FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Some of the best Seahawks teams under coach Pete Carroll have been the ones that gradually improved throughout the season.
Seattle’s latest climb may be underway.
The Seahawks put together perhaps their most balanced 60 minutes on both sides of the ball this season in Sunday night’s 31-24 win over the New England Patriots.
Not only did Seattle (6-2-1) force Tom Brady into his first interception this season , but it kept him without a passing touchdown for the first time in 2016 and denied the Patriots an opportunity to tie the game with a goal-line stand in the closing minute.
“It’s one of the great challenges that a team and a defense gets and we’ve had some bouts down there the last few weeks and our guys just came through and hung in there and fought for every inch,” Carroll said.
Quarterback Russell Wilson has typically been at his best outside the pocket, making plays with his feet. Leg injuries have kept him in the pocket recently, but he was still effective in keeping the Patriots’ defense guessing.
Wilson was sacked three times but passed for 348 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, completing passes to seven different receivers.
Meanwhile, the Patriots (7-2) must regroup after suffering their first loss since Brady returned from his four-game “Deflategate” suspension this season. They’re still in command of the AFC East but are on the road the next two weeks against the 49ers and Jets.
“We talked about it the last two weeks, how this game was going to go all the way down to the last play. We knew it was going to be similar to the last game,” safety Devin McCourty said.
“We knew both teams were going to fight, no matter what happened in the game. They were going to just keep fighting and go blow for blow. We were prepared for it. But they just made a couple of more plays than us and that’s what decided the game.”
Seattle RB C.J. Prosise didn’t get in the end zone Sunday, but his 17 carries for 66 yards and seven catches for 87 yards – both season highs – played a huge role in opening up the Seahawks offense.
Sharing carries with Christine Michael, Prosise helped sell play-action passes late in the game and made the Patriots defense account for an extra man in key situations. That, in turn, opened up throwing lanes for Wilson.
“I knew what I was capable of and that it was just a matter of time. It definitely showed at the right time, a road game against the Patriots,” Prosise said. “I’m going to go out there and do my job, and do what they tell me to do. If it’s blocking all week, I’m going to block. This week they had me out making plays in the passing game, and also running the ball. That’s what I was called upon to do this week, and I did it.”
One thing that was overshadowed because of the Patriots’ loss was how effective RB LeGarrette Blount continues to be in New England’s offense this season.
Blount tied his career-high with three rushing touchdowns, scoring on a par of 1-yard runs and a 13-yard run. For the game, he finished with 69 yards on 13 carries.
INTERCEPTION STREAK ENDS
There are no longer any NFL teams that haven’t thrown an interception this season.
The Patriots’ streak of eight straight games without a pick came to an end with 9:20 left the second quarter. Brady danced in the pocket to buy some time on first down, but his pass intended for Malcolm Mitchell was well short and intercepted by DeShawn Shead.
To that point, New England had thrown 258 passes this season without an interception.
The Patriots had a chance to tie the 1960 Cleveland Browns for an NFL-record nine games without an interception.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said ball security will be an emphasis this week after his team had three fumbles on Sunday. They only lost one, but it was costly when Julian Edelman had the ball jarred loose by Kam Chancellor after a catch. The play set up Seattle’s final score – a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin.
“That’s definitely a problem. Our ball security is not what it needs to be,” Belichick said. “We’ve addressed it. We obviously have to keep addressing it more and find a way to improve it. We can’t keep turning the ball over.”