On a night when too many little mistakes were threatening to become a major distraction, the Seahawks used a trio of big plays to come out with a victory anyway.
Playing on national TV and before a Lambeau Field-record crowd of 74,030 Cheesehead fans on Friday night, the Seahawks got a long scoring run by rookie running back Christine Michael, another long touchdown pass to Stephens Williams and a late fumble-forcing hit by safety Winston Guy to pull out a 17-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
The win, which came despite 14 penalties for 182 yards and a two-interception outing by Russell Wilson, allowed the Seahawks to run their preseason record to 3-0 this summer and push their franchise-record preseason victory streak to eight in a row.
But this one didn’t come easy.
“They’re big distractions for us to play like we want to play,” coach Pete Carroll said of the yards his team gave away because of the penalties. “It bothers you. You don’t want to give your opponents anything and we gave them 182 yards tonight. So it makes it very difficult to get a win.”
Instead of self-destructing, the Seahawks once again found a way to win even though they did not play their best football.
After battling the Packers to a 3-3 tie at halftime, the Seahawks took a 10-3 lead in the third quarter as Michael broke a 43-yard scoring run.
“The offensive line, they were doing an amazing job,” Michael said. “I’m starting to trust those guys a lot more and be even more patient in the run game. Those guys were amazing.”
Second-year wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, displaying savvy beyond his limited NFL experience, used the large replay screen at Lambeau to help him make the final block that allowed Michael to get up the sideline and into the end zone.
“I saw him coming out in my direction,” Kearse said. “So I just tried to give a good little block out there.”
Added Michael, who finished with 97 rushing yards, “That definitely was a great block. I told him that. Definitely.”
The Packers tied the score again at 10, but that changed when No. 10 – quarterback Brady Quinn – went to Williams for yet another big play. Just as it appeared the Packers were going to intercept Quinn’s pass at the goal line, the ball disappeared from the Packers cornerback. That’s because the 6-foot-5 Williams reached over him to pluck the pass for this third TD this preseason.
“Just trying to make a play,” Williams said. “I was thinking I should jump for it. But with the angle of the ball, I just decided to reach for it.”
Williams now has three TD catches in three games – a 42-yarder from Tarvaris Jackson in the preseason-opening 31-10 victory over the Chargers in San Diego; a 38-yarder from Jackson in last week’s 40-10 win over the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field; and the 42-yarder from Quinn that proved to be the game winner against the Packers.