Not many outside the 53 players and the coaching staff thought the Seattle Seahawks could win this one, but they come back to the West Coast 2-3 after an impressive, 36-25 victory over New York Giants.
Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said this young team is starting to believe that it can win each week.
“I think it does a lot for our belief,” Robinson said. “A lot of teams have talent. And we feel like on paper we can play with the best of them. It was all about swag and confidence. And a team has to see itself make plays to understand that. A young team, a young offensive line, you have to see yourself makes plays. And I think each week our confidence is growing, and the coaches do a great job of managing everything.”
The Seahawks won a game in the Eastern time zone in a 10 a.m. Pacific time game for only the second time in 12 tries since 2007. Again, Robinson said that’s another milestone that will only give his team confidence as they move forward.
“Definitely, and not just from an outside perspective,” Robinson said. “We’re worried about us,” Robinson said. “It’s our perspective. And it shows us that we can do it. So I think the skies the limit for this team. We’ve just got to keep working, and know that this wasn’t the Super Bowl. We still have games to go. But it’s definitely nice to come out with a win and build on some stuff.”
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said that even though his team was tied at 14-all and likely should have been up at least two touchdowns, players did not get down on themselves. They kept playing.
“That was part of it – get rid of the penalties, take care of the football and we’re not changing a thing,” Carroll said. “And that’s basically what happened. And the guys believed it.
“We weren’t going to be discouraged by what had happened. We were just going to get out there and keep playing football. And we thought we could win.”
But the Seahawks did suffer a rash of injuries. The most significant is quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who suffered a strained pectoral on the Seattle’s second drive of the second half running a quarterback option play.
Tight end Zach Miller suffered a concussion in the first half. Linebacker Leroy Hill, who led Seattle in tackle with eight, left the game with a hamstring injury and Jameson Konz (sprained knee).
“We’re thinking he’s got a strained peck, and we don’t know what that means,” Carroll said. “So we’ve got to do the MRI stuff and all of that. Fortunately it’s bye time. And we can take advantage of a whole extra week to get him back.”
Charlie Whitehurst was solid filling in for Jackson, finishing 11 of19 for 149 yards, including the 27-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin to put Seattle ahead for good.
“I don’t think Charlie did anything phenomenal today,” Carroll said. “I thought he did what he does. He’s a good football player. And he knows our system and he handled himself well. He did a beautiful job of getting rid of the football and not taking sacks when he could avoid it. And he made a couple great throws.”
But the play of the day was Brandon Browner’s 94-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the victory. With New York trailing 29-25 and sitting at 1st and 10 at Seattle’s 10-yard line, Eli Manning tried to hit receiver Victor Cruz on an slant route, but Walter Thurmond drilled Cruz and he bobbled the ball.
Kam Chancellor had the first chance at it, but bobbled it, and Browner cradled it in and sprinted the other way for his first career touchdown as a pro.
Browner’ touchdown is the longest interception return in team history, surpassing Sammy Green’s 91-yarder in 1979.
“The ball got tipped and it was almost like slow motion,” Browner said. “It happened to land in my hands and the rest is history.”
The other big play came midway through the second half with both teams struggling to move the ball.
Seattle defensive end Anthony Hargrove came free on a New York running play from the Giants’ own five yard line, meeting running back D.J. Ware in the end zone and tackling him for a safety, giving Seattle a 16-14 lead.
“Gus (Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley) made a great call,” Hargrove said. “I beat the guard inside and saw the ball carrier and got vertical and went to go get him.”
* The penalty bug continues to hurt Seattle. The Seahawks had 10 for 70 yards, including eight penalties in the first half
* Marshawn Lynch’s 98 yards rushing was the most he’s had as a Seahawk during the regular season. Lynch rushed for 131 yards against New Orleans in the NFC Wildcard game last year, the only time he’s rushed for 100 yards in his career with Seattle.
* Eli Manning threw for 420 yards but threw interceptions, as Seattle got consistent pressure on the New York quarterback with just four rushers most of the day. The Seahawks finished with three sacks on the day.
* Rookie Doug Baldwin again led Seattle receivers with eight catches for 136 yards.
* Kicker Steven Hauschka continues to prove his worth, making kicks from 51 and 43 yards, along with finishing with four touchbacks.