Late-game heroics are becoming old hat for Russell Wilson.
The Seattle rookie quarterback again showed why coach Pete Carroll named him the starting signal-caller for this young and improving team.
For the second time in four weeks, Wilson led the Seahawks to a game-winning score.
Wilson threw a perfect pass to Sidney Rice for a 46-yard touchdown with just over a minute to play in the game, giving Seattle a signature win over one of the most successful franchises in the league, 24-23, over visiting New England.
It doesnt matter the situation, it doesnt matter the score were going to fight for 60 minutes, Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. And Im just happy that its turning out our way.
Trailing 23-10 with 9:21 to play, things looked dire for the Sea-hawks, playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 68,137 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon.
Last season, the Seahawks were 0-for-5 in situations where they needed at least a field goal to win or extend a game into overtime.
But Wilson already proved more than capable of catapulting his team to victory in the fourth quarter, leading Seattle to a debatable, 14-12 win over Green Bay on a Monday night, Sept. 24.
The Seahawks cut New Englands lead to 23-17 on a five-play, 83-yard drive, when Wilson found receiver Braylon Edwards on a fade route for a 10-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-3 play.
The touchdown was set up by a 51-yard completion to Golden Tate from Wilson.
Wilson darted the ball to Edwards back shoulder, away from New England cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who was called for pass interference on the play.
Russell saw where the defense was playing, and he took a shot, Edwards said.
Seattles defense twice stalled New Englands offense to force punts late in the fourth quarter. And with 2:38 remaining, Seattle had one final shot to take the lead.
The Seahawks received a boost in field position after a 25-yard punt return by Leon Washington. Starting on his own 43, Wilson bolted into New England territory on a 9-yard scramble.
Two plays later, Wilson bootlegged to his right after a play-action fake to running back Marshawn Lynch, and hit Rice streaking down the middle of the field for the equalizing score. Steven Hauschkas PAT kick provided the go-ahead margin.
Rice finished with a team high three catches for 81 yards.
When I gave him the corner move, his job is to protect that half of the field, Rice said about New England safety Tavon Wilson. And he bit down on it. So it was basically a double move, and I was able to get across his face.
New Englands Tom Brady still had 1:18 to get his team into field goal position, but Seattles defense forced the Patriots to turn the ball over on downs when receiver Wes Welker was tackled a couple of yards short of the first down marker by linebacker Bobby Wagner on a fourth-and-17 play from his own 13.
Wilson knelt down twice to seal the win.
For a second straight week, Wilsons final numbers were impressive. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked twice, and scrambled around for another 17 yards. He also fumbled on a sack by New England rookie Chandler Jones.
Wilson finished with a 133.7 passer rating. He had six completions of 20 yards or more.
I think Im just more experienced, Wilson said about his improved play. Being in those situations, you really have to trust what you see, and you really have to be quick with your decisions, but also believe in your decisions and just be decisive with the football.
In the battle of Seattles No. 1-ranked defense against the Patriots No. 1-ranked offense, Brady proved to be a formidable challenge.
The 13-year veteran passed for 395 yards and two TDs on 36-of-58 accuracy.
Bradys favorite target was Welker, who finished with a game-high 10 receptions for 138 yards.
But Brady also threw two interceptions, one to Earl Thomas in the end zone and another to Richard Sherman where he tried to force a fade route to former Seattle receiver Deion Branch.
Brady was sacked only once, but also had two intentional grounding calls, including one that cost the Patriots a chance to add to their 17-10 halftime lead.
The key for Seattles defense was holding Brady and the Patriots to one TD in six red zone opportunities. The touchdown was a 1-yard pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez, with New England taking advantage of a matchup against safety Jeron Johnson.
The Seahawks (4-2) dont have much time to savor this one. They are tied for the NFC West division lead with Arizona and San Francisco, after both lost on Sunday.
The Seahawks will try for their first division win on Thursday when they play the Niners in San Francisco.
Theyre going to be amped up and ready to go, Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said about the 49ers. The fact of the matter is weve got to figure out what our game plan is going to be. Weve got to take this momentum and parlay it into going into Thursday night. Its going to be a big game.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/