SEATTLE — No matter how much Deshaun Watson impersonated Russell Wilson on Sunday, the original ended up coming out on top.
Wilson hit Jimmy Graham for an 18-yard touchdown with 21 seconds left, his second TD catch of the fourth quarter, and the Seattle Seahawks rallied for a wild 41-38 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Down 38-34 with 1:39 left and out of timeouts, Wilson took Seattle 80 yards in barely a minute. He hit Paul Richardson for 48 yards on a jump ball to start the drive, found Tyler Lockett for 19 yards, and drilled a strike to Graham for the winner.
Wilson finished 26 of 41 for a career-high 452 yards and four TDs. He hit Richardson for two TDs and found Graham on a 1-yard TD pass with 5:41 left.
It was an unexpected shootout that again highlighted Wilson’s greatness in the fourth quarter and Watson’s potential as the league’s next star QB.
“This to me might be (Wilson’s) finest work today,” Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said.
Watson was nearly the equal of Wilson, throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns. But he couldn’t come up with a final answer and was intercepted by Richard Sherman with 7 seconds left on a desperation throw. Sherman had two interceptions, his first since Week 10 of last season, and Earl Thomas returned a pick 78 yards for a TD in the first quarter.
But they were the only mistakes by Watson in an otherwise stunning performance against one of the best defenses in the NFL — and an even better final rally by Wilson.
“Go ahead and give him rookie of the year. I love watching him,” Wilson said.
Watson threw touchdown passes of 59 and 20 yards to Will Fuller, 2 yards to Lamar Miller, and a wide receiver screen that DeAndre Hopkins took 72 yards for a score with 5:01 left to give Houston a 38-34 lead.
It was Watson’s TD pass to Miller that reminded everyone of Wilson. He spun away from a sack and flipped a pass to Miller as he was being brought to the ground.
“We definitely know how other teams feel now,” Sherman said.
Watson is the first rookie to throw at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive games. His 16 touchdown passes in his past four games are the most by a rookie in any four-game span.
And if he needed more accolades, Watson became the first player in the Super Bowl era with 400 yards passing, four TD passes and 50 yards rushing in a game.
This season, Watson has 19 passing touchdowns, the most by a rookie in his first seven games of a season. Watson mimicked Wilson in nearly every manner, leaving the Seahawks mostly impressed and a little stunned by the performance.
“He played a better game than a lot of people come in here and play at that position,” Seattle defensive end Frank Clark said. “And that’s just a credit to him, a credit to their team.”
Wilson and the Seahawks had two chances late to rally. Wilson drove the Seahawks to the Houston 20 with 2:55 left, but Marcus Williams intercepted at the Houston 6, undercutting a pass intended for Richardson. Seattle forced Houston to punt and this time Wilson didn’t make a mistake.
Wilson was the entirety of Seattle’s offense. He accounted for 482 yards running and passing. The two QBs combined for eight TD passes and 854 yards passing.
Hopkins finished with eight receptions for 224 yards, while Fuller had five catches for 125 yards.
The day started with the majority of Houston’s roster kneeling during the national anthem in protest of owner Bob McNair’s “inmates running the prison” comment that emerged this past week. Only 10 of Houston’s active players stood for the anthem.
Houston offensive lineman Duane Brown, who ended his holdout and reported to the team this week, said he believed there was universal support among the players that stood and those that knelt.
“Some people didn’t feel quite comfortable (kneeling) and some people did, but we all supported each other. That was what was important,” Brown said.
Seattle’s run game was again nonexistent. The Seahawks finished with 33 yards rushing on 21 carries. Wilson led the way with 30 yards, but Seattle’s running backs didn’t have a run go for more than 4 yards.
Fuller continues to dazzle since he returned from a collarbone injury that kept him sidelined the first three games of the season. Since 1991, no player has reached seven TD receptions in fewer total receptions than Fuller. Fuller now has seven TDs on 13 receptions this season.
“I just got to keep clicking with Deshaun and hopefully we get better from here,” Fuller said.
Texans: Houston was already thin on the defensive line with both Joel Heath and Kendall Langford inactive. The Texans lost Christian Covington to an elbow injury suffered early in the second half.
Seahawks: Thomas said he pulled his hamstring on Hopkins’ long TD in the fourth quarter. He was unsure of his status going forward.
Seattle stays at home and will host Washington next Sunday.