Seahawks survive mistakes, beat Titans
SEATTLE — Pete Carroll cracked jokes about decisions he regretted, and the odd plays and strange bounces on Sunday.
Seattle’s coach was in a mood to smile because Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman came through to keep the Seattle Seahawks perfect at home.
Lynch ran for two touchdowns and had 155 all-purpose yards, Sherman got his third interception of the season early in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks finally shook the Tennessee Titans for a 20-13 victory.
Seattle (5-1) won its 11th straight at home despite a long list of mistakes that allowed the Titans (3-3) to hang around in the game.
There was a careless turnover that ended one promising drive, a fortunate bounce that prevented another fumble and an unusual muffed field goal attempt that led to the Titans’ only touchdown on the final play of the first half.
Despite the miscues, Lynch, Sherman and another solid game from quarterback Russell Wilson were enough for Seattle to stay atop the NFC West.
“We kind of made it rough on ourselves today,” Carroll said. “We could have had a better day of it, but some stuff got away from us.”
Lynch finished with 77 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards, and a career-best 78 yards on four receptions. Wilson was 23 of 31 for 257 yards, and Seattle dominated in total yardage, outgaining the Titans 404-223.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, making his second start in place of injured starter Jake Locker, completed 17 of 29 passes for 171 yards and threw two interceptions for Tennessee.
He made the mistake to challenge Sherman on the first play after Seattle took a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Sherman didn’t get faked out on a double move and held position to easily make the interception.
“We’re putting ourselves in situations that you have to be perfect. You can’t make one mistake,” Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said.
Seattle turned the interception into points. Wilson found Sidney Rice for 24 yards to the Titans 3 and Lynch plowed in on the next play for a 10-point lead with 7:33 left.
“This is what we expect from one another,” Sherman said. “We expect these kinds of plays, this kind of effort and we feel like we just clean the plays up.”
Steven Hauschka kicked field goals of 31 and 29 yards in the second half for Seattle, but only after being injured in the first half, a development that led to a major special teams blunder and Tennessee’s touchdown.
Hauschka was plowed by Darius Raynaud during the kickoff return following Lynch’s first TD in the second quarter. Just before halftime, he was evaluated in the locker room for a possible concussion.
“That’s the first time I’ve been popped like that. Usually I come out OK, but that’s the first time I’ve taken it pretty bad,” Hauschka said.
Chris Maragos, a reserve safety, was asked to hold on a short field goal attempt by punter Jon Ryan on the final play of the half rather than Seattle going for it on third-and-goal at the 4.
Maragos, a holder in college, caught the snap cleanly, but it slipped as he placed it down.
Instead of falling on the ball, Maragos tried to make a play. He was stripped by Michael Griffin and Jason McCourty picked up the loose ball and raced 77 yards to give the Titans a 10-7 halftime lead.
Carroll said in hindsight he should have gone for it.
“It should have been better awareness by me,” Maragos said. “It’s really all my fault. I should have knelt down on it or threw it down or something.”
The mistakes continued on Seattle’s first possession of the second half. Rice caught his first pass of the game, only to fumble as he was spun to the ground.
Eventually the mistakes subsided for Seattle, although they were helped early in the fourth quarter by a lucky bounce following three plays that covered 78 yards, including Wilson’s 55-yard pass to Lynch.
On first down at the 2, Lynch ran to the left and had the ball knocked free by Moise Fokou. The ball bounced perfectly for Zach Brown, but he tried to pick it up and run. He never had control and it caromed into the arms of Wilson.
Instead of another costly red zone turnover, the Seahawks had second down at the 11. Hauschka eventually hit his second field goal.
“I felt like I was playing shortstop again,” Wilson said.
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