Takeaways from Seahawks 41-38 win over Texans

Houston Texans v Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE -- There haven't been many games like this in Seattle in the Pete Carroll era.

For a team defined by its defense for many of the eight seasons with Carroll at the helm, Sunday's game against the Houston Texans was an offensive shootout.

A shootout Russell Wilson and the Seahawks did just enough to win.

Deshaun Watson passed for over 400 yards on just 19 completions as the Texans carved up the Seattle defense. But Wilson was that and more for Seattle, setting a franchise record with 452 passing yards and four touchdowns to lead the Seahawks to a 41-38 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Watson posted just the fourth 400-yard passing game against a Carroll-led Seahawks defense since he took over as Seattle's head coach in 2010. Philip Rivers with the San Diego Chargers in 2010, Eli Manning with the New York Giants in 2011 and Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015 are the only other quarterbacks to throw for 400 yards against the Seahawks over that span.

The one thing all four have in common? Their teams lost anyway.

The Seahawks have now gained over 400 yards of total offense in four of their last five games.

Here are four more takeaways from the Seahawks win over the Texans:

1. Russell Wilson was simply amazing.

Wilson set a franchise record with 452 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Texans on Sunday.

It's just the ninth 400-yard passing game by a Seahawks quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck held the two best passing days in franchise history prior to Sunday, throwing for 449 yards against the San Diego Chargers and 427 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. Both games were in December, 2002.

"If there was ever any doubts about Russell (and) what he can do, there is no limits," head coach Pete Carroll said. "That was a fantastic day. All kinds of guys made plays. It was really fun."

Hasselbeck graces the list three times with Dave Krieg adding four appearances and Warren Moon one.

But none were more prolific than Wilson on Sunday.

Wilson's 18-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham with 21 seconds remaining capped a frenzied 1:18 drive to give the Seahawks the win.

Wilson wasn't flawless on Sunday. It wasn't Christian Laettner going 10-for-10 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free throw line with a game-winning buzzer beater against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Wilson and Graham couldn't connect on a fade route in the end zone in the third quarter. His pass to Thomas Rawls floated enough to give Rawls problems for another potential touchdown. He was intercepted by Marcus Williams with just under three minutes remaining, which seemingly thwarted Seattle's chances at the time.

But Wilson responds as he frequently does when the game is on the line. He connected with Richardson for 48, hit Tyler Lockett for 19 yards an then ripped the 18-yard touchdown to Graham to give Seattle the victory.

"First off, 3 (Wilson) is special," Graham said. "I knew right then when he made a mistake he was going to come back and make up for it. His will to win and his will to overcome is like no other. It is unbelievable."

2. Paul Richardson has become a trusted weapon for Russell Wilson.

In his fourth season, Richardson is finally becoming a big part of the Seahawks' offense.

Richardson caught six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans. He had a third touchdown catch nullified due to a chop block penalty as well. 

When Seattle took over for their final possession with 1:39 remaining, Richardson showed up again. He leaped over cornerback Marcus Gilchrist to haul in a 48-yard pass from Wilson to move Seattle into Houston territory. Two plays later, Seattle converted the winning score.

"You have all the confidence in the world in these guys and just the trust because we have talked about it, visualized it, communicated so much about it and sure enough he showed out tonight," Wilson said.

Richardson was a role player as a rookie before sustaining a torn ACL in the playoffs. That injury wiped out half of the following season and a hamstring injury in his first game back ended his 2015 campaign after just one catch. After being a complementary piece against last season, the trade of Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets has opened the door for Richardson to assume a much larger role.

Richardson leads the Seahawks with five touchdowns through the first seven games of the season. He had two touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league.

"He had a huge day," Carroll said. "Coming through at the right place and the right time, makes some terrific catches, two touchdowns and then coming through on the big ball downfield. That was such a great moment to get down the field that far, make a play and you just know why we're fighting, because something good is going to happen and he kind of set it in motion."

