Seahawks lose late lead then beat Broncos 26-20 in OT
It was unbelievable.
Not the fact that the Seahawks beat the Broncos 26-20 in overtime at CenturyLink Field.
No, the unbelievable part was just how hard it was for Seattle to shut the door on a Denver team that it outplayed for three quarters and held an eight-point lead on with 59 seconds left.
And yet it took an overtime drive engineered by Russell Wilson, culminating in a 6-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch to win the game without Denver ever having a chance to even get the ball in overtime.
That ended a game that was certainly closer than the Super Bowl these two teams played back in February, and in fact, it was closer than it had to be.
The Seahawks held an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter, and the Broncos got the ball with 59 seconds left. They only needed 41, driving 80 yards in six plays before scoring a touchdown and then tying the game with a two-point conversion to Demaryius Thomas.
Seattle outscored Denver 17-3 in the first three quarters, the Broncos’ offense crossing midfield only once. The Broncos outscored the Seahawks 17-3 in the fourth quarter, gaining more yards in the final period (168) than they did in the first three quarters combined (164).
Yet as much as Denver moved the ball in the final period, you couldn’t help but feel the Seahawks had let the Broncos back in the game. The Seahawks had a field-goal attempt tipped in the third quarter, running back Marshawn Lynch was tackled in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter and then Wilson was picked off for the first time all season, his pass intended for Percy Harvin tipped by Aqib Talib and intercepted by Chris Harris Jr., setting up the Broncos for their first touchdown.
It was a comeback that was impossible to see coming after a first half in which the Broncos didn’t start all that much better than they did in the Super Bowl, when they allowed a safety on their first play and wound up losing by 35 points.
The Broncos didn’t give up any points on their first play from scrimmage. They did give up the ball, Montee Ball fumbling it away, but not points like the safety on the first play of the Super Bowl.
After all the offseason additions, the Broncos still couldn’t run the ball against Seattle, they couldn’t throw the ball deep and all of Peyton Manning’s experience and understanding couldn’t find enough room underneath Seattle’s defense to make a difference.
Manning was good. Not quite great, maybe, but really good. He completed 11 of 16 passes in the first half, was never sacked and didn’t get picked off. But none of those 11 completions gained more than 20 yards. In fact, only three completions gained more than 10 yards.
Wilson, meanwhile, had a pair of big completions, including a 39-yard throw to Ricardo Lockette, who outfought Talib, the cornerback Denver signed in the offseason.
That was one of Wilson’s two touchdown passes in the first half as he completed 11 of 13 throws for 138 yards while Lynch had 46 yards rushing and a touchdown catch. Through three games, Lynch has scored four touchdowns with his four scores divided evenly between rushing and receiving.
On the other hand, Denver couldn’t run the ball. At all. The Broncos’ longest carry was the 9-yard run by Ball to start the game. The one where he fumbled the ball away.
The Broncos had 15 yards rushing at halftime. Total.
Their offense didn’t improve all that much in the second half. It was Denver’s defense that set the stage for a comeback, first with a fourth-quarter safety as Wilson was sacked at Seattle’s 1 and then Lynch was stuffed in the end zone on the next play.
While Seattle’s defense forced a punt on the Broncos’ ensuing possession, Seattle’s offense handed the ball right back as Wilson’s pass to Harvin was tipped by Talib and intercepted by Chris Harris Jr. The Broncos turned that into their first touchdown, Manning shoveling the ball to tight end Julius Thomas for a 4-yard score.
And in the final 5 minutes, the Broncos had the ball in Seattle territory trailing by five points, driving as far as the Seattle 23. Then, on third down Manning threw a pass for Wes Welker only to have safety Kam Chancellor jump up and intercept it with both hands and returned it to Denver’s half of the field. It set up Steven Hauschka’s 28-yard field goal with 59 seconds left, which appeared to have cinched the game.
It didn’t turn out to be quite that easy, but even the Broncos’ last-minute comeback couldn’t keep Seattle from winning.