INDIANAPOLIS — Seattle Seahawks safety Jeron Johnson could only chuckle afterward.
He saw the loose ball head into the end zone after Jermaine Kearse blocked a first-quarter punt Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
Johnson sprinted after it, dived on it and thought he smothered the ball with his body as he slid out of the end zone.
The initial call on the field was a safety. Like all scoring plays in the NFL, it was reviewed.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll was so sure at one point that the call would be overturned, he threw his hands in the air during a commercial break.
The bad news for the Seahawks came shortly afterward when the play was confirmed as a safety.
“My thought was, ‘Get on the ball before it went out the back of the end zone,’ ” Johnson said. “I felt like I got it and covered it inbounds. (I) had control of it. (It) looked like I had control of it before it went out of bounds … ”
The call put the Seahawks in front, 12-0. It prevented them from being up, 17-0.
“Obviously, 17 would have looked a little bit grim,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. “Twelve looked a lot better than 17. It could have been (a bigger hole), but our guys just hung in there.”
This was a rare strong start by the Seahawks, who entered the game with just 10 first-quarter points this season.
“We knew we were off to a good start,” Carroll said. “We could feel that. We were ready to go and playing well. Not getting the points on the blocked kick, which could have been, that could’ve been a much different margin, and unfortunately that didn’t go for us.
“He had the ball in his chest, and they didn’t see it that way. What I was told was they saw the ball wasn’t secure.”
Johnson said he would take the same approach if the play happened again. Immediately after the play, he thought about what would have happened if he just tapped the ball back into the field. What he didn’t know was the two players directly behind him were Seahawks safety Chris Maragos and fullback Derrick Coleman.
“I tried to recover the ball, which I did,” Johnson said.
Johnson hurt his hamstring on the opening kickoff in Week 1 against Carolina and was out until Sunday. He finished with one special teams tackle.
UNGER OUT AGAIN
Pro Bowl center Max Unger was inactive again Sunday, leaving the Seahawks with three reserves on the offensive line for the second consecutive week. Lemuel Jeanpierre started again in Unger’s place. Paul McQuistan was at left tackle for the injured Russell Okung and rookie Michael Bowie was at right tackle for the injured Breno Giacomini.
Also out of action was veteran tight end Zach Miller. Rookie Luke Willson started.
“It was going to be a miracle if (Miller and Unger) made it through,” Carroll said. “We just needed to wait and do the right thing. It’s a long season.
“Like I’ve been saying all along, we’ve been trying to take the conservative route with these guys returning so that they’ll be there for the long haul, and that was the right decision.”
WILSON ON THE RUN
The Colts had two sacks, both by menace Robert Mathis, and were able to flush quarterback Russell Wilson out of the pocket often. That sent Wilson on the run.
He ran for 102 yards on 13 carries, many of them scrambles up the middle, for his first NFL 100-yard rushing game. Marshawn Lynch also ran for 102 yards on 17 carries.
Wilson has 179 yards rushing the past two weeks behind the makeshift offensive line.
“Just the flow of the game,” Wilson said. “The thing for me is I am always going through my progressions, so, if it’s not there for me, I am just trying to step up and get something positive for us.”
Wilson was less successful with his arm. His 15-for-31 (48.4 percent) passing included missing an open Golden Tate down the right sideline with 25 seconds to go in the second quarter. If Wilson was on point, the Seahawks would have had a touchdown. Instead, the drive ended without points.
“I honestly thought that was right on the money,” Wilson said. “I was just about a half-a-foot too far.”
Willson made two catches for 28 yards. … Seahawks QB B.J. Daniels, CB Jeremy Lane, FB Spencer Ware and DE Benson Mayowa were inactive. … The Lucas Oil Stadium roof was closed because of rain. … The Colts distributed 66,608 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas