SEATTLE — From higher powers to mice and men, there are multiple warnings about attempting to plan. Often, a direction preferred is not the direction traveled. The ride can be circuitous and bumpy.
On Sunday, in the Seahawks discombobulated but nonetheless satisfying 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans at CenturyLink Field, Seattle took unanticipated routes.
Consider the largest gain of the day.
The Seahawks stood at their own 20-yard line on first down, tied 10-10 with a Titans team it was favored to beat by two touchdowns.
Quarterback Russell Wilson wheeled right; the offensive line flowed with him as did the Titans defense.
Coming out of the huddle, Wilson had told running back Marshawn Lynch that despite everything being designed to go elsewhere, he should be ready.
Hey, you never know, Wilson said.
Lynch slipped out of the chaos to a silent patch of turf on the backside. Wilson hit him for a 55-yard gain. Success came outside of the plan.
The Seahawks were undeterred by the mania that persisted much of Sunday and able to drag themselves to 5-1. Coupled with New Orleans late loss at New England, Seattle is back tied atop the NFC.
It was a weird game, center Max Unger said.
After kicker Steven Hauschka was bloodied when trying to make a tackle following a late second-quarter kick, the Seahawks were forced to use a backup crew to attempt a field goal just before the half.
Safety Chris Maragos, who held for four years in college, was the new holder. Punter Jon Ryan, typically the holder, lined up for a 21-yard attempt. Maragos didnt handle the snap, then fumbled when desperation settled in and spurred him to run. Titans cornerback Jason McCourty picked up the fumble and zipped up the left sideline for a 77-yard touchdown.
The Seahawks had killed the clock with a spike a play before. They had two seconds left and a decision. Looking at third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, head coach Pete Carroll sent out the makeshift kicking unit. Disaster followed.
I screwed it up, Carroll said. We should have just gone for it.
The Seahawks almost had another mess late in the fourth quarter. Lynch was popped at the Tennessee 2-yard line. The ball went airborne, Titans linebacker Zach Brown eyed it, the crowd braced. Brown tried to wrap his arms around the ball without success. It bounced off him, then the turf before it was fielded by former college shortstop Wilson.
I saw the big hop and went and got it, Wilson said.
The Seahawks picked up three points on the drive when Hauschka hit a 29-yard field goal. That pushed Seattle in front 13-10. A Lynch touchdown with 7:33 remaining put it up 20-10 in a day filled with Seahawks errors that at times cost them, at others were not cashed in.
Lynch fumbled. Fullback Derrick Coleman fumbled. Wide receiver Sidney Rice fumbled. Maragos fumbled. The ball was greased today, Carroll said.
Snuffing out the oddities was the Seahawks defense.
Bitter after last weeks busts against the Indianapolis Colts, the defense did not allow a touchdown. Safety Earl Thomas made his third interception of the season. Cornerback Richard Sherman pulled in his third, too.
The Seahawks controlled Titans running back Chris Johnson (12 carries for 33 yards) who has devolved from a rusher who gained 2,006 yards in 2009 to someone who was benched at one point Sunday.
Seattle trailed 3-0 when Tennessee kicker Rod Bironas hit a 38-yard field with 5:16 to go in the first quarter. Lynchs 1-yard touchdown run put the Seahawks in front before McCourtys stunning return gave the Titans the lead back.
Hauschka hit from 31 and 29 yards in the second half after passing halftime concussions tests. His only miss this year came when he had a kick blocked versus the Colts.
Like Hauschka, the Seahawks have one misstep though the past two weeks havent followed the expected route. Yet, the Seahawks are tied for the conference lead midway through October.
Theres 32 teams in the league, defensive end Red Bryant said. Im pretty sure a lot of them would like to be in the position were in.
firstname.lastname@example.org; blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks; @Todd_Dybas