Seahawks' defense hits the lottery with a pick-five
Seattle finds Lions to be the perfect cure for its lack of turnovers
Seattle Times staff reporter
Big plays have been scarce for Seattle's secondary this season.
That's not entirely bad. Seattle has allowed only six completions of 30 or more yards. But that lack of big plays wasn't altogether good, either, since the Seahawks had three interceptions entering the game, tied for fewest in the NFL.
That was before Seattle picked off five passes Sunday, tied for third-most in any game in franchise history.
"We needed to start making some plays on the ball," coach Jim Mora said.
Linebacker David Hawthorne picked off two passes and very nearly had himself a third. Safety Deon Grant got his first this season, so did Marcus Trufant, and Josh Wilson sealed Sunday's victory with a fourth-quarter interception he returned 61 yards for the game's final touchdown.
So what changed?
"It was just guys flying around," Trufant said.
It probably had something to do the opponent who was flinging the ball around Qwest Field, too. Detroit started a rookie, Matthew Stafford, who had been intercepted 11 times in his first six games.
"It's a young quarterback," safety Jordan Babineaux said. "If we stopped the run — if we put the ball in No. 9's hands and make them one-dimensional — they can't beat us."
Stafford proved capable for a quarter. He threw for 111 yards and a touchdown on a 29-yard pass to Bryant Johnson despite the Seahawks getting some pressure on him, including a first-quarter sack by Babineaux.
"We were hitting him and he was still putting the ball in his spots," defensive tackle Craig Terrill said. "That's pretty good for a rookie. But we knew if we kept the pressure coming, he'd give the ball up to us."
It took Stafford and the Lions less than two quarters to hand over the double-digit lead. He was intercepted twice in the second quarter, first by Hawthorne and then by Grant. Both came when Detroit had the ball in Seattle's half of the field.
"We got back to just paying more attention to detail," Grant said.
Stafford's final two interceptions unplugged any chance Detroit had at pulling out a comeback. The Lions got the ball on their 11 with 4:34 left. After picking up two first downs, Stafford looked for receiver Calvin Johnson. The ball was underthrown, and Trufant played it perfectly for his first interception of the season.
Detroit's final chance started on its 5 with 1:41 remaining. The Lions moved to their 47 when Stafford tried to complete an out route, which Wilson picked off for a touchdown.
"If I throw the ball a foot higher, it probably gets over that guy's head," Stafford said of Wilson, "and probably hits Bryant Johnson in stride."
Instead, it was a big play the other way, capping off a game in which Seattle's secondary made a sizable contribution to its comeback.