Jon Ryan runs for key first down on fake field goal
The Seahawks pulled off a fake field goal against Washington, with Jon Ryan running for an important first down in the fourth quarter.
Seattle Times staff reporters
LANDOVER, Md. – Jon Ryan had a simple description for his 5-yard gain on a fake field goal that helped Seattle clinch a 27-17 win over Washington on Monday night.
“It was fun,’’ he said.
It was also, though, the result of a week of preparation. The Seahawks had noticed something in Washington’s field-goal defense they thought they could exploit.
Specifically, the Seahawks saw that when the ball was on the left hash, Washington lined up four players to its opponent’s left side and seven to the right. That, the Seahawks thought, would create a hole that would be enough to get a few yards, if needed.
Seattle actually had to get just one, coming up short on a third-down pass that had the Seahawks lining up for a field goal from the Washington 32 with 11:24 remaining and the Seahawks ahead 17-10.
“We had been working on it all week,’’ Ryan said. “They had the confidence to call it. It was the perfect situation, the perfect storm.’’
Ryan used a kickout block from J.R. Sweezy to get 5 yards and set up a Seattle touchdown and a 24-10 lead that helped seal the win.
‘It was just an opportunity that we looked forward to,’’ coach Pete Carroll said. “It was executed very well.’’
Ryan joked later that his run was “Walter Payton-like.’’
Actually, it marked the second-longest run of his NFL career. He had a 7-yarder with Green Bay in 2007.
Ryan said it helped that the officials brought out the chains while Seattle appeared to be deciding what to do.
“We had a word that said the fake was on,’’ Ryan said. “It was kind of the perfect opportunity because they were over there measuring, so it didn’t look obvious when I was standing over there looking at the measurement.’’
Sherman: ‘Perfect play’ on long TD
Cornerback Richard Sherman proved to be the last line of defense on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to DeSean Jackson in the second quarter.
Sherman tried to come over from the middle of the field and tackle Jackson after Jackson had gotten behind safety Kam Chancellor to get the pass.
Sherman, though, said the Seahawks might have been doomed from the beginning of the play.
“It was a bad call for the play that they ran,’’ Sherman said. “Our (defensive) coordinator (Dan Quinn) tried to get exotic and they had a perfect play for it.’’
Sherman said Seattle was in a Cover 2 defense and that he was lined up as a safety. “They ran the perfect play,’’ Sherman said. “I was supposed to be where I was.’’
Lynch sits — for a series
For just the third time in his Seahawks career, Marshawn Lynch didn’t start.
But while there was an initial bit of mystery, it turned out to be no big deal.
Carroll said Lynch simply had trouble getting his back loose and needed a few more minutes to get ready.
“He was just tight coming out of the locker room,’’ Carroll said. “Took him a little longer to get ready, that’s all. He was on the bike warming up and we got him ready about five minutes later.’’
Lynch didn’t play in Seattle’s first series, in which the Seahawks drove 65 yards in six plays for a touchdown on a 15-yard Russell Wilson pass to Jermaine Kearse, with Robert Turbin instead going at tailback.
Lynch entered the game on the second play of the second series and then played throughout, rushing for 40 yards on seven carries in the first half and 72 for the game.
It was the only time that Lynch had not started a game that he had played in since the beginning of the 2011 season. Lynch was acquired from Buffalo in a trade on Oct. 5, 2010.
Unger returns after leaving with injury
With about six minutes left in the game, center Max Unger was announced as out with a foot injury.
But after Washington scored to cut Seattle’s lead to a touchdown, there Unger was, at center for the Seahawks on their final drive. When asked about Unger’s health after the game, Carroll said, “He’s OK. Seems OK.”
Unger left during a drive in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. Stephen Schilling took his place at center until Unger returned.
• After missing Seattle’s last game against Denver, Bruce Irvin returned to play against Washington, which was expected.
But what was a little more surprising was where and how Irvin played: He started the game at strongside linebacker for the Seahawks after playing exclusively at defensive end in Seattle’s first two games.
Carroll said earlier this season that Irvin would return to linebacker at some point this season, but the Seahawks wanted him to start at defensive end after missing the exhibition season after offseason hip surgery. Strongside linebacker is the spot most responsible for helping in the run game.
Irvin also played some defensive end against Washington in passing situations.
• Christine Michael is healthy. Now he’s just waiting for a chance.
The second-year running back was the focus of much offseason attention as many wondered if he might take a larger role in the Seattle offense.
Instead, game four of the season arrived Monday with Michael again one of Seattle’s seven inactive players — teams have to pare the roster from 53 to 46 on game day.
Michael was inactive for the first two games of the season while recovering from a hamstring injury suffered before the final exhibition game.
But he has been healthy since the week of the Denver game, and now it’s just a matter of breaking into the running back rotation. Seattle has gone with just three running backs on its game-day roster all season — Lynch, Turbin and Derrick Coleman.