HOUSTON — Seattle’s Richard Sherman saw quarterback Matt Schaub roll out in the fourth quarter and had a pretty good idea what he wanted to do next.
So he jumped the route, stepped in front of Owen Daniels for the interception and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown to force overtime Sunday.
Steven Hauschka kicked a 45-yard field goal in the extra period to give the Seahawks the 23-20 victory for their first 4-0 start in franchise history.
“It’s a high-risk, high-reward play,” Sherman said. “You have to jump in, and you might get beat over the top for a 20- or 30-yard gain if he gets the ball down there. But if you make the play, you might get a pick-6 and change the game for your team.”
But it wasn’t exactly a high risk for Sherman. He made a nearly identical play on Friday in practice and said he “knew what was coming.”
“That doesn’t happen very often, but when it did it was like the world stopped for a second there because he had the ball in his hands and no one in front of him, and we had practiced exactly that,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Houston (2-2) failed to score on two possessions in overtime and also lost linebacker Brian Cushing to a concussion. The Seahawks got the win on their second drive in overtime after rallying from a 20-3 deficit.
A key to the winning drive came when Doug Baldwin caught a 7-yard pass and Kareem Jackson was penalized for unnecessary roughness for dumping him into the ground. That got Seattle in field goal range and Hauschka’s kick came four plays later.
The NFL’s best defense held Houston scoreless after halftime.
“It was important for our ball club just to win on the road, just to continue our win streak,” Sherman said. “I think that was important to us, to be that stepping stone, to continue to grow as a team.”
Houston’s Matt Schaub threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and failed to move the offense effectively in overtime.
He lamented making the throw that Sherman intercepted.
“It hurts,” he said of the game. “It hurts bad.”
Wilson finished with 123 yards passing and a touchdown, and Marshawn Lynch had with 98 yards rushing and another score.
“Russell’s play was off the charts,” Carroll said. “I don’t even know what his numbers were; it didn’t matter. You had to watch the game to see the things he did to give us a chance.”
Sherman’s interception came with less than three minutes left. Schaub was pushed down as he threw the pass and remained on the grass on his hands and knees beating the ground with his fists as Sherman became the third player to return one of his passes for a touchdown this season.
The Seahawks marched downfield with a 14-play, 98-yard drive capped by a 3-yard scamper by Lynch to get within 20-13 in the fourth quarter.
They were driving again when Johnathan Joseph stepped in front of a pass intended for Jermaine Kearse to give Houston the ball before Schaub’s costly interception.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt was furious after the game that they let this one get away.
“We were dominating the whole first half … and the second half we just didn’t finish the game,” he said. “It’s very, very frustrating.”
A field goal by Hauschka after a fumble by Ben Tate cut the lead to 20-6.
The Texans punted on their first drive and Schaub was intercepted on the second one. The pickoff was a crazy play: the throw was first bobbled and deflected by Daniels, then bounced off two Seahawks before Earl Thomas grabbed it just inches from the ground.
The Texans went up 7-3 when Garrett Graham ran untouched into the end zone on a 31-yard reception from Schaub. They extended the lead on a 5-yard touchdown reception by Arian Foster.
A 22-yard field goal by Houston after a fumble by Lynch made it 17-3.
Randy Bullock added another field goal at the end of the second quarter for a 20-3 lead at halftime.
Hauschka’s 48-yard field goal put Seattle up 3-0 in the first quarter.
NOTES: Seattle DE Michael Bennett strained a muscle in his lower back in the second quarter and was taken off the field on a stretcher. He was examined at a hospital but Carroll said he was back with the team after the game. … Watt sustained a cut to the bridge of his nose that was gushing blood in the third quarter. He was tended to on the sideline while Houston was on offense and was back on the field for the next defensive series.
SEAHAWKS 23, TEXANS 20, OT
Seattle 3 0 3 14 3 –23
Houston 0 20 0 0 0 –20
Sea–FG Hauschka 48, 11:11. Drive: 4 plays, 40 yards, 1:34. Key Play: Joseph 33-yard defensive pass interference penalty. Seattle 3, Houston 0.
Hou–Graham 31 pass from Schaub (Bullock kick), 14:55. Drive: 6 plays, 90 yards, 2:52. Key Plays: Schaub 31 pass to Foster; Schaub 16 pass to Johnson; Schaub 12 pass to Graham. Houston 7, Seattle 3.
Hou–Foster 5 pass from Schaub (Bullock kick), 6:11. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards, 5:10. Key Plays: Schaub 10 pass to Johnson on 3rd-and-8; Schaub 14 pass to Foster; Tate 22 run; Schaub 21 pass to Daniels on 3rd-and-6. Houston 14, Seattle 3.
Hou–FG Bullock 22, 3:51. Drive: 7 plays, 15 yards, 2:13. Key Plays: McClain fumble recovery (Lynch); Schaub 8 pass to Graham on 3rd-and-4. Houston 17, Seattle 3.
