Wilson-led Seahawks win shootout with Texans
SEATTLE — Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson turned in another impressive performance on Sunday, but in the end it was Seattle Seahawks veteran Russell Wilson who once again stole the show at CenturyLink Field.
Wilson’s 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham, his fourth touchdown pass of the game, put the Seahawks ahead to stay with 21 seconds left in a 41-38 win over Watson and the Texans.
“That was a fun one to play in, that’s for sure,” Wilson said after throwing for a franchise-record 452 yards on 26-for-41 passing in the comeback victory. “It was a true testament of our team. Our true character showed up.”
Wilson’s touchdown pass to Graham capped off an 80-yard drive over the final 1:39. Graham and Seattle wide receiver Paul Richardson both scored twice on a day when Houston’s Watson also passed for four touchdowns.
Watson was 19-for-30 for a career-best 402 yards and four touchdowns, but also threw three costly interceptions in the loss. Houston (3-4) had a chance to put the game away after cornerback Marcus Williams intercepted a Wilson pass deep in Texans territory with 2:49 left, but Watson and the offense couldn’t get a game-clinching first down.
“The players played valiantly today,” Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said. “They played tough, played hard. I just have to do a better job, especially on the road.”
Wilson and the Seahawks took over at the Seattle 20-yard line with 1:39 left. Wilson then completed three consecutive passes, including a 48-yarder to Richardson, and hit a wide-open Graham over the middle to put Seattle (5-2) ahead for good.
“It’s just about belief,” Wilson said. “It’s just about believing that we could get it done, and sure enough we did.”
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had two interceptions, including the game-clincher with seven seconds left on Watson’s final pass of the day. Safety Earl Thomas also had an interception, which he returned 78 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
The two teams, each of which had pass defenses ranked among the NFL’s top 10 going into the game, combined for 813 passing yards in the back-and-forth game. Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught eight passes for 224 yards and had the go-ahead touchdown on a 72-yard catch-and-run with 4:49 remaining.
“This was not one of our better games, in the history of us playing here,” Sherman said.
Hopkins, despite the big day, was less than satisfied.
“For me, it’s not a moral victory at all,” he said. “I’d rather have zero yards and the win than 300 yards and to lose.”
Hopkins’s second touchdown of the game gave the Texans a 38-34 lead, then Williams intercepted a Wilson pass at the Texans’ 12-yard line with 2:49 remaining.
In a fourth quarter that featured five lead changes, Seattle got the final word on Graham’s second touchdown of the game and his fourth in three games.
He said, “That was huge, just to win in that fashion. How often does that happen?”
Watson gave Houston a 31-27 lead when he threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 2-yarder to running back Lamar Miller, with 9:09 remaining. Seattle responded with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Graham less than four minutes later, putting the Seahawks ahead 34-31 with 5:37 left.
On the first play of Houston’s next possession, Watson threw a flat pass to Hopkins, who cut inside and broke up the middle of the field for a 72-yard touchdown.
Seattle appeared to squander its final chance to respond, but the Seahawks got the ball back and drove down the field for the comeback win.
Both quarterbacks threw two first-half touchdown passes as the teams went into the break tied at 21.
NOTES: As expected, the Texans staged an anthem protest after owner Bob McNair made some controversial comments at an owners’ meeting last week. All but about 10 Houston players knelt during the national anthem, with arms locked. Seattle had about a half-dozen players seated on the bench during the anthem. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett, one of the players who was seated on the bench, later celebrated a sack by taking one knee. ... The Seahawks’ first offensive touchdown came after Seattle challenged a ruling of an incomplete pass on third down, resulting in a rare sack-and-fumble for a first down. QB Russell Wilson’s apparent incompletion was overturned when replays showed that LB Jadeveon Clowney hit the quarterback’s arm and forced a fumble that traveled 20 yards before Seattle TE Luke Willson recovered for a first down at the Houston 20. ... Texans T Duane Brown, who ended his contract holdout earlier in the week, made his season debut Sunday starting at left tackle.