Doug Baldwin’s 13-yard touchdown catch put Saturday’s wild-card playoff game out of reach, eliminating any hope of another fourth-quarter comeback by Detroit. It also put Baldwin in the Seahawks’ record books, giving him 42 career postseason receptions to surpass the previous mark held by Darrell Jackson.
One problem: It was supposed to be Jermaine Kearse’s ball.
Baldwin was mistakenly running a step behind Kearse as Russell Wilson lobbed up a pass toward the end zone on a second-and-9 play with 3:43 left. Kearse would have had it but Baldwin reached out to snag it with his left hand.
“I feel terrible about it,” Baldwin said after the Seahawks’ 26-6 victory.
He wasn’t kidding. Baldwin was genuinely remorseful, likely at least in part because of the way Kearse’s season has gone. He said he apologized to him.
“I mean, you guys laugh, but we work really, really hard, and every opportunity, every target is few and far between, and I wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” Baldwin said. “Fortunately enough, it worked out for us un terms of a touchdown. But I took away a touchdown from my brother and I feel terrible about it.”
Joked coach Pete Carroll about Baldwin’s accidental interception: “If he wants to play a little nickel, we might have to give him some work.”
Kearse still owns the franchise record for postseason touchdown catches with six. That was Baldwin’s fifth, part of another monster performance. He finished with 104 yards on 11 catches, another of which he made in a most unusual way.
Two plays before his touchdown catch, Baldwin bobbled a passed ball while falling to the ground and then pinned it against his rear end. Officials initially ruled it incomplete, but Baldwin lobbied Carroll to throw his challenge flag. It was overturned upon review, resulting in a 10-yard, butt-cheek-aided reception.
Carroll had to trust that Baldwin was right.
“He came back saying, ‘I caught the ball.’ There’s been a couple times over the years when I have not gone with that,” Carroll said. “You couldn’t see anything on the other times and he was right. I could not tell that he caught the ball. I give that one all to Doug. But I’m not telling him that I’ll do it next time, though. This time, we did.”
Wilson ditches knee brace
Wilson said he “definitely” felt more mobile Saturday while playing without a brace on his left knee for the first time since he sprained his MCL in Week 3. The stats certainly didn’t bear that out – Wilson finished with minus-3 yards rushing on three official carries – but there was one play in particular on which he looked like his usual speedy self. It was late in the third quarter, when Wilson sprinted downfield to block for Thomas Rawls on his 32-yard run.
Wilson said of his brace: “I’ve not been wearing it for the past five weeks in practice, but my philosophy in terms of it and with my trainers is that we wanted to be smart and wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to make the playoffs, then cut loose.”
Another kicking miscue
Seattle’s season-long struggles in the kicking game continued when Stephen Hauschka missed an extra point following Rawls’ fourth-quarter touchdown run, bouncing it off the upright.
Hauschka was 2 for 2 on field-goal attempts, connecting from 43 and 27 yards out. But his missed PAT was the latest instance of a troubling trend for the Seahawks. They missed six of them during the regular season, five of which were blocked. And even the longer of his two field goals was kicked low, barely getting through – but not above – the outstretched arms of some Lions defenders.
“I just think he has to believe in his rhythm,” Carroll said. “I think there’s a little leg-swing thing that he’s messing with at times. He kicked the ball great otherwise.”
Hauschka became Seattle’s all-time leading postseason scorer with a PAT in the first half.
• Carroll said fullback Marcel Reece “might have banged his foot up a little but tonight.” Carroll said Rawls “got beat down a little bit” while carrying 27 times, more work than he got in any game during the regular season. Rawls left briefly in the second half then returned. On the hit that knocked tight end Jimmy Graham out for a few plays in the first half, Carroll said he merely got the wind knocked out of him.