The Seahawks’ 23-20 overtime victory over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on Sunday was one unbelievable event after another until Steven Hauschka’s 45-yard field goal finally ended it.
HOUSTON – Don’t try making sense of what transpired at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, because it made no sense.
From the way the Texans stormed to a 20-3 halftime lead; to the way the Seahawks rallied for 14 points in the fourth quarter to tie the score – on a 14-play, 98-yard drive that ended with All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch’s 3-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard interception return for a score by All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman; to a 45-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left in overtime.
All of it defied explanation – to everyone, that is, who wasn’t on the field or Seahawks’ sideline while it was happening or in the locker afterward.
The players compared the way they won this game to their playoff games against the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons in January – also on the road and also games in which they fell behind early only to catch up late. But this one was beyond even the win over the Redskins or the oh-so-close loss in the final seconds to Falcons.
It was only the fourth game of Pete Carroll’s fourth season as coach, but this one just might go down as a defining moment in the development of a good team into a resilient, opportunistic team that can find a way to win against all odds and against any opponent.
“After the first half, I think we showed who we really are,” said All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas, who also had an interception and seven tackles. “Guys were kind of getting frustrated, but we’ve got leaders on this team and we got everybody back together and we finished the job.”
The victory kept the NFC West-leading Seahawks unbeaten, and lifted them to the franchise’s first 4-0 start. It also extended a few other streaks. The Seahawks have won nine consecutive regular-season games and 12 of their past 14 overall – including those playoff games. They also have won four consecutive road games for the first time since a five-game streak during their run to the Super Bowl in 2005 – and only the fourth time in franchise history.
Historic stuff. Near-hysterical stuff.
Sherman’s mother, Beverly, predicted to a local TV station before the game that her son would indeed return an interception for a TD late in the game. Sherman said an angel was watching over this team on this day – Ken Norton Sr., the late father of linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., whose funeral was Friday.
Russell Wilson, who’s so pliable when it comes to being resilient that he could qualify as a contortionist, had a statistically ugly outing: a 49.7 passer rating, as he completed only 12 of 23 passes for only 123 yards and also threw an interception. But on the fourth-quarter drive that got the Seahawks back into the game, he ran for 52 yards and passed for 50. All that came after getting some timely advice from Lynch, who finished with 98 rushing yards and added another 45 on three receptions.
“Marshawn and I were talking and he said, ‘Hey, Russ, just take over,’ ” Wilson said. “I just decided I was going to step up and I’m going to slide a little more. If it’s not there just take off and see what happens.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win the world, but it sure looks pretty now.”
A defense that was yielding yards by the chunk in the first half, duped the Texans – and especially quarterback Matt Schaub – on the play where Sherman made his game-tying pick-six by showing Cover 3, only to have strong safety Kam Chancellor blitz and Sherman cover the tight end.
“We just disguised it,” Chancellor explained. “We ran a lot of Cover 3 today. I lined up like I was in Cover 3 again, so when they motioned I just took off. When Schaub turned around, he saw a big 31 (Chancellor’s number) in his face. So he was either going to take that sack or throw it in the air. He threw it in the air.”
Oh, and it was the second time in three days that Sherman made that exact play, because the ploy also worked against the Seahawks’ scout team in practice on Friday.
“We knew it was coming,” said Sherman, who also lost a shoe on the play. “Kam brings the pressure. I disguise. Earl disguises. And then you come make the play. Not everybody can make that play, because it’s a risk. It’s a high-risk, high-reward kind of play where you’ve got to jump it. You might get beat, but if you make the play you get a pick-six and change the game for your team.
“I think that was the turning point in the game. I think that was the turning point when we evened it out.”