By Brady Henderson
News that Braylon Edwards would join fellow Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin on the inactives list looked like bad news for a passing offense that was already limited. The Seahawks were on the road, where rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has struggled this season even when he’s had a full compliment of receivers.
But against seemingly long odds, Wilson had arguably his best game, albeit in a losing effort.
Wilson was 25 of 35 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The yardage was his second-highest total of the season, and it was the first game in which he completed 20 passes.
After struggling in previous road starts, Russell Wilson completed 71 percent of his passes while throwing for 236 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on Sunday. (AP)
The Seahawks offense had come up short in the final minutes of close road losses earlier this season, but on Sunday Wilson led a 12-play drive that ended with a go-ahead touchdown with 5:27 remaining only to see the Lions respond with a touchdown of their own. Wilson was 6 of 8 on that drive, capping it with a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller.
“I thought he was really solid. I thought he was really good,” coach Pete Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday.
“I think we helped him again. We were able to get the ball on the perimeter a little more. We got the ball in guys’ hands where they were running with the football. Golden [Tate] looked good. We really wanted to get Sidney [Rice] and Golden the football and really emphasize that, to start to feel the continuity of where the ball is going. I think you saw that.”
Tate led the Seahawks with 64 yards receiving, catching all seven passes thrown his way. It was a performance he needed to quell some of the criticisms stemming from a mistake-filled performance in last week’s loss to the 49ers. One of his season-high seven receptions on Sunday came on a fourth-and-2 quick slant that was similar to a pass he dropped against San Francisco.
“It was important to see him respond from Monday on last week – he did,” Carroll said. “He got the message that some plays got away from him – not just the plays that you’re looking at; I’m talking about plays downfield, blocking and things. There was a few things there that we were talking to him about, and he took it to heart. He had a great week in preparation.”
Rice had 55 yards receiving, and one of his season-high six grabs gave the Seahawks their second touchdown. He and Tate, the Seahawks’ top two receivers, combined for 13 of the team’s 25 receptions.
“That’s a really good output,” Carroll said.
It could have been better had Rice hauled in a deep pass that went off his fingertips. On Seattle’s first possession of the second half, Rice got behind Detroit’s secondary deep down the middle of the field only to short-arm a well-placed throw from Wilson. It wasn’t an easy catch, but one that a No. 1 receiver should make.
“I was running it down and misjudged it and didn’t get my arms out there far enough,” Rice told “Bob and Groz” on Monday. “That’s one we would definitely like to have back – or I would.”
That would have added 56 yards and another touchdown to Wilson’s totals. More importantly, it would have given the Seahawks seven points on a drive in which they came away with none.
Wilson entered the game having thrown all seven of his interceptions on the road. His interception Sunday came in the third quarter on another deep attempt to Rice. He and Wilson said miscommunication was a factor. Carroll called it a “bonehead throw.”
But even with that interception and the missed deep shot, it was a major step forward for Wilson and the Seahawks’ passing offense.
“It was on the verge of [being] a great game for Russell,” Carroll said. “He’s shown that he can do the things we need to do – again – and we do continue to grow.”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share additional thoughts on the Seahawks’ improved passing offense in the video below.
You can listen to Monday’s podcast here.