3. Seattle's rushing game is abysmal.

The Seahawks were incapable of finding any success on the ground against the Texans. And while Sunday's showing may have been the most egregious example so far, the Seahawks have done very little through the first seven weeks of the season to instill confidence that a running game redemption is 

Seattle's three running backs combined for a total of five yards on 16 carries. 

Both tight end Luke Willson and right tackle Germain Ifedi said that they believe the running game is close to finding its footing. The Seahawks will need a ground game of some kind to keep their offense balanced like they want. 

"It's nasty. It's hard. It's straining but we have to do it and we can't become a team that relies too much on 'hey, we're going to throw it around.'" Ifedi said. "We know we want to run the ball. We want our hand in the dirt and come off the ball, so we have to keep coming with it. As a line, we have to be better. We have to be more detailed. We have to have more finish. We're not far but, as a unit, all five guys have to start doing their job on a more consistent level. You can't really sugarcoat it at this point. We just have to get better."

Seattle had negative rushing yardage for a sizable portion of the game. They even flirted with the worst rushing output in franchise history, The Seahawks managed just four rushing yards in a 35-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in 2009, which is the lowest mark in team history.

"That was really hard on us today. It was so obvious that we weren't able to run the football," Carroll said. "We didn't think that was going to happen at all. We wanted to get our rhythm and get going. But I think it's worth noting that in this game when we realized that we were struggling, I thought (Bevell) and Tom (Cable) and those guys did a great job to go ahead and go where we could go and to fight it."

The Seahawks may be forced into making a change. Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls are not getting anything accomplished as Seattle's lead backs. C.J. Prosise hasn't been healthy enough to play outside of the first three games. J.D. McKissic is a role player.

What the change could be in uncertain. Mike Davis would give them a different option off the practice squad. But the bottom line is that the status quo isn't good enough for a team that wants to run the ball.

4. Deshaun Watson is a star in the making.

Most of these observations are reserved for thoughts on the Seahawks, but Deshaun Watson looks to be a future star at the quarterback position.

Hell, he might already be there.

Seahawks defenders were profusive in their praise for the Texans rookie. Earl Thomas, Frank Clark, Shaquill Griffin, Richard Sherman and others all spoke highly of Watson's showing on Sunday. Pete Carroll had plenty of praise for Watson as well.

"Deshaun Watson showed you what a great football player he is," Carroll said. "He doesn't have to wait around. He's already there. All of the plays, all of the throws that he made and the escapes and stuff, and the runs too. He gave us all that we wanted. We respect the heck out of that."

Watson was superb. He found holes in Seattle's defense, whirled away from pressure to find completions, scrambled for crucial yardage and bounced back from his mistakes. He's gone toe-to-toe with the Seahawks in Seattle and the Patriots in New England in his first handful of starts in the NFL. He finished the game with 402 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions 

More comments on Watson from the Seahawks locker room:

Frank Clark: "The biggest thing that Deshaun did is he just played a hell of a game. First time playing here, rookie, and I think he just showed up. He obviously made some plays that are questionable that worked in our favor, throwing picks, but overall I feel like he played a better game than a lot of people come in here and play at that position. And that's just a credit to him, a credit to their team."

Earl Thomas: "I'm not surprised at all. I think I ran my mouth too much this summer when we chilled. We got the same agent, spent a lot of time together. I expect that out of him. He did that against Alabama in a big game. He tried to do it today.

"I think he did a great job of buying time. He used his athletic ability. He broke some tackles. We had sacks and he just broke them, he got out of the pocket. It's hard to cover in the league that long and he just took advantage of it."

Richard Sherman: "I know how other teams feel now. We definitely know how other teams feel. ... He made plays that very few people in this league, including top-tier guys, can make."

Russell Wilson: "I mean, go ahead and give him Rookie of the Year. He is a great player. I love watching him."


Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 29: Wide receiver Paul Richardson #10 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a 48 yard catch against safety Marcus Gilchrist #21 of the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on October 29, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Houston Texans 41-38. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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