Richard Sherman put it best. As usual.
How much of the outspoken, often dead-on All-Pro cornerback felt this Seahawks win should have been by, oh, five touchdowns instead of 10 points?
“A lot of me thinks that. It should have been 45-10,” Sherman said inside the visitors’ locker room beneath FedEx Field Monday night. “There was never a point where we were worried.
“I mean, we were in control.”
Of everything but the laundry.
Penalties of all kinds negated three touchdowns by Percy Harvin, ruining what could have been a career-high night for the electric wide receiver/runner. He said he hasn’t had a three-TD game since maybe high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“I’ve never seen that,” Sherman said. “I feel bad for Percy. You can’t call back all of his touchdowns.”
Thirteen Seattle flags in all turned what started out as — what should have been — a sprint past Washington into a slog.
But Russell Wilson’s season of remarkable improvisation continued with more spinning scrambles, pirouette throws and record-setting rushing for a quarterback. His 9-yard touchdown pass to rested Marshawn Lynch midway through the fourth quarter — following a fake-field goal run for a first down by punter-holder Jon Ryan — allowed the Seahawks to overcome themselves and win, 27-17, Monday night at FedEx Field.
“Every win is not going to be pretty,” Harvin said, who also lined up as a tailback on left sweeps plus as the kickoff returner that Washington refused to kick to, for far more impact than his line of four catches for 27 yards and two rushes for seven more indicates.
“You are going to have those ugly wins sometimes.”
About the only thing pretty on offense was Wilson. Again.
Among the league’s leaders in passer rating coming in, Wilson finished with 122 yards on 11 rushes. He did spins, roll-outs and sprints past flailing defenders for Washington (1-4) to set Seattle and Monday Night Football records for rushing by a quarterback. Another coolly efficient game by Wilson throwing — 18 completions in 24 attempts for 201 yards and two touchdowns — became almost an afterthought amid all his romping.
“Russell just had a phenomenal game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “This is the guy we’ve been winning with.”
As Sherman noted, it was far more difficult for the Super Bowl champions than it should have been.
The outcome that seemed to certain when the Seahawks took a 10-0 lead early wasn’t finalized until Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining. That came after Carroll called a most-timely timeout just before the snap, just before Hauschka missed wide on a cancelled try.
The Seahawks gained 403 yards — 225 of that on the ground — despite not being able to get out of its own way with all the false starts and holding penalties.
“Yeah, it could have been a really big night for us,” Carroll said.
Yet the bottom line: The Seahawks (3-1) moved into a tie atop the NFC West with Arizona, which is now on its third quarterback after injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
Seattle and its suddenly thudding run defense held Washington to a mere 32 yards on 17 runs Monday. Sunday, it hosts Dallas (4-1) and NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray at CenturyLink Field.
“I can’t wait,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
The Seahawks gained 242 of the game’s first 269 yards. They scored six touchdowns, but only three counted after costly penalties from offensive lineman James Carpenter and a false start on a head-bob by Harvin nullified scores.
Harvin also had a long touchdown pass from Wilson in the fourth quarter called back by an unnecessary roughness foul on Carpenter after he had pinned his defender to the ground in pass protection.
That created a first-and-25 — yet Wilson and Lynch overcame that on a drive that ended with their connection for the key touchdown that made it 24-10 with just over six minutes to go.
Wilson’s 80 yards rushing in the first quarter alone — 22 away from his career high and team record for a quarterback set last October at Indianapolis. But Wilson was running because he had to, as Seattle’s offensive line continued its two-season problem of porous pass protection.
That is, when it wasn’t committing penalties. The linemen had seven in all — holding calls on left Russell Okung, Carpenter and Okung again, two false starts by center Max Unger (including one odd one for bobbing his head) and one on Okung, and a, um, curiously called personal foul on Carpenter.
Harvin ran so wild he scored two touchdowns on one drive, neither of which counted. Wilson improvised on pass calls because he has to. And the defense playing almost flawlessly — aside from what Sherman said was a perfect play call by Washington on a 60-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to DeSean Jackson that beat him and outside-playing safety Kam Chancellor on an out-and-up route for Washington’s lone touchdown of the first 56 minutes. That’s how Seattle led 17-7 at halftime.
Seattle held Alfred Morris, who rushed for nearly 2,900 yards the last two seasons and was fifth in the league at 79 yards per game coming in, to 29 yards on 13 carries.
The Seahawks came in allowing only 72 yards rushing per game, the fifth-lowest total in the league. That average is trending way down, with Dallas on its rushing way to Seattle.
“Tackling,” said Wagner, who eight stops including three tackles for losses. “We are doing a great job tackling this season.”
Left guard Carpenter needlessly bear-hugged end Jason Hatcher from behind just as Harvin — who has lined up in the backfield tonight far more than in the previous three games — was speeding around Washington’s slow end for what would have been a 16-yard scoring run.
Wilson threw deep to goal line and Harvin sped under the ball for what should have been a 41-yard touchdown and a 24-10 lead for Seattle earlier in the fourth quarter. But Carpenter got called for what was officially termed “hitting a player while he was on the ground” when it appeared he pinned his man on a pass block and then simply rolled off of him. Carroll said officials told him Carpenter threw an elbow to the guy.
“I was trying not to let him up to make a play,” Carpenter said. “I don’t know, I guess I did something wrong.”
Carpenter then added, almost sheepishly, pointing across the locker room: “I am going to go over there apologize to Percy.”
Harvin saw no need for that.
“I’m not going to get into all that. It happens,” he said. “We still got the W, so we’re definitely happy about that.”
Then Harvin apparently was called for “flinching,” in the word of referee Jeff Triplette, just before the snap before he caught a short pass and ran in for another would-be touchdown on that same drive in the second quarter. It ended with a Hauschka 40-yard field goal instead for a 10-0 lead.
Lynch stood on the sideline in full gear watching Robert Turbin be the lead running back for the game’s first seven plays, including the six-play drive to start the game that ended with Wilson’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Lakewood’s Jermaine Kearse.
It was the first time since Nov. 4, 2012, against Minnesota that Lynch didn’t start a game; Seattle began in a four-wide receiver, no-back formation to start that game.
Carroll said Lynch’s back tightened some before kickoff, and it took him extra time and a ride on the sideline’s stationary bike to get loose again.
By then, Wilson was already zipping around stunned Redskins.
“I’m just starting the fourth game of my third year. … I’m trying to make consistent plays, and also make the big-time ones, too. I think we definitely would have had big-time ones tonight.
“My goal is to be the facilitator.”
Mission more than accomplished.