Russell Wilson atoned for what appeared to be a devastating, game-losing interception with two minutes to play by throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham with 21 seconds left, lifting the Seahawks to an improbable, 41-38 instant-classic win over the Houston Texans Sunday at CenturyLink Field (box).
Wilson hit a wide-open Graham four minutes after Houston rookie QB Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins hooked up on what seemed to be a game-winning, 72-yard TD that staked the Texans to a 38-34 lead.
The fourth consecutive win brought Seattle into a tie with the idle Los Angeles Rams for first place in the NFC West at 5-2.
The game featured four ties and five lead changes, largely due to the spectacular performances by Wilson and Watson. Wilson threw for a career-high 452 yards and four touchdowns while Watson became the first player in NFL history to exceed 400 passing yards (402), throw four TDs and rush for more than 50 yards (67) in the same game (Wilson nearly matched that).
Seattle prevailed despite botching two red-zone opportunities in the third quarter. Wilson and Graham failed to connect on one potential TD pass play. Another Wilson pass sailed through the hands of RB Thomas Rawls in the end zone. Both possessions ended in Blair Walsh field goals.
In the end, Watson ran out of time while the Texans gave Wilson 99 seconds too much. Taking over on his own 20 with 1:39 left and trailing by four, Wilson hit two big plays, to WR Paul Richardson for 48 yards and WR Tyler Lockett for 19, before connecting with Graham.
Wilson, now with 23 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter, tossed TD passes of 20 and 7 yards to Richardson and 1 and 18 yards to Graham. The 400-yard passing game was the first of his career, eclipsing his high of 373 against Tennessee Sept. 24.
Wilson completed 26 of 41 and finished with a season-high 123.2 passer rating, following a 121.1 last week. The interception with two minutes remaining was his first in 103 attempts and his fourth of the season against 15 TDs.
Wilson had two large non-scoring completions: 66 yards to FB Tre Madden (longest play of the year) and 53 yards to WR Tanner McEvoy.
Wilson also rushed for 30 yards on four scrambles, preventing the Seahawks from establishing a club record for fewest rushing yards in a game. Seattle would have finished with three without Wilson. The previous low: Four at Minnesota in 2009.
RB J.D. McKissic finished with six rushing yards. Eddy Lacy gained zero on six carries, Rawls had a -1 on six and Lockett -2 on a sweep.
Lockett (121) and Richardson (105) produced 100-yard games. Both had six catches, as did Doug Baldwin, who finished with 54 yards.
The Texans won the yardage battle 509-479, but Seattle averaged 7.5 yards per play to Houston’s 7.4.
The Seahawks had not allowed a point in the first quarter this season until Houston put up two touchdowns in the first eight minutes on a 59-yard TD pass from Watson to WR Will Fuller and a three-yard run by RB Lamar Miller.
Seattle had also not allowed a fourth-quarter TD until the Texans had two TDs on a two-yard pass from Watson to Miller and the 72-yard pass from Watson to Hopkins, who caught eight balls for 224 yards.
A pick-six by FS Earl Thomas in the first quarter (78 yards) was the second of his career, following a 57-yard return against Buffalo Dec. 16, 2012. Thomas also has a fumble recovery TD return in 2016.
CB Richard Sherman twice intercepted Watson, including the clincher on Houston’s final drive. They were his first picks of the season and the 31st and 32nd interceptions of his career.
Playing in his first game with Seattle, DT Dwight Freeney shared a sack with DT Sheldon Robinson on Houston’s final drive of the first half.
Seattle finished with five sacks, including two by Frank Clark and 1.5 by Michael Bennett.
K.J. Wright (14) and Bobby Wagner (12) led Seattle in tackles while Bennett had six, including two tackles for loss.
The Seahawks won for the third time in four games with the Texans, who fell to 3-4 . . . Pete Carroll recorded his 118th NFL coaching win, tying George Allen and Norv Turner for 33rd on the career list . . . Wilson has quarterbacked 61 regular-season wins, one shy of the record of 62 by Joe Flacco for most in the first six seasons of a career . . . The Seahawks are 37-6 at CenturyLink Field since 2012 . . . Rookie quarterbacks are 2-11 against Seattle in the Clink since 2002.
The Seahawks remain at CenturyLink Field next Sunday for a 1:05 p.m. meeting with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins lost 33-19 to Dallas Sunday.