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Originally published November 8, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Page modified November 8, 2009 at 11:16 PM

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Seahawks overcome 17-0 deficit to win 32-20

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck throws for 329 yards and the defense intercepts five passes to lead Seattle over Detroit

Seattle Times staff reporter

Coach had a question for Nate Burleson before halftime Sunday.

Were you worried back in the first quarter after Seattle's first two offensive plays resulted in turnovers that Detroit turned into touchdowns.

"No," Burleson said. "I believed we were going to win this game."

Well, coach Jim Mora continued, how about at 17-0? Worried then?

Nope, Burleson said.

"He was just kind of seeing where my mind was at," Burleson said. "I think that was the mindset of the team. There was no panic. Frustration in our play, but not frustration in the outcome of the game."

Seattle pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in franchise history with a 32-20 victory over Detroit. The Seahawks' first three possessions resulted in an interception, a fumble and a turnover on downs. They were down 17 points before they crossed midfield for the first time, they settled for four field goals and didn't take the lead until the final three minutes of the third quarter.

But all that was overshadowed by the fact Seattle won, and afterward there wasn't a single Seahawk willing to fess up to having doubts.

"When we were down 17-0, we were still going to win the game," receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. "That's how I honestly felt on the sideline."

Houshmandzadeh scored the go-ahead touchdown, catching a 2-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck with 2:32 left in the third period to put Seattle ahead 22-17. After the teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter, Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson returned an interception 61 yards to hang an exclamation point on the comeback.

After stumbling early, not only did the Seahawks regain their balance, they took a step forward.

"You know how I feel about adversity," Mora said to reporters afterward. "I think it reveals who you are. I think we made a step in the right direction."

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There have been only three times in franchise history that Seattle has come back from a larger deficit to win. The Seahawks trailed Denver 20-0 before coming back to win on the road in 1995. On two other occasions, Seattle has overcome an 18-point deficit.

Seattle didn't dig its way out of a 17-point hole against Detroit so much as it threw itself back into the game. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's arm and acumen made up for Seattle's continued inability to run the ball.

He completed 39 passes, breaking his own franchise record for completions in a game, threw for a season-high 329 yards and attempted 51 passes — third-most in his career.

Seattle is no stranger to poor starts. They've practically become a cottage industry for the city's NFL enterprise. The Seahawks tend to start games poorly, getting outscored 55-16 in the first period this season. They've shown a recent history of starting seasons poorly, too, as this is the second consecutive year they've begun 2-5.

Against Detroit, Seattle's first three possessions resulted in a total of six offensive plays. Three rushes resulted in a net loss of 2 yards. Three passes resulted in one interception and one lost fumble. The Seahawks also had a turnover on downs mixed in there when Mora decided to go for it on fourth-and-one.

The Lions' first-quarter scoring drives all started in Seattle's half of the field.

"They took advantage of mistakes, so I'm not going to say we handed them points," Burleson said. "But we put ourselves in a poor position early."

The Lions held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the first period, Seattle for fewer than three. Seattle outscored Detroit 32-3 after that first period. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 111 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, and had 92 yards passing and five interceptions thereafter.

Of course, it's worth remembering that this was Detroit in town, a team that has one victory in its last 25 games — 0-16 last season — and has not won on the road since October 2007.

"They weren't very good last year," Houshmandzadeh said, "and I think that played a role in guys having the confidence that we had. We can't spot teams that have better records those type of leads because I don't know if the confidence would be there where guys know we would come back and win."

On Sunday, though, there were no doubts about Seattle's convincing comeback, just some shaky moments early on.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Bad start
The Seahawks have been outscored 55-16 in the first quarter
Game Sea Opp Result
Rams 0 0 W, 28-0
at 49ers 0 10 L, 23-10
Bears 10 0 L, 25-19
at Colts 0 7 L, 34-17
Jaguars 3 0 W, 41-0
Arizona 0 14 L, 27-3
at Cowboys 3 7 L 38-17
Lions 0 17 W, 32-20
Total 16 55

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