SEATTLE – Having dug themselves into a huge hole early, the Seahawks still had one thing going for them Sunday afternoon.
They were playing the Lions.
So just when it seemed like a season full of low moments was heading toward rock bottom in the form of a home loss to Detroit, the Seahawks rallied behind a record-setting day by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and beat the lowly Lions 32-20 at Qwest Field.
Most of the 67,003 in attendance were on their feet cheering as Josh Wilson returned an interception – the fifth of the day thrown by rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford – for a 61-yard, game-clinching touchdown in the final minute of the game.
Seattle’s first play from scrimmage was a Hasselbeck interception that led to a Lions touchdown. Upon getting the ball back, fullback Justin Griffith fumbled on the first play of Seattle’s next possession, and three plays later, the Lions were in the end zone once again.
Drive No. 3 started off with consecutive runs that lost yardage, and following a completed pass, the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1. Julius Jones was stopped for no gain and the Lions took possession in Seahawks territory.
Seahawks coach Jim Mora said after the game that he the wrong decision in going for it, “but it was a decision that I made because I just felt like I’d had enough.”
That resulted in a Jason Hanson field goal and a 17-0 lead for the Lions, who came into the game having not won on the road since October 2007.
Yet even with a 17-0 deficit staring them in the face, the Seahawks remained confident.
“I thought we were going to win,” said receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, whose 3-yard touchdown catch put the Seahawks up for good in the third quarter. “It could be that we were playing Detroit, you know, but I think everybody had that confidence.”
Players had the same reaction as the fans as the Lions jumped ahead by three scores.
“I was just like, ‘Wow, are you serious?’” Houshmandzadeh said. “But I honestly felt like we were going to win the game.”
After Hasselbeck’s first-play interception, he was 39 for 50 for 329 yards and a touchdown. Hasselbeck broke his own franchise record for completions in a game, and he also passed Dave Krieg as the team’s all-time leader in completions. After the Lions extended their lead to 17-0, the Seahawks answered with a 60-yard touchdown drive that started with seven straight passes – all completed – before Justin Forsett rushed for 14 yards. Jones scored two plays later on a 3-yard run and the comeback was on.
Detroit’s next possession lasted only five plays thanks to an interception by middle linebacker David Hawthorne. Hawthorne, who was making his third start in place of the injured Lofa Tatupu, finished with nine tackles and had two interceptions.
Hawthorne’s first interception led to a 37-yard field goal by Olindo Mare, who made four field goals Sunday and is now 9 for 9 on field goal attempts since drawing the ire of Mora with two misses in a Week 3 loss to Chicago.
The Seahawks (3-5) now travel to Arizona to face the NFC West-leading Cardinals.
“I’m worried about next week now,” Houshmandzadeh said, “because it’s a division opponent, they beat the hell out of us last time and if we’ve got any chance of making this a season, we’ve got to win.”
Seahawks 32, Lions 20
Detroit 17 0 0 3 — 20
Seattle 0 13 9 10 — 32
Det—Pettigrew 7 pass from Stafford (Hanson kick)
Det—B.Johnson 29 pass from Stafford (Hanson kick)
Det—FG Hanson 41
Sea—J.Jones 3 run (Mare kick)
Sea—FG Mare 37
Sea—FG Mare 37
Sea—FG Mare 24
Sea—Houshmandzadeh 2 pass from Hasselbeck (pass failed)
Sea—FG Mare 20
Det—FG Hanson 50
Sea—Wilson 61 interception return (Mare kick)
RUSHING—Detroit, K.Smith 13-67, Brown 4-27, Morris 4-20. Seattle, J.Jones 16-36, Forsett 1-14, Hasselbeck 1-5.
PASSING—Detroit, Stafford 22-42-5-203. Seattle, Hasselbeck 39-51-1-329, S.Wallace 1-1-0-15.
RECEIVING—Detroit, Pettigrew 7-70, FitzSimmons 6-41, B.Johnson 2-35, C.Johnson 2-27, Morris 2-17, K.Smith 2-9, T.Smith 1-4. Seattle, Burleson 7-75, J.Jones 6-78, Carlson 6-42, Houshmandzadeh 6-34, Forsett 5-45, Griffith 5-33, Branch 3-25, Butler 1-8, Schmitt 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Detroit, Hanson 34 (WR).