Seahawks make some important headway
SEATTLE — For a half, lightning slipped back into the bottle for the Seattle Seahawks.
The magic that had carried the Seahawks to glory in recent years — and had eluded them through much of the first 3 1/2 games of this season — was back.
Seattle outscored Indianapolis 36-3 in the second half en route to a 46-18 victory Sunday night at CenturyLink Field, a performance that had the Seahawks in an ebullient mood.
"Winners find a way to win," said quarterback Russell Wilson, a catalyst on the offensive side with both his arm and his legs. "That's what we were able to do tonight.
"We were electric. The crowd was electric. We were able to use that energy and make some key things happen."
The Seahawks (2-2) went into the game two-touchdown favorites over the Colts (1-3), who, without injured quarterback Andrew Luck, are clearly on the lower end of the NFL spectrum.
At halftime, Indianapolis led 15-10, and the Seahawks were looking at the very real possibility of a 1-3 start. Then they closed with the highest-scoring second half in the franchise's 42-year history.
"We're a veteran, championship ballclub," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "We've been in a lot of dogfights. Football is an incredibly humbling game. You have to bring it every week.
"If you're out there sugarfooting, you'll get your heads caved in by a team you're supposed to beat. I hope this sparks us for the rest of the season."
Wilson was terrific, completing 21 of 26 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns — though with two interceptions — while running four times for 38 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown on a scramble that got the Hawks going in the third quarter.
But Seattle also got a lift from several unsung players, notably cornerback Justin Coleman and running back J.D. McKissic, both little-used reserves pressed into duty by injuries to regulars.
Coleman stepped in front of a sideline pass by Colts QB Jacoby Brissett — who was making his first career start on the road — and returned the interception 28 yards for a TD and an early 10-2 lead.
McKissic, a second-year pro who ran the ball twice all of last season, scored a touchdown on his first carry of this season — from 30 yards — and added a TD on his first reception of the season — from 27 yards — while filling in for injured Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise.
"You're frigging juiced for them when they do that," Sherman said. "It's cool for those guys to see their hard work get rewarded."
It took awhile for the Hawks to get going. They had 80 yards total offense until the final 25 seconds of the second quarter, when they moved 60 yards to get into field-goal position. Then Blair Walsh missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, and the Colts went into intermission ahead 15-10.
"We talked all week about this game as an opportunity to take the next step and get this thing moving," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "At halftime, you couldn't tell.
"The third quarter, the offense went right down the field and scored, and it just took off from there."
Seattle finished with 489 yards, but the Hawks also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns — on Coleman's pick-six and on linebacker Bobby Wagner's 21-yard return of a fumble recovery in the third quarter.
"What a night of football," Carroll said. "I had a blast seeing our guys turn it around. Both sides of the ball played well. Special teams were very solid. It just took us awhile."
Wilson — now 36-6 as a starter in home games, three wins shy of the NFL record of 39 home wins in a quarterback's first six NFL seasons held by Baltimore's Joe Flacco — was at his best moving around the pocket. In the third quarter, Wilson scrambled away from pressure on third-and-10 and found Tyler Lockett for 41 yards. That set up a 6-yard Wilson-to-Luke Willson pass play for a touchdown and an insurmountable 39-18 lead.
"That energy is what we need," Wilson said. "It's not just from me. It's from other guys. It's what guys give to our offense from the defensive side, and what the offense gives the defense.
"When we play team football, it's tough to beat us. That second half, we clicked on all cylinders at the same time."
The Seahawks are going through some injury problems, most notably at running back. Rawls (ankle) and Prosise (shoulder) sat out Sunday's game, and their replacement against the Colts, rookie Chris Carson, went down in the second half with a leg injury that Carroll would term only as "significant."
McKissic and veteran Eddie Lacy, who gained 52 yards on 11 carries, filled in admirably.
"I was thrilled by the way J.D. jumped onto the scene," Carroll said. "He's been practicing great for us. He just hadn't had his shot yet. I was catching it on the sidelines tonight from a couple of guys who said, 'Why did it take so long?' When he got his shot, he did it perfectly for us."
The Seahawks now venture to Los Angeles next Sunday for a meeting with the Rams (3-1), who lead the NFC West Division after a 35-30 victory over Dallas.
"The Rams are playing really good football," QB Wilson said. "To get that win against a good Dallas team. … (quarterback) Jared Goff is playing good football. Their defense always plays great. They have a good energy right now.
"The group of players they have is spectacular. It's going to be tough challenge. We're looking forward to it."
Carroll is feeling much better about the Seahawks' situation than he did a week ago.
"I wish we'd be a little better off in the division right now, but the Rams are doing a great job," he said. "We get a chance to deal with that next week.
"This week was really important for us to make some progress. We made a lot of headway tonight. We have two wins at home. This one was special. We really connected to what it's supposed to feel like."