Hou–FG Bullock 42, :01. Drive: 12 plays, 67 yards, 1:12. Key Plays: Chancellor 10-yard defensive pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-4; Foster 15 run; Schaub 11 pass to Daniels; Schaub 11 pass to Johnson on 3rd-and-2. Houston 20, Seattle 3.
Sea–FG Hauschka 39, 3:54. Drive: 4 plays, 0 yards, 0:25. Key Play: Wagner fumble recovery (Tate). Houston 20, Seattle 6.
Sea–Lynch 3 run (Hauschka kick), 7:43. Drive: 14 plays, 98 yards, 7:28. Key Plays: Wilson 24 pass to Baldwin on 3rd-and-7; Wilson 25 run; Lynch 17 run; Wilson 13 run; Wilson 8 pass to Baldwin on 3rd-and-7; Wilson 11 run; Wilson 10 pass to Tate; Wilson 4 run on 4th-and-3. Houston 20, Seattle 13.
Sea–Sherman 58 interception return (Hauschka kick), 2:40. Seattle 20, Houston 20.
Sea–FG Hauschka 45, 3:19. Drive: 8 plays, 42 yards, 3:27. Key Plays: Tate 32 punt return to Seattle 31; Jackson 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. Seattle 23, Houston 20.
FIRST DOWNS 15 29
Rushing 6 7
Passing 6 20
Penalty 3 2
THIRD DOWN EFF 3-14 6-17
FOURTH DOWN EFF 1-1 0-0
TOTAL NET YARDS 270 476
Total Plays 58 88
Avg Gain 4.7 5.4
NET YARDS RUSHING 179 151
Rushes 30 35
Avg per rush 6.0 4.3
NET YARDS PASSING 91 325
Sacked-Yds lost 5-32 4-30
Gross-Yds passing 123 355
Completed-Att. 12-23 31-49
Had Intercepted 1 2
Yards-Pass Play 3.3 6.1
KICKOFFS-EndZone-TB 6-6-4 5-4-2
PUNTS-Avg. 6-46.3 7-45.3
Punts blocked 0 0
FGs-PATs blocked 0-0 0-0
TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE 173 54
Punt Returns 4-60 1-1
Kickoff Returns 3-55 2-52
Interceptions 2-58 1-1
PENALTIES-Yds 9-62 6-86
FUMBLES-Lost 3-1 2-1
TIME OF POSSESSION 31:48 39:53
RUSHING–Seattle, Lynch 17-98, Wilson 10-77, Turbin 3-4. Houston, Foster 27-102, Tate 7-44, Schaub 1-5.
PASSING–Seattle, Wilson 12-23-1-123. Houston, Schaub 31-49-2-355.
RECEIVING–Seattle, Lynch 3-45, Baldwin 3-39, Tate 3-17, Rice 1-11, Miller 1-7, Coleman 1-4. Houston, Johnson 9-110, Daniels 6-72, Foster 6-69, Graham 5-69, Hopkins 2-27, Martin 1-6, G.Jones 1-1, Tate 1-1.
PUNT RETURNS–Seattle, Tate 4-60. Houston, Martin 1-1.
KICKOFF RETURNS–Seattle, Kearse 1-30, Lane 1-25, Coleman 1-0. Houston, Martin 2-52.
TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS–Seattle, Chancellor 7-0-0, Thomas 7-0-0, Wagner 6-2-0, Smith 6-1-0, McDonald 5-0-1, Browner 5-0-0, Mebane 4-1-0, Wright 4-1-0, Maxwell 4-0-0, Sherman 4-0-0, Clemons 3-2-1, Bryant 3-1-0, Avril 2-0-1, Thurmond 2-0-0, McDaniel 1-2-1, Kearse 1-0-0, Lane 1-0-0, Lynch 1-0-0, Bennett 0-1-0. Houston, Cushing 6-3-0, Watt 4-4-0 1/2 , Mercilus 4-2-2 1/2 , Sharpton 4-2-0, Jackson 4-0-0, Mays 3-2-0, B.Reed 3-1-1, Manning 3-0-0, A.Smith 2-2-1, E.Reed 2-1-0, Joseph 2-0-0, Tuggle 2-0-0, Bouye 1-0-0, Braman 1-0-0, Griffin 1-0-0, B.Harris 1-0-0, Johnson 1-0-0, Lechler 1-0-0, Pleasant 1-0-0, Swearinger 1-0-0, Tate 1-0-0, Mitchell 0-2-0, Jefferson 0-1-0.
INTERCEPTIONS–Seattle, Sherman 1-58, Thomas 1-0. Houston, Joseph 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–None.
OFFICIALS–Referee Tony Corrente, Ump Fred Bryan, HL George Hayward, LJ Darryll Lewis, FJ Gary Cavaletto, SJ Ronald Torbert, BJ Greg Wilson, Replay Howard Slavin.