The Seahawks had two opportunities to finish this game. They wasted the first, but grabbed the second to defeat the Broncos 26-20 in overtime.
A missed Steven Hauschka field goal, an avoidable safety and unnecessary Russell Wilson interception gave the Broncos a chance to steal a game they appeared destined to lose at 17-3. Russell Wilson’s brilliant overtime drive made sure Seattle kept the victory — just.
It’s not often you play as badly as Seattle did in the fourth quarter and still beat Peyton Manning. The Seahawks got away with an uncharacteristically sloppy final quarter to escape with the win.
At one point the game threatened to turn into another one-sided Super Bowl-esque beat-down. The Broncos were struggling to sustain drives and suffered with a conservative approach in the first half (two draw plays on 3rd and long proving fruitless). Seattle established a big lead thanks to touchdown passes from Wilson to Ricardo Lockette and Marshawn Lynch. Even without scoring, they remained in control in the third quarter.
Then they threw it away.
The game-tying 80-yard drive with a minute to go was inexplicable. The Seahawks rushed three and played prevent defense — no shocks there. Manning hit Emmanuel Sanders on a blown coverage by Byron Maxwell for 42-yards just moments after surviving a big scare on the exact same play call. Moments later he found Jacob Tamme on another poor coverage and a similar wheel route exploiting K.J. Wright. 80-yards in just over 40-seconds with no time-outs. In Seattle.
Give credit to the Broncos for finding the hole in the defense — give them more credit for a brilliantly executed two-point conversion. Yet for such a good defense to get beat like it did — this was a shocker.
Until that point Seattle’s unit had appeared every bit as dominant as in the Super Bowl.
Having coughed up one chance to finish the game it was left to Wilson to get the job done — and he did so with a brilliant game-winning drive of identical length to Manning’s surge. 80-yards of hurry up, keeper’s, nicely designed plays to the perimeter and eventually a strong run up the middle ended an entertaining contest. The type Super Bowl Champions are supposed to win at home.
— Seeing Walters, Lockette and Richardson line up on 3rd and 9 at 17-12 was, well, strange. Seattle failed to convert on a throw aimed at Walters. That’s no disrespect to the three receivers on the field, but surely you’d expect to see Harvin, Kearse and Baldwin in that situation — at a critical point in the game?
— Ricardo Lockette had a big day — catching a nice deep ball on Aqib Talib for a score (high pointed the football too), excelling as a gunner (again) and even breaking up a sure-fire pick-six with a tactical offensive P.I.
— Justin Britt might not face a tougher non-NFC West opponent this year. DeMarcus Ware gave him fits at times. Ware and Von Miller did a great job containing Wilson in regulation. Denver also had Seattle’s number defending the run — the Seahawks appeared to have most success when using Harvin as a decoy, before handing off to Lynch. It’s a nice wrinkle to have, especially if standard formations are struggling to penetrate.
— Prior to Kam Chancellor’s late pick, Peyton Manning hadn’t thrown an interception in the month of September in any of his previous 380 snaps.
— Russell Okung couldn’t afford another serious injury. He looked in serious pain at the end of the first half due to a shoulder problem. To his credit he returned after half time — and he needed to.
— Marshawn Lynch is so vital to this team, it’s going to be virtually impossible to replace him whenever that day comes.
— San Francisco lost to Drew Stanton’s Arizona to drop to 1-2. I dipped in and out of the game and from what I saw they appeared ill-disciplined, rattled and nothing like the 49ers of recent memory. They face 3-0 Philadelphia next week. Meanwhile Arizona leads the NFC West at 3-0. Bruce Arians is a fantastic coach — they haven’t missed a beat despite a series of key injuries. After the bye the face Denver (A), Washington (H), Oakland (A) and Philadelphia (H). They face Seattle for the first time on November 23rd. The 10-6 record last year was no fluke.