The Seahawks climbed to 1-1 on Sunday, defeating the Detroit Lions 37-31 in an overtime shootout. After struggling with injuries throughout his first two seasons, cornerback Tre Brown embodies the "grit" Pete Carroll looks for in players, and he demonstrated that with a big performance on Sunday.
In 2021, Seattle selected Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown in the fourth round. The Tulsa native earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2018 and 2020, and showed a knack for late-game heroics that earned him the nickname "Big Play Tre." After an up-and-down start to his NFL career thanks to a serious knee injury, Brown came into Sunday's game in Detroit, replacing an injured Riq Woolen, and lived up to his nickname.
After a knee sprain forced him to miss the first month of his rookie season, Brown flashed plenty of potential in five contests played between Weeks 6-10 of the 2021 season. In Seattle’s Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Brown suffered a patella tendon injury that would require surgery and end his rookie campaign prematurely.
Recovery from surgery to repair the knee damage would sideline Brown for the first 10 weeks of the 2022 season, before being activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in November. Brown was brought back slowly last season, playing 21 defensive snaps in six regular season games and the one playoff game. With a solid group of defensive backs in the secondary, Brown came into the 2023 offseason looking to prove his health and value.
Brown opened the season as Seattle's starter at left cornerback, but was replaced in that role by rookie Devon Witherspoon for Sunday's game against the Lions.
But against Detroit, Brown would be given another opportunity, following second-year cornerback Riq Woolen leaving the contest with a shoulder injury. The Seahawks and Lions traded early scores, and with Seattle attempting to cling on to a 24-21 fourth quarter lead, Brown charged downhill on a corner blitz, shed a block from the running back on a play-action fake from quarterback Jared Goff, before bringing down the Lions quarterback for Seattle's first sack of the season.
On the very next play, Seattle's defensive line pressured Goff into throwing right into Brown's waiting hands, as the third-year corner took his first-career interception to the end zone for a pick-six. Not only did the turnover give Seattle a 10-point lead, but it snapped Goff’s streak of 383 passes without being intercepted - the third-longest streak in league history. The nickname "Big Play Tre" has followed Brown long before he recorded two career milestones on Sunday, but silencing a deafening Lions' crowd brings the name to reality.
"Wow," said Brown "It's crazy what one play can do to a whole stadium that's electric when you're on the opposite team. I was able to take that in and realize what I did for my team, and it was on to the next."
"In the condensed formation," said Brown. "26 (Gibbs) is their scat-back guy. They were running a lot of Texas routes. You know, that's why they got the angle route, in-breaking route. So my safety had put me in a really good call, Smash, you know, Cover 2 basically. So when all those guys went in, the only person I had was the running back to my side, so I knew I was able to squeeze that. I chased that route, and then I looked up, and next thing I knew, the ball was in my hands. And then I just ran to the races."
In two plays, Brown was able to erase his struggles of Week 1, helping Seattle climb back to .500, while providing self-confidence for the 25-year-old. Carroll often emphasizes the search for grit in his players, puzzle pieces that can be relied on to overcome adversity. Overcoming injury, and moving past his shortcomings to help Seattle win its first game of the season certainly meets the grit criteria.
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.