A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-23 victory over the Patriots at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. You had to expect this would go to a quarterback – just not this quarterback. The Patriots’ Tom Brady might have thrown for 395 yards and two touchdowns, but he had to put the ball up 58 times to do it.
Wilson, meanwhile, was efficient – and effective – from start to dramatic finish. The rookie was 7 of 8 for 131 yards in leading the Seahawks to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, when he passed 24 yards to Doug Baldwin for a touchdown. After going 4 of 10 in the second and third quarters, when the Patriots took a 20-10 lead, Wilson made like a little kid with a big bag of Halloween candy.
That is, he saved the best for last.
Wilson was 5 of 9 for 116 yards in the final 15 seconds, including a 10-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards – on a fourth-and-3 play – to cut the Patriots’ lead to 23-17; and a 46-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice for what proved to be the game-winner.
It left Wilson with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 293 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, for a passer rating of 133.7. Winning numbers no matter how you stack them.
“This week, we made a big point to the whole receiving crew and the quarterbacks and everybody that is catching the ball, that we have not taken advantage of Russell’s movement,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s been getting out, and he’s been running and making yards. And we made a big deal about it this week that there are huge plays there for us if we just look and fight harder to get open.”
None bigger than Wilson’s two fourth-quarter TD passes. The last rookie QB to overcome a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter was Vince Young. He did it in 2006 while playing for the Titans, and playing against the Giants.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winner, of course, as Wilson lofted his pass toward the end zone and Rice was able to run it down.
Said Rice: “It was a heckuva throw. The whole time when I came out of my break I was looking at the ball in the air and it was so pretty. I’m just running and I was like, ‘You’ve got to catch up to it. You’ve got to catch up to it.’ ”
Said Wilson: “The key was that the offensive line did a great job of protecting me long enough for Sidney to get open. He ran a great, great route. He headed up his guy and he ended up getting open. I just try to put it in a spot where only he could catch it, and he did a great job of coming up with that tremendous catch there. I think he squeezed it with four hands.”
Defense: The Seahawks intercepted Brady twice, but let’s go with the pick by free safety Earl Thomas because it came in the end zone on the third play of the fourth quarter.
“I baited him,” Thomas said. “I watch a lot of tape. I had a great opportunity. I had a great break on the ball.”
Special teams: Jon Ryan’s entire day, as he averaged 60.0 yards on four punts. That made Ryan only the third punter in NFL history to average at least 60 yards on a minimum of four punts, and the first to do it since 1946. The two punters ahead of Ryan are the Lions’ Bob Cifers (61.75 on Nov. 24, 1946) and the Packers’ Rob McKay (61.60 on Oct. 28, 1945).
Then there is the punter Ryan nudged from the third spot – the 49ers’ Andy Lee (59.60), who did it against the Seahawks last Sept. 11.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell aggravated a hamstring injury. Strong safety Kam Chancellor took a blow to the elbow and Carroll said, “We’ll see what that means.” Guard Paul McQuistan tweaked a knee, but was able to finish the game.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high and career-best 14 tackles. The franchise single-game record is 18, set by Terry Beeson in 1977 and tied by Sammy Green in 1978.
Chancellor had 11 tackles, also a career-high; while linebacker K.J. Wright had nine and nose tackle Brandon Mebane seven.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 41 yards, his lowest total since he had 24 against the Bengals last season – one week after sitting out a game against the Browns because of back spasms. Lynch had run for at least 85 in the first five games this season and 13 of his past 14 dating back to last season.
Rice (three for 81) and Baldwin (two for 74) combined to catch five passes for 155 yards, while the Patriots’ Wes Welker caught 10 passes for 138 yards.
Brady had thrown one interception in 185 pass attempts entering the game, but the Seahawks picked him twice.
The Seahawks are 4-2 for the first time since 2010, Carroll’s first season as coach.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I really don’t care about the yards, as long as we get the win and we’re making plays in critical situations.” – Thomas, on the Patriots compiling 475 yards against the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense in the loss