By Danny O’Neil
INDIANAPOLIS — It was a game the Seahawks didn’t have any business winning, but one you couldn’t believe they lost.
A game in which Seattle was missing three starting offensive linemen and its best tight end, and yet jumped out to a 12-0 lead.
It was weird, Seattle blocking a punt for a safety and having a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. It was wild, with the Colts scoring 11 points in the final 9 minutes as Andrew Luck pulled off the ninth fourth-quarter comeback of his NFL career.
And ultimately, Seattle’s 34-28 loss at Indianapolis will be a game that leaves the Seahawks kicking themselves not just because they kicked four field goals in the game, three coming in the second half. Not because they gave up two touchdowns on plays that spanned more than 60 yards.
They will be kicking themselves because this is a game in which Seattle outgained Indianapolis despite being undermanned up front on offense. And Seattle looked like it might pull it out right until the final 2 minutes, holding the ball 58 yards away from the game-winning touchdowns only to have three incompletions followed by a fourth-down interception as quarterback Russell Wilson was clobbered by linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
The significance: The Seahawks were 4-0 for the first time in franchise history and seeking to remain unbeaten. Wilson rushed for 102 yards, a career-high in the NFL. Seattle allowed the most points it has given up in any game since Oct. 30, 2011.
Play of the game: Seattle faced third-and-2 with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks called the read option, which has been so very effective. Freeman stuck to Wilson, who kept the ball and looked to run. Freeman didn’t let Wilson get close to making the first down, tackling him for no gain and forcing the Seahawks to punt with just over 6 minutes to play.
Turning point: It happened in the replay booth. After officials on the field ruled that Colts receiver Reggie Wayne went out of bounds just short of the first down on third-and-4 in the fourth quarter, Indianapolis challenged the ruling, and after consulting the replay, officials determined Wayne had in fact gained enough for the first down.
Player of the game: T.Y. Hilton was indisputably productive with a career-high 140 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He was also effectively theatrical, drawing a pass-interference penalty against both Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. Each penalty occurred on third down. Both kept what turned out to be touchdown drives alive.
The good: Seattle scored on its first possession for the first time this season, Steven Hauschka kicking a 42-yard field goal. It was the fourth time in five games Seattle scored first. Golden Tate’s 10-yard touchdown catch with just over 6 minutes left in the first quarter gave Seattle as many points in the first 8:46 against Indianapolis as the Seahawks had scored in the first quarters of their first four games combined. Jermaine Kearse blocked a first-quarter Indianapolis punt, which rolled into the end zone. Jeron Johnson tried to grab it, but officials ruled he slid out of bounds before gaining possession. Seattle was awarded a safety, its second of the season. Hauschka kicked four field goals, the most for Seattle in any game since Dec. 23, 2011.
The bad: The Seahawks gave up a 73-yard touchdown pass from Luck to Hilton in the first quarter, the longest completion allowed by Seattle since Dec. 23, 2007. Hauschka’s 48-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter was blocked and returned 61 yards for a touchdown by the Colts. It was the first time since 1988 the Seahawks had a blocked field-goal attempt returned for a touchdown against them. The Seahawks allowed an opposing receiver to finish with more than 100 yards receiving for the second consecutive game.
The ugly: Seattle’s final play of the first half. The Seahawks went for it on fourth-and-10 from the Indianapolis 41. Wilson had the ball stripped as he was in the pocket, scooped up by a Colts defensive back who ran the ball back to Seattle’s half of the field before he had the ball stripped away by Marshawn Lynch. The first half ended in a dog pile. Also, the record must show that Colts defensive back Delano Howell got chased down from behind by Seattle’s punter, Jon Ryan. While Ryan failed to make the tackle, still, that happened.
Go figure: Seattle outgained Indianapolis 267 yards to 117, the Seahawks had three times as many first downs and held the ball twice as long yet led 19-17 at halftime.
Seattle: FB Spencer Ware, DE Benson Mayowa, QB B.J. Daniels, TE Zach Miller, C Max Unger, RT Breno Giacomini, CB Jeremy Lane. Indianapolis: S LaRon Landry, FB Stanley Havili, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, OT Xavier Nixon, LB Bjoern Werner, DT Montori Hughes, DT Ricky Jean Francois.