SEATTLE — Calm with measured answers, wide receiver Doug Baldwin explained that the extraordinary has become ordinary for the Seattle Seahawks.
The team’s resuscitations from dismal circumstance are occurring so often, they seem to have all the flamboyance of toast to the Seahawks.
“It’s kind of normal for us at this point,” Baldwin said.
Normal this time was the largest comeback in franchise history. After trailing by 21 points during a first-half skull-thumping, the Seahawks moved to 8-1 with a 27-24 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Beating the Bucs allowed the Seahawks to sidestep infamy as the first team to lose to the hapless crew from Tampa Bay (0-8) this season.
It also trumped a rally from
20 points behind at Denver in 1995 for the new franchise comeback mark.
It felt like the reawakening against the Houston Texans in Week 4, when the Seahawks returned from a 17-point halftime deficit to win in overtime.
It carried atrocious stretches of play trumped by Russell Wilson’s majesty and Seattle’s defensive shifts.
“It doesn’t matter what adversity we are going to face, whatever the deficit it is, we are going to pull it out,” Baldwin said. “I don’t think we doubted it one bit. We’ve been in these types of situations before. Never 21-0 before, but we’ve been in situations where we’ve had to crawl back. It’s kind of in our nature.”
Tampa Bay took a 21-0 first-half lead. Its high score previously this season was 23.
Wilson was intercepted. Lakes High School product Jermaine Kearse fumbled a kick return. Bucs rookie backup running back Mike James ran for 82 yards in the first two quarters, continuing issues the
St. Louis Rams highlighted last Monday night as they gouged the Seahawks’ run defense.
Tampa Bay converted a staggering seven of eight third-down attempts. Quarterback Mike Glennon had completed 10 of 11 passes at halftime.
The first half turned heads around the NFL. The Seahawks were being bludgeoned at home by the dregs of the league.
“It ain’t the outcome we wanted to start out with,” cornerback Brandon Browner said.
Kearse scored with 1:40 remaining in the first half as a first step toward change. Former Washington State kicker Rian Lindell’s
33-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half capped the Bucs’ glory.
“The way it was going before that, who would have believed that?” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Glennon began to see more pressure. Wilson started to extend more plays. Marshawn Lynch, who carried 21 times for 125 yards six days after getting just eight carries in St. Louis, began to bang away.
Wilson scored on a zone-read quick snap from 10 yards out toward the end of the third quarter.
Then, Golden Tate struck.
Countering common tactics, Tate fielded a punt at his own 4. He accelerated, stiff-armed, cut back and spun his way to a 71-yard return, setting up the Seahawks at the Bucs’ 25-yard line.
Steven Hauschka kicked a 36-yard field goal 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, cutting the Seahawks’ deficit to a touchdown.
The resurrection stalled when Wilson was intercepted on a first-and-goal play from the Bucs’ 3 with 7:59 remaining.
The Seahawks again chose to use Lynch as a goal-line decoy, running play-action to him. Wilson was intercepted when Tampa Bay safety Keith Tandy leaped to tip the pass then pulled it in.
The stall was temporary. Seattle’s defense forced its first three-and-out of the game. Wilson, who took numerous connective tissue-challenging hits, zinged a pass to Baldwin for the tying score with 1:51 remaining.
Tampa Bay gained three yards in the first possession of overtime before eventually punting. The Seahawks ran eight plays, six of which were Lynch runs, to turn the winning field goal into a mere 27-yard attempt.
Only one NFC team has just one loss after the first nine weeks. It’s the Seahawks, who have trailed by 17 or more points at halftime twice this season and won both games.
“You’ve got to rise up to the occasion,” Wilson said. “You can’t be timid.”
It’s the new normal.