 4.2. He's a cheat code. He's a guy where, you've got a step or two on him, but he's never beat until he's beat. That's special. He should thank god for that."

And Woolen wasn't alone in forcing a turnover, with Bryant also coming up big with a forced fumble that Jordyn Brooks recovered. That turnover near mid-field was followed by a deep pass to DK Metcalf, which set up a Geno Smith touchdown pass to Noah Fant. And on a day when both defenses struggled to get stops—the Seahawks never punted and Detroit punted only twice—those two turnovers and the touchdowns that resulted made all the difference for the Seahawks.

"Coby, he's got a knack now," Carroll said. "They all know. He's been doing it. He's done it in practice a couple times. We've seen him go for it. Some guys just have a better knack than others, and he's definitely got the awareness. It just takes awareness beyond what normal guys play with. You have to be able to find it. You've got to see it, take advantage of the opportunity, and you have to do it well. And he's going to do it more."

And just like Woolen's interception, Bryant's punch-out was a play the Seahawks have seen plenty of in practice.

"That was a big emphasis this week, just punching the ball out," said Brooks. "It's good to see him take the practice to the game. It paid off for us."

The Seahawks face the Lions in Detroit for Week 4 of the season at Ford Field on October 2, 2022. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

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