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Seahawks run to victory in Washington

Gregg Bell Tacoma News Tribune
LANDOVER, Md. – Richard Sherman put it best. As usual. The outspoken, often dead-on All-Pro cornerback felt this Seahawks win should have been by, oh, five touchdowns instead of 10 points? “A lot of me thinks that. It should have been 45-10,” Sherman said inside the visitors’ locker room beneath FedEx Field Monday night. “There was never a point where we were worried. “I mean, we were in control.” Of everything but the laundry. Three touchdowns by Percy Harvin negated by penalties of all kinds, squandering what could have been a career night for the electric wide receiver/runner. Thirteen flags in all turned what started out as – what should have been – a sprint past Washington into a slog. But Russell Wilson’s season of remarkable improvisation continued with more spinning scrambles, pirouette throws and record-setting rushing for a quarterback. That included his 9-yard touchdown pass to a rested Marshawn Lynch midway through the fourth quarter – following a fake field goal run for a first down by punter-holder Jon Ryan – and the Seahawks overcame themselves to win 27-17 Monday night at FedEx Field. Wilson finished with 122 yards on 11 rushes, many of them past flailing defenders for Washington (1-4). That set Seattle and Monday Night Football records for a quarterback rushing. Another coolly efficient passing night from Wilson – 18 completions in 24 attempts for 201 yards and two touchdowns – became almost an afterthought amid all his running. “Russell just had a phenomenal game,” coach Pete Carroll said. As Sherman noted, it was far more difficult for the Super Bowl champions than it should have been. The outcome that seemed so certain when the Seahawks took an early 10-0 lead wasn’t finalized until Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining. It came after Carroll called a timely timeout just before the snap –  before Hauschka missed wide on a cancelled try. “Yeah, it could have been a really big night for us,” Carroll said after the Seahawks gained 403 yards – 225 of that on the ground – despite not being able to get out of their own way with all the false starts and holding penalties. Yet the bottom line: The Seahawks (3-1) moved into a tie atop the NFC West with Arizona, which is now on its third quarterback after injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. The Seahawks gained 242 of the game’s first 269 yards. They scored six touchdowns, but only three counted after costly penalties from offensive linemen Russell Okung and James Carpenter and a false start by Percy Harvin nullified scores. Harvin also had a long touchdown pass from Wilson in the fourth quarter called back by an unnecessary roughness foul on Carpenter after he had pinned his defender to the ground in pass protection. That created a first-and-25 – yet Wilson and Marshawn Lynch overcame that on a drive that ended with their connection for the key touchdown that made it 24-10 with just over six minutes to go. Lynch had 72 yards rushing on 17 carries. Wilson’s 80 yards rushing in the first quarter alone – 22 away from his career high and team record for a quarterback set last October at Indianapolis. But Wilson was running because he had to. Seattle’s offensive line continued its two-season problem of porous pass protection. That is, when it wasn’t committing penalties. Harvin ran so wild he scored two touchdowns on one drive, neither of which counted. Wilson improvised on pass calls because he had to. And the defense playing almost flawlessly – aside from what Sherman said was a perfect play call by Washington on a 60-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to DeSean Jackson that beat outside-playing safety Kam Chancellor on an out-and-up route for Washington’s lone touchdown of the first 56 minutes. That’s how Seattle led 17-7 at halftime. Seattle held Alfred Morris, who rushed for nearly 2,900 yards the last two seasons and was fifth in the league at 79 yards per game coming in, to 29 yards on 13 carries. Washington had just 32 yards on 17 total runs. The Seahawks came in allowing only 72 yards rushing per game, the fifth-lowest total in the league. That average is trending way down, with Dallas and league-leading rusher Demarco Murray on their way to Seattle. “Tackling,” said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who had eight stops including three tackles for losses. “We are doing a great job tackling this season.” Left guard Carpenter needlessly bear-hugged end Jason Hatcher from behind just as Harvin – who lined up in the backfield Monday far more than in the previous three games – was speeding around Washington’s slow end for what would have been a 16-yard scoring run. “I am going to go apologize to Percy,” Carpenter said, almost sheepishly. Then Harvin apparently was called for “flinching,” in the word of referee Jeff Triplette, just before the snap before he caught a short pass and ran in for another would-be TD on that same drive in the second quarter. It ended with a Hauschka 40-yard field goal instead for a 10-0 lead.
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