How’s this for a frustrating hat trick: Percy Harvin had three touchdowns called back because of penalties.
”Well, the first one I was cool with,” he said. ”I was like, `OK.’ Then when the second one happened, I was like, `Wow.’ And then when the third one happened I just flipped my hands down. I couldn’t believe it.”
Were it not for the self-inflicted wounds, the Seattle Seahawks might have had a cakewalk against the Washington Redskins. As it was, they settled for a 27-17 win in a Monday night game flush with ”neutral zone infractions,” holds, false starts and even a 15-yarder that was called because someone, according to the referee, ”hit a player on the ground unnecessarily.”
”It could’ve been a very big night for us,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ”We came out flying, but we were just a little bit out of whack.”
One player who definitely wasn’t out of whack was Russell Wilson, who rushed for a career-high 122 yards and a touchdown and completed 18 of 24 passes for 201 yards with two scores as the Seahawks (3-1) maintained their dominance in games played under the lights. Seattle is an NFL-best 21-8 on Monday nights, including nine wins in a row. The team is also 11-1 in prime time under Carroll.
Wilson dazzled throughout, whether it was a designed run or a scramble out of the pocket. He had rushes of 16, 29, 13 and 22 in the first two drives. He headed for the pylon on a clinical zone-read run for a 9-yard score in the second quarter, giving Seattle a 17-0 lead, and pulled off two incredible run-for-his-life scrambles in the second half after the Redskins threatened to make a game of it.
”It was like he wasn’t Superman in the second half,” Redskins safety Ryan Clark said. ”He was, like, Clark Kent, half-Superman. He still did his thing.”
But how bad was the Seahawks’ penalty bug? It wasn’t until a 4-yard run by Alfred Morris with three minutes left in the first half that the Redskins’ total yards (47) passed Seattle’s penalty yards (45) for good.
”I just think it’s `Monday Night Football.’ You know, the fans are watching and everybody wants to see a good game, so they’re going to try to make it as close as possible,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. ”It’s a business.”
Seattle finished with 13 penalties for 90 yards, and Harvin paid the price. It would have been 21-0 if either of his would-be touchdowns – on back-to-back plays – had counted in the first half. First, his 16-yard run to the end zone was wiped out by holding on left guard James Carpenter, then his 26-yard catch-and-run was negated by a flag for a false start on Harvin himself.
Early in the fourth quarter, Wilson hit a wide-open Harvin for an apparent 41-yard score, but Carpenter was cited again – this time because he blocked a Redskins player who was already on the ground.
”It got to the point where he had a little talk in the huddle,” Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said. ”Like, `We need to get things straight – because this is ridiculous.”’
Indeed, the Seahawks recovered from the third overturned TD. Wilson scrambled every which way – and nearly past the line of scrimmage before retreating – and hit Luke Willson for a 19-yard gain, and punter-holder Jon Ryan ran 5 yards on a fake field goal on fourth-and-1. Six plays later, Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch for a 9-yard score to give Seattle a 24-10 lead with 6:31 remaining.
The Redskins pulled within a touchdown on Kirk Cousins’ 6-yard pass to Andre Roberts with 3:35 to go, but the Seahawks took the ensuing kickoff and marched back down the field. Wilson converted a third-and-4 with another scramble, evading Ryan Kerrigan and tumbling backward as he found Lynch for a 30-yard gain.
And there was no flag.