DETROIT—There were so many big plays and big moments Pete Carroll could single out after his team's thrilling overtime win over the Lions.
There was Tre Brown's pick-six in the fourth quarter, which came one play after the corner recorded Seattle's first sack of the season; there were several clutch catches by Tyler Lockett, including the game-winning in overtime that secured a 37-31 victory; there was Uchenna Nwosu's forced fumble on the first play of the second half, a turnover that set up a touchdown; and there was a whole day full of great play by quarterback Geno Smith.
And yes, Carroll was appreciative of every player who had a hand in Seattle's big Week 2 win, but the first two players he sought out in raucous postgame locker room were tackle Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe, who were both playing in place of injured starters Abraham Lucas and Charles Cross.
"There are so many guys who did great stuff today in this game, and I'm starting with the tackles," Carroll said. "There were a lot of people that wrote us off because they didn't think Stone could get it done and Jake could get it done, but they did. They did a phenomenal job today. They held up their end of it, stepped up just like we ask guys to do, and came through in a huge way."
As Carroll notes, plenty of people thought the injuries at tackle spelled doom for Seattle's offense. After all, Forsythe was making his first career start at left tackle—he started one game on the right side last year—and Curhan was making his first start since the end of the 2021 season, and both were playing in an incredibly loud environment at Ford Field and facing a talented and aggressive pass rush led by Aidan Hutchinson, last year's runner up for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Yet in that tough setting, Curhan and Forsythe, along with the rest of the line, got the job done, protecting Smith as he threw for 328 yards and two scores. Smith was sacked only once, a sack late in regulation he said he shouldn't have taken, and hit only once, and had plenty of time to operate on the game-winning drive while completion six of seven passes for 69-yards and the game-winning touchdown.
"The most exquisite part of that last drive was the past protection," Carroll said. "It's not just the tackles, but they were the guys that were on the stick today, and they came through in a huge way."
And Carroll wasn't the only one impressed by the fill-in tackles. Nearly every offensive player brought those two up unprompted when asking other questions after the game.
"We're just going to shout out Jake and Stone for stepping up big, and even Olu (Oluwatimi) coming in there when Evan (Brown) went down for a little bit," tight end Will Dissly said. "It was just a good team win."
Said Smith, "That's what we expected from those guys. Jake and Stone, they both played a lot of games for us and stepped up bigtime, so we know who they are. And they're not alone, we've got nine other guys out there playing with them. I'm just so happy for those guys to see what they did today. They were a big part of this offense, a big part of the reason we scored the points we did. They may have silenced some people."
Then there was this from DK Metcalf, "We gave up one sack. The O-line played their asses off, big shout out to them. They stepped up and answered the call. Shout out to the O-line."
And this from Tyler Lockett: "You've got to give a shout out to Jake and Stone, they did a great job when we were out there."
Forsythe noted that having a full week to prepare as a starter "made a big difference" compared to last week when he and Curhan both came into the game in the third quarter. "I had a great week of practice, felt comfortable going into the game. You're game-planning against those guys all week, so you know what they're going to do."
As for the people who had been doubting that the offense could function without its starting tackles, Forsythe said, "I just focus on myself, don't get caught up with what other people say outside of here, just worry about me."
The performances of those two were so impressive that Carroll didn't know what to say to them when he caught up with them in the locker room after the game.
"I didn't have words, really," he said. "I was so proud and so fired up for them. Just amazed that they came through in such consistent fashion all day long. They did a great job. They've played before, they've been out there, and they just did what they do. They did a great job of battling all day long against a great player and a terrific group on the other side. But didn't really have words other than just to hug them up and kind of hang with them for a while. They were the first two guys I wanted to see, and I found them in the locker room."
Check out the best sights from the sidelines following a thrilling 37-31 overtime win over the Detroit Lions during Week 2 of the 2023 season. Easy To Celebrate photos are presented by Bud Light.