In the first half, the Seahawks couldn’t have played much worse. In the final minutes, they were astonishing, as Russell Wilson dragged them from the depths to the pinnacle.
In one of the more remarkable games in franchise history, the Seahawks rallied from a 20-3 deficit, sent the game into overtime on a 58-yard pick-six TD by Richard Sherman, and defeated the Houston Texans Sunday on a 45-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Russell Wilson keyed the improbable 23-20 victory, enabling the Seahawks to start 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Shredded by Matt Schaub in the second quarter for 20 points and overwhelmed for three quarters by J.J. Watt and the relentless Houston defense, the Seahawks used a 98-yard scoring drive orchestrated by Wilson and capped by Marshawn Lynch’s 3-yard touchdown to pull to within 20-13 with 7:36 left in the game.
Sherman, the All-Pro cornerback, knotted it at 20 when he picked off Schaub and ran 58 yards, the play that forced overtime.
After neither Houston nor Seattle could make headway on their first OT possessions, the Texans reached midfield, aided by an interference call on Brandon Browner, only to get forced into a punting situation when Clinton McDonald sacked Schaub and Cliff Avril batted down a pass.
After Golden Tate’s 32-yard punt return and a Wilson scramble for a first down, Wilson completed a pass to Doug Baldwin, who was body slammed to the ground by Kareem Jackson. The personal foul resulted in a 22-yard pickup for the Seahawks and set up Hauschka’s game-winning field goal.
On only four other occasions in franchise history have the Seahawks overcome a larger deficit to win (record, 20 points at Denver in 1995). The victory is also Seattle’s ninth regular-season win a row dating to Dec. 2, 2012, when Seattle prevailed at Chicago in its last overtime victory.
Seattle seemed headed to defeat at the close of the half after Schaub shredded the vaunted Legion of Boom for two touchdowns while Watt devoured a Seahawks’ offensive line missing three starters.
Houston ran up 324 first-half yards to 88 for Seattle. Under constant pressure (two sacks, four hits, two hurries), Wilson completed 3 of 5 for 31 yards, and the Seahawks mustered only one offensive highlight: a play-of-the-day, 43-yard run by Lynch that was a mini-version of his famous “Beastquake”gambol against New Orleans three years ago in the playoffs.
While Wilson’s offense line simply couldn’t protect him, the Seahawks allowed more yards in the first half than they had in the first three games of the season, and more of the same seemed in the offing to start the second half when the Texans sacked Wilson on Seattle’s first scrimmage play and the Seahawks followed with a false-start penalty.
The game began to turn early in the fourth quarter when, pinned at their two-yard line, Wilson and Baldwin hooked up on a 24-yard gain in which Baldwin managed to get both feet down along the sideline. From there, Wilson took over the contest with his legs (he finished with 77 yards rushing), frequently escaping sacks and making big plays.
The Seahawks had a Wilson-to-Jermaine Kearse TD pass nixed when Kearse was flagged for offensive interference. But after Wilson converted on a fourth-down play by breaking from the pocket running for a first down, Lynch scored Seattle’s only offensive touchdown on a seven-yard pass. That gave the Seahawks a ray of hope, but life didn’t follow until Sherman took advantage of an unwise play choice and a poorly thrown ball by Schaub at the 2:40 mark.
Wilson completed 12 of 23 for 123 yards without a touchdown and one interception. He was sacked four times. Lynch ran for 98 yards, and the touchdown was his fourth.
Schaub threw for 355 yards, snapping a streak of 11 games in a row the Seahawks had gone without allowing a 300-yard passer.
NOTES: Seattle DE Michael Bennett was carted off the field on a stretcher near the end of the first half and taken to a Houston hospital. He was diagnosed (and released) with a lower back injury and rejoined the team after the game . . . Wilson, who rushed for 77 yards, recorded his career high of 92 at Buffalo Dec. 16, 2012 . . . Wilson’s fourth-quarter comeback was the seventh of his career . . . In addition to his game-winning field goal of 45 yards, Hauschka kicked a 48-yarder in the first quarter . . . In addition to Sherman’s interception, safety Earl Thomas had one off a Schaub passed that was tipped four times, included by . . . J.J. Watt had four tackles and half a sack . . . LB Brian Cushing was removed from the game in the fourth quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion.