Warren Moon is an old hand, but he’s new to the Seattle Seahawks.
So on matters of perspective, the 40-year-old quarterback defers to his teammates.
“In talking to Brian Blades,” Moon volunteered, “he said this is a game that they usually don’t win.”
Until now, he meant.
The Seahawks scratched their way back to square one Sunday, coming back twice in the fourth quarter to overtake the San Diego Chargers 26-22 in the Kingdome thanks to some likely heroes - Moon, Joey Galloway - and some unlikely ones.
Darryl Williams. Steve Broussard. And the officiating crew.
And now they’re 2-2 one-quarter of the way through this NFL season - perhaps a game behind where they expected to be, but far ahead of where they were three weeks ago.
“This is a huge step for us,” said safety Tim Hauck, whose coverage and contact as part of the Seahawks’ nickel package was one of many unsung contributions. “We’ve still got a long way to go, but we have reason to feel a lot better about ourselves than we did after the Jets game.”
This wasn’t the most stylish Seahawks win ever, but it may have set a record for dogged resolve. In addition to the two fourth-quarter comebacks, Seattle also battled from 13-3 down into a second-quarter tie. For the second week in a row, the Seahawks defense did not allow a touchdown - the Chargers scored on Rodney Harrison’s 78-yard interception return and five John Carney field goals. And they survived injuries to Cortez Kennedy, Phillip Daniels and Walter Jones that forced some emergency patching on both lines.
“Guys came in and made plays,” said coach Dennis Erickson, “and that’s what it’s all about.”
There was no bigger play than Moon’s 53-yard touchdown strike to Galloway early in the fourth quarter because it gave Seattle its first lead, 20-19. Streaking down the left sideline, Galloway beat Mark Montreuil, one of two backup cornerbacks the Chargers had in the game at the time because of injuries.
“Sometimes you would think Warren’s asleep, he is so laid back,” said Galloway. “When the game’s on the line, though, it’s good to have his confidence throwing the football.”
The big plays kept on coming. On the next scrimmage snap, Williams made his third interception of the day - tying a club record - off Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries. And looking for even more offensive spark, Erickson turned to Broussard - the third-string running back who had been punishing the Chargers all day on kickoff returns.
“He was a bear for us to deal with,” said Chargers coach Kevin Gilbride. “He was more than we could handle.”
Broussard, the eight-year veteran out of Washington State, blasted out gains of 20 and 14 yards - and then Moon fumbled. Given another chance, the Chargers drove close enough for Carney to nail his final field goal, a 41-yarder, for a 22-20 lead.
But they still had no answer for Broussard or Galloway, who drew San Diego into a pair of obvious pass interference penalties that were the big gains in the deciding drive. Broussard got the last 12 yards himself, diving over from the 1 for the game-winner with 1:22 to play.
“Coach says in the fourth quarter, the 2 and 3-yard gains become 10 and 15-yard gains,” Broussard said. “The defense got tired and I had fresh legs.”
Still, the Hawks needed a break. They got it when receiver Charlie Jones laid out for a long pass from Humphries that would have taken the Chargers inside the Seahawks 35 - if it hadn’t been ruled incomplete, Jones unable to gain full control before the ground jarred it loose.
The Chargers didn’t squawk much on that call, but they did in the second quarter when they felt robbed of a touchdown on a short pass to Eric Metcalf.
“I saw him catch the football,” said Humphries. “Right as he caught the football, he switched over to his left hand to reach the ball over the goal line. The official said that he never had control. I can’t believe it.”
So they settled for a field goal - self-destructing with a false-start penalty - and a 13-3 lead instead of 17-3. And then they allowed an 85-yard Seahawks drive, fueled by two fine receptions by Mike Pritchard and Tyree Davis.
Williams then followed with his first interception - a tipped ball that popped out of Metcalf’s hands - and within moments the Seahawks had tied it at 13 on a 37-yard Todd Peterson field goal, one of two he kicked this day.
Moon came away with mixed reviews, throwing for 253 yards but also two picks - which still bettered Humphries’ 239 yards and three interceptions. Galloway accounted for 106 of Seattle’s receiving yards, while Broussard had 69 of his game-high 72 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.
“We somehow pulled this one out, and I think it’s a good confidence booster,” said Moon. “It’s good to win a tough, close game with a team in our division. We started to come together and we’re back to .500 - which is a lot better than 1 and 3.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Seahawks 26, Chargers 22 Key play: Warren Moon’s 53-yard touchdown pass to Joey Galloway early in the fourth quarter to give Seattle its first lead, 20-19. How the Seahawks stand: After an 0-2 start, the Seahawks have evened their record at 2-2. Next Sunday: at Kansas City, 1 p.m.