HOUSTON — Seattle’s Richard Sherman saw quarterback Matt Schaub roll out in the fourth quarter and had a pretty good idea what he wanted to do next. So he jumped the route, stepped in front of Owen Daniels for the interception and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown to force overtime Sunday. Steven Hauschka kicked a 45-yard field goal in the extra period to give the Seahawks the 23-20 victory for their first 4-0 start in franchise history.
“It’s a high-risk, high-reward play,” Sherman said. “You have to jump in, and you might get beat over the top for a 20- or 30-yard gain if he gets the ball down there. But if you make the play, you might get a pick-6 and change the game for your team.”
But it wasn’t exactly a high risk for Sherman. He made a nearly identical play on Friday in practice and said he “knew what was coming.”
“That doesn’t happen very often, but when it did it was like the world stopped for a second there because he had the ball in his hands and no one in front of him, and we had practiced exactly that,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Houston (2-2) failed to score on two possessions in overtime and also lost linebacker Brian Cushing to a concussion. The Seahawks got the win on their second drive in overtime after rallying from a 20-3 deficit.
A key to the winning drive came when Doug Baldwin caught a 7-yard pass and Kareem Jackson was penalized for unnecessary roughness for dumping him into the ground. That got Seattle in field goal range and Hauschka’s kick came four plays later.
The NFL’s best defense held Houston scoreless after halftime.
“It was important for our ball club just to win on the road, just to continue our win streak,” Sherman said. “I think that was important to us, to be that stepping stone, to continue to grow as a team.”
Houston’s Matt Schaub threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and failed to move the offense effectively in overtime.
He lamented making the throw that Sherman intercepted.
“It hurts,” he said of the game. “It hurts bad.”
Wilson finished with 123 yards passing and a touchdown, and Marshawn Lynch had with 98 yards rushing and another score.
“Russell’s play was off the charts,” Carroll said. “I don’t even know what his numbers were; it didn’t matter. You had to watch the game to see the things he did to give us a chance.”
Sherman’s interception came with less than three minutes left. Schaub was pushed down as he threw the pass and remained on the grass on his hands and knees beating the ground with his fists as Sherman became the third player to return one of his passes for a touchdown this season.
The Seahawks marched downfield with a 14-play, 98-yard drive capped by a 3-yard scamper by Lynch to get within 20-13 in the fourth quarter.
They were driving again when Johnathan Joseph stepped in front of a pass intended for Jermaine Kearse to give Houston the ball before Schaub’s costly interception.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt was furious after the game that they let this one get away.
“We were dominating the whole first half ... and the second half we just didn’t finish the game,” he said. “It’s very, very frustrating.”
A field goal by Hauschka after a fumble by Ben Tate cut the lead to 20-6. The Texans punted on their first drive and Schaub was intercepted on the second one. The pickoff was a crazy play: the throw was first bobbled and deflected by Daniels, then bounced off two Seahawks before Earl Thomas grabbed it just inches from the ground. The Texans went up 7-3 when Garrett Graham ran untouched into the end zone on a 31-yard reception from Schaub. They extended the lead on a 5-yard touchdown reception by Arian Foster.
A 22-yard field goal by Houston after a fumble by Lynch made it 17-3. Randy Bullock added another field goal at the end of the second quarter for a 20-3 lead at halftime. Hauschka’s 48-yard field goal put Seattle up 3-0 in the first quarter.
NOTES: Seattle DE Michael Bennett strained a muscle in his lower back in the second quarter and was taken off the field on a stretcher. He was examined at a hospital but Carroll said he was back with the team after the game. ... Watt sustained a cut to the bridge of his nose that was gushing blood in the third quarter. He was tended to on the sideline while Houston was on offense and was back on the field for the next defensive series.