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Here is Jerry's column in The Seattle Times on the Seahawks' 23-20 overtime victory over the Texans:
HOUSTON — Red Bryant stood shirtless in the locker room, tears welling in his eyes. The 323-pound Seahawks defensive end hugged every teammate within reach, and even though hip-hop music blared in the background, his voice overtook the area.
“We step up to every challenge,” Bryant yelled. “Leaders, playmakers, role players — we have it all. We fight. We continue to fight. That’s all we know is to fight.”
Twenty minutes earlier, the Seahawks had completed a belief-affirming 23-20 comeback victory Sunday over the Houston Texans in overtime. At first, it wasn’t amazing as much as it was arduous, a slow grind from a 20-3 halftime deficit at Reliant Stadium that took the entire regulation and nearly 12 minutes of overtime to finish.
The Seahawks trailed 20-6 as late as midway through the fourth quarter, but a rally was still possible. They felt it. They knew it. And then they took it.
It didn’t matter that the Seahawks were outgained 476-270, or that the offensive line was missing three starters and played like it, or that their healthy, No. 1-ranked defense yielded 324 yards in the first half. The Seahawks are too competitive to ponder the insurmountable.
This game didn’t reveal their virtue, but it did expose what they have on the inside. And while the Seahawks would prefer to impress by playing a more fluid and complete game, this triumphant recovery says as much about them as any blowout of San Francisco.
“When things are going great, it’s easy,” said wide receiver Golden Tate, who made a bold, no-no-no-yes decision in overtime, not letting a punt go into the end zone and instead returning the kick 32 yards to assist the Seahawks on their game-winning drive. “But looking in our eyes at halftime, when we’re getting dominated on both sides of the ball, and seeing that we’re still confident, that tells you who we really are.”
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If the Seahawks don’t yet understand how fleeting top-dog status can be in the NFL, they need only consider the Houston Texans over the past year.
Eleven months ago, the Texans had arrived as the NFL’s best team. They destroyed the Baltimore Ravens 43-13, similar to Seattle’s 42-13 blowout of San Francisco last December or its 29-3 Niners beatdown two weeks ago. The victory over Baltimore gave the Texans a 6-1 record, and by early December, they would improve to 11-1.
The Texans looked like a Super Bowl team: balanced offense featuring running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson, top-notch defense led by the league’s best performer, J.J. Watt, and plenty of star power in its prime. Houston was so good that, with four games remaining in 2012, it had already earned a second consecutive playoff bid and set a franchise record for victories in a season.
But the NFL has a way of dismantling the anointed. Even when you’re rolling, you’re not that far ahead of the pack. New England, the team that never goes away, blew out the Texans 42-14 last December, and Houston ended the year with three losses in four games. The Texans went from thinking about byes and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs to being in the wild-card game. They won a home playoff game over Cincinnati but lost 41-28 at New England in the divisional round.
And crazy enough, Baltimore — the team Houston smashed last October — recovered and won the Super Bowl.
The Texans were left with so many questions about why they lost their edge. They wondered what might have been if linebacker Brian Cushing hadn’t injured his knee early in the season, or if Johnson hadn’t played in pain all season, or if quarterback Matt Schaub had played a little better in certain critical situations. They wondered about their bad luck, about peaking too soon last season and about having to play without Schaub in the postseason a year earlier. And on the outside, many wondered if the Texans had blown their best chance to win a championship.
Now, as the Seahawks (3-0) prepare to face the Texans on Sunday, you see a Houston team that is still very good, still very much in the playoffs conversation, but many are uncertain whether the Texans will ever be special again. The 32-year-old Schaub is under scrutiny for his mistakes. All of a sudden, Johnson, 32, is no longer in his prime. Foster may be slowing down after a heavy workload the past three years. Watt, Cushing and the rest of the defense are still progressing, but overall, the Texans leave something to be desired. Their window hasn’t closed, but their road is much more difficult than it seemed last December.
Here is Jerry's column off the Seahawks' 45-17 blowout of Jacksonville on Sunday:
Russell Wilson called it the biggest drive of this infant season. You’re excused if you were too busy laughing at Jacksonville to notice the importance.
It’s not often these days that anything of significance is attached to the Jaguars. They signal vacation time, really. You don’t go fishing for relevance against an opponent this overmatched, but you know how thorough Wilson is.
When some unintentional Jacksonville comedy resulted in a Seahawks interception in the final minute of the first half, Wilson sensed the moment. Only 44 seconds remained after a silly play in which Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne threw a pass that ricocheted off the helmet of his center, Brad Meester. Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner jumped over running back Maurice Jones-Drew, tipped the deflected pass to himself and made an incredible diving catch. The Seahawks took possession at their 21-yard line, and with a 17-0 lead, you figured they would be conservative and cruise into halftime.
Instead, Wilson told his team in the huddle: “This is really open for us right here. We have to capitalize right here. Let’s try to make something out of it.”
Five plays, 34 seconds and 79 yards later, Sidney Rice was celebrating in the end zone, the recipient of Wilson’s third touchdown pass of the half. The Seahawks led 24-0, and an offense on its way to a 479-yard performance had enjoyed its most explosive series of the season.
Yes, it was against Jacksonville.
No, it wasn’t any less impressive.
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