Seahawks fall to Vikings in exhibition 24-13
Two late touchdowns finish off Seahawks, who get a nifty interception return for a touchdown by safety Earl Thomas.
Seattle Times staff reporter
MINNEAPOLIS — Looking to catch up on what happened in Seattle's exhibition game at Minnesota Saturday night?
Well, that's going to be difficult considering the speed of Seattle safety Earl Thomas.
No one on the Vikings' offense was able to catch up to him when he returned his second-quarter interception for a touchdown in the single most impressive play of Saturday's game at the Metrodome. And while the Seahawks lost 24-13, they saw just how big a playmaker they gained by choosing Thomas in the first round of last April's draft.
"I can't wait to see that again," coach Pete Carroll said of the interception. "It looked like he was going a million miles an hour."
Thomas' 86-yard interception return was Seattle's only touchdown, yet the Seahawks never trailed until the final half of the fourth quarter when Minnesota's backups outscored Seattle's backups. Sage Rosenfels, the Vikings' third-string quarterback, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker on fourth down to give Minnesota its first lead. Then Joe Webb, the fourth-stringer, capped the scoring with a 7-yard pass to cap a drive set up when Minnesota's defense picked off Charlie Whitehurst.
But while the outcome was decided by the nether regions of the rosters, the lasting impression came from Seattle's frontline defense. The Vikings fancy themselves a Super Bowl contender, and for three quarters the Seahawks were every bit their equal. They forced three turnovers, sacked Brett Favre twice and made one memorable goal-line stand.
"That's a lot of real positive things," Carroll said.
And Thomas was positively fantastic with the interception return and later with a hit hard enough to dent Minnesota's Percy Harvin in the third quarter. And even if it was just an exhibition game, it's OK to get a little excited. It has been a while since Seattle had anyone this exciting at the back of its defense. In fact, no Seattle safety has intercepted more than three passes in any season since 2004.
"Earl came alive a little bit," Carroll said.
A week ago, Thomas was beaten deep on Green Bay's first play of the game, a 56-yard connection between Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings. Seven days later, Thomas showed that he's not going to be overwhelmed by the level of competition.
"That's the reason he needed today," teammate Lawyer Milloy said afterward, "going against Brett Favre, the best quarterback possibly of all time. Just to treat him like it was a normal situation. Not only for him, but for our whole team."
There is a lot of work still for Seattle. The Seahawks' ground game continues to function like a treadmill, and the offense went more than 16 minutes without picking up a first down in the first half.
Seattle's biggest offensive accomplishment was keeping Matt Hasselbeck healthy even if it couldn't always keep him upright. He was sacked twice, but left late in the third quarter having completed 9 of 17 passes for 126 yards. Mansfield Wrotto, who started in place of rookie Russell Okung, who is out with an injured ankle, acquitted himself well. Wrotto's only noticeable blemish was a second-quarter penalty for a false start.
The third exhibition game is as close as the NFL comes to a dress rehearsal, and Thomas looked plenty ready for prime time. He even wore a tuxedo jacket to the game.
In the second quarter, Favre tried to throw to Bernard Berrian, but his pass was tipped by Seattle's Josh Wilson. The ball popped toward Thomas, who caught it at the Seattle 14 and needed only a couple of steps to be at full speed. It was quickly clear Favre would be the only Minnesota player who had a shot at stopping Thomas.
Turns out it wasn't much of a shot. Seattle's Dexter Davis was in position to block, but Thomas wasn't waiting. He blew by his fellow rookie.
"I've seen him on tape so I know how he runs," Davis said. "It didn't really surprise me."
Thomas veered about 10 yards in front of Favre, who at 40 is almost twice Thomas' age. The youngest player on Seattle's roster was clocked at 9.8 seconds from interception to end zone, pretty impressive considering it wasn't a straight line.
"It felt like Pop Warner when you throw your head back and just run," Thomas said.
The result was Seattle's breakaway star of the night.
• Rookie tight end Anthony McCoy left the game with an ankle injury.
• Leon Washington started the game at running back. He gained 16 yards on six carries and also returned a kickoff.
• Defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis suffered a broken thumb.
Vikings 24, Seahawks 13
Sea — Thomas 86 interception return (Mare kick), 12:45.
Min — Peterson 24 run (Longwell kick), 11:45.
Sea — FG Mare 38, 8:26.
Min — FG Longwell 28, 1:12.
Sea — FG Mare 34, 12:25.
Min — Walker 25 pass from Rosenfels (Longwell kick), 7:09.
Min — D'Imperio 7 pass from Webb (Longwell kick), 2:48.
A — 63,550.
|Total Net Yards||286||358|
|Time of Possession||22:52||37:08|
Rushing — Seattle, Forsett 6-20, Washington 6-16, J.Jones 2-6, Whitehurst 1-2. Minnesota, Peterson 11-37, Gerhart 7-30, Reynaud 3-15, Young 5-12, I.Johnson 4-10, Jackson 1-5, D'Imperio 1-2, Webb 1-1.
Passing — Seattle, Whitehurst 12-26-1-138, Hasselbeck 9-17-0-126. Minnesota, Favre 16-26-2-187, Rosenfels 5-6-0-71, Webb 1-1-0-7, Jackson 1-3-0-4.
Receiving — Seattle, Martin 4-49, Butler 4-27, Williams 3-54, Tate 2-47, Houshmandzadeh 2-23, Branch 1-42, Obomanu 1-9, Carlson 1-6, Morrah 1-5, J.Jones 1-1, A.McCoy 1-1. Minnesota, Camarillo 4-47, Shiancoe 3-28, Peterson 2-36, Walker 2-32, Harvin 2-30, D'Imperio 2-22, Payne 2-19, Lewis 1-20, Tahi 1-15, F.Brown 1-9, Berrian 1-8, Young 1-4, Gerhart 1-(minus 1).
Missed FG — Seattle, Mare 43 (WR).
Information in this story, originally published Aug. 28, 2010, was corrected Aug. 29, 2010. A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Roy Lewis suffered a broken thumb. In fact, it was Jonathan Lewis, a defensive tackle who suffered that injury.
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