Russell Wilson was again spectacular in the fourth quarter. Nearly perfect, even.
But Kirk Cousins was even better on Washington's game-winning drive, and a club that arrived in Seattle decimated by injury and suffered more key losses in-game earned a gutsy win to get back to 4-4 and ensure itself a fighting chance entering the second half of the season.
Wilson's Seahawks, trailing 10-8 to begin the fourth quarter thanks to three (!) Blair Walsh missed field goals, engineered two touchdown drives — but failed to convert either two-point conversion — to go up 14-10 with 1:34 left.
Cousins, though, needed just four plays to go 70 yards and retake the lead on Rob Kelley's second touchdown plunge, 17-14. The second play, a 31-yard lofter from Cousins just as Michael Bennett arrived with a full head of steam to bury the quarterback, fell perfectly into Brian Quick's hands.
The next play, a 38-yarder down the left sideline to Josh Doctson, was a beautiful throw and even better catch by the former first-rounder, who redeemed himself after dropping a would-be game-winning touchdown at Arrowhead last month.
If this sounds familiar, it's because Wilson's Seahawks and the Texans, then-led by Deshaun Watson, had a miracle finish just last week in this very stadium in very similar fashion.. But this time it was the visiting club that made the final great play late.
There were outstanding individual efforts on both sides, from Washington LB Zach Brown (team-high 11 tackles and 3 QB hits) to Seattle's Dwight Freeney, who has three sacks after signing with the team less than two weeks ago. Freeney, 37, nearly ended the game twice, first on a strip-sack deep in Washington territory late in the fourth quarter in which Cousins was ruled down, then on a deflected pass at the line immediately preceding Cousins' back-to-back bombs.
There were heady plays, like Seattle's Bradley McDougald touching down Doctson at the one-half yard line following rookie Shaq Griffin gave up on the play after getting beat. And there were mind-numbing gaffes, like Jimmy Graham dropping the second failed two-point conversion attempt and Wilson trying to sneak an extra play in instead of clocking it in the closing seconds and taking a sack and 10-second run-off.
As good as Wilson was in the fourth quarter preceding the final drive — 7-of-8 for 114 yards, two TDs and a perfect passer rating — Cousins was better. He played behind a makeshift O-line with no answers for Seattle's up-the-middle blitzes, absorbing six sacks but showing the toughness to stare down the gun barrel on that final drive.
What a win for Jay Gruden's club, which entered Sunday without its top two tight ends and three starting O-linemen and staring at a likely insurmountable three-game losing streak with Philly and Dallas winning again earlier in the day.
Washington hosts the Vikings in Week 10 and travels to the NFL's hottest team — New Orleans — one week later; things won't get any easier from here. But Gruden's team has no quit in it and a quarterback who continues to show that one door closes, a window opens.
And what a tough defeat for the Seahawks, who'd appeared to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat that would've kept them in a dead heat with the Rams. Instead, Pete Carroll's club will almost certainly be working out kickers on a short week before visiting Adrian Peterson and the Cardinals.