HOUSTON – After Seattle rallied for an overtime win against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Pete Carroll joked that halftime was the best thing that happened to his team.
The Seahawks shook off a terrible first half in which they trailed by 17 points to rally for the 23-20 victory to improve to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
"They handed it to us every way they wanted to in the first half and we didn't have any answer to stop it," Carroll said. "The challenge that we all wanted to meet up to was we hadn't showed who we were and how we could play."
Steven Hauschka kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime to give the Seahawks the win.
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.
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 Seahawks rallied to tie it at 20 on an interception return for a touchdown by Richard Sherman in the fourth quarter. The NFL's best defense held Houston scoreless after halftime.
"It was a big-time play," Sherman said. "I think it was the turning point also. We evened it out and our offense just continued to fight."
Five things to know about the Seahawks-Texans game:
WILSON'S A PLAYMAKER: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson finished with 123 yards passing and a touchdown and ran for 77 yards. But Carroll doesn't believe his numbers tell the whole story of how much he meant to the Seahawks on Sunday.
"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."
WATT'S HOT: J.J. Watt's face was blood-splattered from a gash on the bridge of his nose which required six stitches. His white pants were splayed with crimson from the same injury.
But his mangled nose and filthy uniform weren't as troubling as the rage Houston's star defensive end displayed as he discussed the loss.
"Nobody likes to lose, especially like this in your own building," he said. "This isn't fun, man. I was sick of it after one loss."
He then vowed that the Texans will clean up their problems before next Sunday night's game at San Francisco.
"We've just got to finish," he said. "We'll get it fixed. Everything that's wrong will be fixed. I can promise that."
SEATTLE'S SLIPPERY: In two of their four wins this season the Seahawks have trailed in the fourth quarter only to rally to keep their perfect record intact.
"We found a way to make plays in big-time situations," Wilson said. "That's what good teams, great teams do; they find a way to make a play when they need one."
CUSHING CHANGES DEFENSE: With Cushing on the sideline after his concussion in the third quarter, the Seahawks were able to move the ball after struggling to gain yardage all day.
The Seahawks marched downfield with a 14-play, 98-yard drive capped by a 3-yard scamper by Marshawn Lynch to get within 20-13 early in the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, he is a playmaker in the middle," Watt said. "But all I can do is play the game."
TEXANS STAND BY SCHAUB: The Texans are standing by beleaguered quarterback Matt Schaub, even as fans are calling for backup T.J. Yates to take over.
Schaub threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and failed to move the offense effectively in overtime.
Schaub was pushed down as he threw the interception that Sherman returned for the score 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.
Star receiver Andre Johnson said he hates to see what Schaub is going through and that the entire team should be blamed for the losses, not just the quarterback.
"I've been here when (we were) 2-14 and there was hardly anybody in the stands, so I really don't care about what fans think," Johnson said. "A lot of them don't understand what players go through. They can talk about what they want to talk about."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org