Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field on November 3, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Buccaneers 27-24 in overtime. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
No matter how dire a situation looks, QB Russell Wilson seems to find a way to manufacture brilliance.
Wilson threw two touchdowns and ran for another as the Seattle Seahawks rallied from a 21-point deficit to pull out an improbable 27-24 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wilson's 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Doug Baldwin with 1:51 to play tied the game at 24-24 and sent the game to overtime. After the defense forced a three-and-out, K Steven Hauschka kicked the game-winning 29-yard field goal to give Seattle the victory.
It was the largest deficit overcome by the Seahawks (8-1) in franchise history.
Wilson finished the game 19 of 26 for 217 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"The poise that (Wilson) brings to those situations is impeccable," head coach Pete Carroll said. "The athleticism and the ability to make plays and the preparation that gets him to the position to make the plays, he’s doing everything we can possibly do. I wouldn’t want anybody else there"
The winless Buccaneers (0-8) controlled the game early on. QB Mike Glennon looked poised in completing 10 of 11 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Seattle's run defense also struggled for a second consecutive week as RB Mike James ran for 158 yards on 28 carries.
The inability to slow the running game allowed the Buccaneers to be in favorable down-and-distance situations and utilize their play-action game.
Glennon hit TE Tim Wright for a 12-yard touchdown and connected with WR Tiquan Underwood for a 20-yard score to give the Buccaneers a 14-0 lead.
WR Jermaine Kearse fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give possession back to Tampa Bay. Two plays later, James threw a jump-pass for a touchdown to TE Tom Crabtree as the Buccaneers took full control.
Wilson managed to get the Seahawks on the board before the half. An unnecessary roughness call on DT Gerald McCoy and pass interference against S Michael Adams helped the Seahawks move into the Buccaneers' red zone. Wilson then hit Kearse for a 16-yard score to pull within 21-7 at the break.
The Buccaneers were 8 of 9 on third down in the half as Seattle's defense just couldn't find a way to force their offense to the sidelines. K Rian Lindell added a 33-yard field goal on the Buccaneers' first drive of the second half to extend the lead to 24-7 before Seattle's defense managed to clamp down.
"It took us all day long to get going but the last six times they had the ball they didn’t score a point," Carroll said. "The way it was looking before that, who would have believed that. The guys rose up, the rush was there, the plays were made in the secondary, and the third down downs totally changed."
Wilson started to find chunks of yards in the passing game and RB Marshawn Lynch found open running lanes as well. Wilson hit WR Golden Tate and WR Doug Baldwin on consecutive plays, each for 19 yards, before keeping it on a read-option for a 10-yard touchdown run.
Seattle's defense finally forced a punt and Tate made the most of the opportunity. Taking the ball from his own 4-yard line, Tate raced through the Texans' coverage for 71 yards to get back in scoring range. Hauschka's 36-yard field goal made it a one-score game.
The Seahawks appeared set to even the game with eight minutes to play as Seattle moved to 1st and Goal from the Buccaneers' 3-yard line. Despite averaging 6.6 yards per carry as a team at the time of the play, Seattle went to the air and Wilson was intercepted by S Keith Tandy to preserve the Tampa Bay lead.
"It was a really good call down there," Carroll said. "We had waited, we had looked for that opportunity to throw the ball over the top to Doug and the guy made a heck of a play, getting off the ground. I think, and we’ll see it when we look at the film, that Doug was where he was supposed to be, and he put the ball over the top, and the guy surprised Russell that he got up so much. It’s easy to say we should run the football; maybe next time we will."
Seattle had worked extensively on throws over the middle in the red zone during practice last week. There was obviously something they saw they believed they could take advantage of in that situation.
"I was obviously mad at myself," Wilson said. "It’s one of those things, I thought we had him, and the guy just made a great play on that one. He just made a play."
However, when the running game is as effective as it was Sunday for Seattle, it seems like a mistake to get cute near the goal line with a back like Lynch waiting for a shot at the end zone. Lynch carried 21 times for 125 yards.
The Seahawks got another opportunity and Wilson managed to convert the second time around. Facing 3rd and 5 at the Tampa 10-yard line, Wilson hit Baldwin for the game-tying score.
Tampa Bay had 1:56 left for a chance to win the game in regulation but Seattle's defense came through. The Seahawks played exclusively man coverage on the final drive and managed to force the Buccaneers to punt near midfield as the game extended to the extra session.
Seattle faced just one third down on their game-winning drive in overtime. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa Bay 33-yard line, Lynch took a shotgun handoff for 14 yards to moved into easy field goal range before Hauschka converted the game-winner.
Notes: RB Marshawn Lynch felt sick to his stomach early in the game, which led to him missing portions of two series on offense. ... C Max Unger left the game with a concussion and was replaced by C Lemuel Jeanpierre. Unger will have to pass the concussion protocol to play next week. ... T Russell Okung and T Breno Giacomini had "really good workouts" prior to the game and are expected to return to practice this week. Okung still can't play until after next week's game against the Atlanta Falcons while on the short-term injured reserve list. ... Seattle overcame a 20-0 deficit on Dec. 10, 1995 to win 31-27 at the Denver Broncos. It had been the largest margin a Seattle team had overcome for victory prior to Sunday.