By Brien O’Donal
Follow me on Twitter @ODonalsVanguard
Heading into Seattle and CenturyLink Field is no joke for any team. The Seahawks haven’t been great offensively, but their defense has been pretty strong like always. But the Texans, a usually dominant defense, are now making a clear name for themselves offensively with Deshaun Watson under center. Going into week 8 there was an appearance that the strengths of each team would offset. At the end of the day the game divulged into a classic offensive shootout that would finish with the Seahawks walking out a winner.
The Texans jumped out to a an early 7-0 lead on a 5 play 75 yard drive that culminated in Will Fuller catching his 6th touchdown of the season on a 59 yard pass. That was the first points the Seahawks have given up in the first quarter all season. The Texans defense stepped up and forced a quick 3 and out, but the following Texans drive ended when Earl Thomas intercepted Watson for a 78 yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 apiece.
Houston came right back with good downfield passing and in 8 plays they were right back on top following a 3 yard run by Lamar Miller, 14-7. That didn’t last because the Seahawks put together their own 8 play drive that ended in a 20 yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Paul Richardson.
The teams traded punts and then Watson took control of the next dive. His scrambling ability really showed up at the right time as he kept the offense in good down a distance. It also took some courage from head coach Bill O’Brien to go for it on 4th and 1 near midfield. Miller got 2 yards and the drive continued all the way to a 20 yard touchdown pass from Watson to Fuller to make the score 21-14.
Not to be outdone Seattle took only 6 plays to get their touchdown to tie the game back up. After a 53 yard bomb to Taylor McEvoy, Russell Wilson threw his second touchdown to Paul Richardson. That would be the final score before the half, 21-21.
The second half stared much the same way as the first, alternate scoring. This time is was field goals that were traded early on. After the Seahawks got the second of those the Texans got the ball back looking to get something going. That drive wouldn’t get anything; Richard Sherman picked off the second play of the drive and returned it to the 16-yard line. A penalty would move it to the 8 yard line but the Texans defense would hold and get a win by forcing a field goal. The Seahawks now had their first lead of the game, 27-24.
The Seahawks entered the fourth quarter with a 3 point lead and a defense that has not allowed a score in those final minutes all year. They would start their first drive of the quarter from the 4 yard line after a great punt by the Texans special teams unit but did nothing with it.
It was no longer time to play around. Watson took over at his own 29 yard line and with the help of to 30 plus yard plays gave the Texans the lead again with about 9 minutes left in the game. Miller got his second touchdown of the game with a 2 yard catch in the middle of the field. The Texans now led 30-27. Their defense would have to step up and get the ball back from Russell Wilson.
It didn’t look good though. In 5 plays the Seahawks moved the ball 65 yards into the red zone and had goal to go. Russell Wilson got his third touchdown pass of the day, tossing a 1 yard score to Jimmy Graham to get the lead back 34-31. There was still plenty of time left for the Texans to finish off the game strong. It didn’t quite work out that way.
A huge 72 yard play from DeAndre Hopkins swung the momentum back the Texans way. The score was now 38-34 Texans, the fourth lead change of the game; all in the second half. Seattle came right back, getting the ball all the way down to the Texans 20 yard. It looked like they were going to score another go ahead touchdown but Marcus Williams had other plans. He picked off a Wilson pass right outside the goal line and returned it back to the 8 yard line giving the Texans the ball and a chance to take a lot of time off the clock.
After all running plays by the Texans, Seattle was out of timeouts. They threw the ball downfield right away, getting 48 yards on a great catch by Paul Richardson. Another chunk play got 19 yards and Wilson followed that up with an 18 yard touchdown to Jimmy Graham, his second one of the day. Seattle now led 41-38. There was only 21 seconds left on the clock and the Texans had 2 timeouts. It didn’t matter as Richard Sherman intercepted his second pass of the day and sealed the last second win for Seattle.
The Texans offense was great in this game. The Seahawks have been limiting the scoring of their opponents and that has helped their own offense. Houston came right out and punched them in the mouth with quick scores. That helped set the tone for the game and forced them to step it up offensively. They realized they couldn’t sit back and expect their defense to help them win this game by keeping the score low. This was true for both teams as there was 79 points scored combined on the day.
Watson finished the day 19-30 for 402 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He became the first rookie to throw at least 3 touchdown passes in 5 straight games and has also managed 30 or more points in those games. Will Fuller continues to catch touchdown passes, hauling in 2 today and upping his season total to 7 on 13 receptions for the season. Lamar Miller ran for one and caught another for the other 2 touchdowns the Texans scored. Hopkins had his big played that might have given the Texans a big win, but it was the great play of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks defense that send Houston home losers.
The Texans are now 3-4 on the season and head into a game at home against the Colts. With their newfound offensive prowess they should be able to get their record back even with a divisional win.