Men of steal: Timely pick, big kick lift Hawks
Qwest Field had never seen an ending like this. If you were a Seahawks fan, you just wanted to jump right into the middle of that wild celebration...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Qwest Field had never seen an ending like this.
If you were a Seahawks fan, you just wanted to jump right into the middle of that wild celebration on the field after Josh Brown's 50-yard field goal sneaked over the crossbar with no time showing on the game clock.
Instantly, the frustration of the team's inability to move the ball consistently on offense, save for two drives, was gone. The anger at not being able to catch near-certain interceptions. The bewilderment at not being able to pick up four fumbles. The uncharacteristic nine penalties and special-teams gaffes. All swept away and instantly forgotten in the thrill of a 13-10 Seahawks win over the Dallas Cowboys in the rain yesterday afternoon.
Times have definitely changed in SoDo, where 67,046 witnessed one for the ages.
With 14 seconds left in a 10-10 game and Dallas driving, Jordan Babineaux picked off a Drew Bledsoe pass and returned it 25 yards to the Cowboys' 32-yard line. In came a confident Brown, who was planning for the celebration before the kick was called good.
"The moment I hit it, I knew I was about to get bombarded by my teammates, so I took my helmet off," the third-year kicker said. "That way they couldn't throw me to the ground. There's a little planning in there. That happened to me in college and I got trampled on."
The 5-2 Seahawks could have lifted Brown to the sky, so joyous were they in their exultation. Even owner Paul Allen and team president Tim Ruskell rushed the field to party with the players. And the festivities didn't end on the field. In the locker room, grown men acted like kids, said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
For Brown — who drilled a 55-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the first half for the Seahawks' first points of the game — it was sweet redemption from the last-second miss he had at Washington in Week 4, a 20-17 overtime loss.
"I have one job, and no situation should ever change exactly how I do my job," Brown said. "I wanted it just to prove my point. The kick in Washington [that hit an upright], I wouldn't have changed."
Brown said the Seahawks worked on long field goals in practice, knowing that playing the Cowboys meant that scoring chances could be few and far between. Indeed they were.
The Seahawks could hardly be stopped on the first possession of the game. When Hasselbeck stepped up to avoid pressure and hit D.J. Hackett for 17 yards to the Dallas 10, Seattle was rolling. But two plays later, Hasselbeck's pass glanced off Peter Warrick's hands and into Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman's at the 7.
The Seahawks would gain only two more first downs — one by penalty — in the first half until an eight-play, 23-yard drive for Brown's first field goal. Safety Michael Boulware set up those points when he intercepted Bledsoe's pass for Terry Glenn and returned the ball 31 yards.
On the play, Kelly Herndon tipped the ball off Glenn, and it rolled off Glenn's body and into Boulware's hands. It was typical of the Seahawks' playmaking defense, which held the Cowboys when it had to and put the offense in position to win the game at the end.
Dallas led 7-3 at halftime on a 5-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass from Bledsoe to Keyshawn Johnson.
The Cowboys' defense left the Seahawks with bad field position to start drives and too many second- and third-and-long situations. But the Seahawks' defense was up to the challenge, and Seattle caught a break when a bad snap led to Dallas' Jose Cortez missing a 29-yard field goal try wide left with 13:13 left in the game.
"We kept plugging away," Seahawks defensive end Grant Wistrom said after a nine-tackle performance that included a sack.
"Our defense kept hitting them in the mouth," he added. "It's a credit to the guys in the locker room. It's a credit to the people in management who got the guys here in this locker room. It's just guys that aren't going to quit."
Still, winning seemed impossible after Hasselbeck was picked off by the Cowboys' Roy Williams with 3:04 left, but Dallas managed only a field goal for a 10-3 lead at the 2:01 mark.
That's when the heroes emerged. Jerheme Urban, pressed into service when another reserve, Joe Jurevicius, left the game with an injury minutes earlier, made a leaping catch for 22 yards to start the Seahawks' next possession.
A pass-interference penalty on the Cowboys put the Seahawks at the Dallas 25 with 1:40 left. Two plays later, Hasselbeck hit Hackett at the 1, Hackett getting both feet inbounds near the sideline while making the catch. Then it was Hasselbeck to tight end Ryan Hannam for a 1-yard touchdown with 40 seconds to play.
"Obviously teams are going to be keying on Shaun [Alexander, running back] down there," Hannam said. "It was just a play-action pass ... great throw by Matt."
Three plays into the Cowboys' final drive, Bledsoe was intercepted by Babineaux, another super sub. His return set up Brown, who was hustled onto the field without hesitation.
"I'm over there [on the sideline] signaling 'it's good' before he even got on the field," Alexander said. "I am Mr. Optimistic."
So, too, are plenty of Seahawks fans today.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|The best records in the NFC:|
|Josh Brown's longest field goals:|
|58||at Green Bay||Oct. 5, 2003|
|55||Dallas||Oct. 23, 2005|
|54||at Arizona||Oct. 24, 2004|
|53||at Washington||Oct. 2, 2005|
|50||Dallas||Oct. 23, 2005|