For a coach that preaches fourth-quarter performance as one of his guiding team philosophies, Pete Carroll will cringe looking back on what happened in the final 15 minutes Sunday.
It didn't matter with Russell Wilson overcoming all of Seattle's fourth quarter mistakes.
"It all go erased because our guys rallied and finished the game off," Carroll said.
After seeing a 17-3 fourth-quarter lead evaporate behind Peyton Manning, it was Wilson's turn in the spotlight in overtime. Wilson passed, scrambled and put Seattle in position for Marshawn Lynch's 6-yard touchdown run and a 26-20 Seahawks victory.
For a quarterback that's done nothing other than win since being named the Seahawks' starter in 2012, Wilson added another notch to his resume.
Wilson never let the ball leave his possession in overtime. After watching Manning tie the game in the final minute of regulation by going 80 yards without a timeout, the last thing Wilson wanted was to give Denver another chance at Super Bowl retribution.
Wilson was 4 of 6 passing for 35 yards and added another 21 yards rushing in overtime. After showing a reluctance to run in regulation, Wilson took off, twice using his legs to covert needed third downs.
And it was capped by Lynch plowing his way to the goal line and diving into the end zone.
"When it wasn't there I knew I had to fight for it," Wilson said. "Sometimes in a game you have to pick and choose when to stay in there a little bit longer, when to throw it and when to slide. And that's not one of those times, I don't believe."
Wilson finished 24 of 34 for 258 yards and touchdown passes of 39 yards to Ricardo Lockette and 5 yards to Lynch, both late in the first half. Wilson rushed for 40 yards, most coming in overtime, while Lynch added 88 yards rushing.
Denver and Manning showed resiliency absent in Seattle's 43-8 rout in the Super Bowl. Manning threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Tamme with 18 seconds left in regulation and his 2-point conversion pass to Demaryius Thomas to tie the game at 20.
Denver had capitalized on Seattle's mistakes earlier in the fourth quarter, coming up with a safety and an interception of Wilson to put itself in position for the improbable rally. Manning threw for 303 yards and came within one TD pass of 500 for his career.
Yet, the Broncos still came up short.
"We're not saying, 'At least the score was better than the Super Bowl,' or anything like that," Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "We felt like we could come in here and win. It didn't happen that way so there's nothing to be happy about."
Here's some other things that stood out as both teams stand at 2-1 entering their bye weeks:
SANDERS ON TARGET: Manning's favorite target was Emmanuel Sanders, even with the return of Wes Welker to the lineup. Sanders had 11 catches for 149 yards — both career highs — and was targeted 15 times total. Sanders often worked against Seattle CB Byron Maxwell, but even when he was lined up against Richard Sherman, Manning was looking in his direction.
"At some point the competitive nature in you has to take over and I think that's what happened toward the end," Sanders said.
BEAST MODE: Lynch finished with 88 yards rushing, but he also showed his chops as a receiver. He caught a 5-yard slant route for a TD late in the first half.
ABSENT RUN GAME: Even before Denver turned almost exclusively to the pass game trying to rally, Montee Ball and the run game found little space against Seattle's defense. Ball finished with 38 yards rushing on 14 carries and the Broncos were held to 36 yards rushing total. Two of Denver's three worst rushing performances since 2012 have come against Seattle.
SUFFOCATING D: One constant during Manning's tenure in Denver has been getting in the end zone in the first half. Only once in the regular season had Denver failed to score a first-half touchdown until Sunday when the Broncos only points were a 24-yard field goal. Between Brandon McManus' field goal late in the first quarter and the start of the fourth, Denver ran one offensive play in Seattle territory. Seattle outgained Denver 237-84 in the second and third quarters combined.
PUNTING POWER: Lost in the chaos of the fourth quarter was an amazing day of punting by Seattle's Jon Ryan. He averaged 50.2 yards per kick and had five punts inside the Denver 20. But his most impressive kick came after Lynch was stopped in the end zone for a safety. Ryan punted the free kick from his 20; Denver's Emmanuel Sanders caught it at his 1.
"I thought if anybody would be the MVP it would be Jon," Carroll said. "He had a phenomenal game and you can't expect a guy to do any better than that."
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