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Originally published October 14, 2012 at 9:54 PM | Page modified October 14, 2012 at 10:56 PM

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Wilson takes more chances downfield — and it pays off

It was Russell Wilson's first-quarter pass to Doug Baldwin that might have been the most significant sign of growth for the quarterback in this game.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Russell Wilson's final pass is the one that will be remembered, a 46-yard completion to Sidney Rice for the game-winning touchdown.

But it was his first-quarter pass to Doug Baldwin that might have been the most significant sign of growth for Wilson in this game. It went for 50 yards and was the Seahawks' longest play from scrimmage this season at that point.

Coach Pete Carroll said that was the result of a concerted effort all week to get the receivers to keep working downfield even if Wilson flees the pocket.

"There are huge plays there for us if we just look and fight hard to get open," Carroll said.

That pass to Baldwin was proof of what can happen.

"I took a couple more chances than what I would normally do sometimes," Wilson said. "And it came up big."

Picking on the Patriots

When cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted Tom Brady in the third quarter, it ended Brady's streak of 179 pass attempts without an interception.

Then safety Earl Thomas intercepted Brady for a second time in nine attempts, picking off a pass intended for Wes Welker in the end zone early in the fourth quarter.

It was Thomas' second interception of the year and came almost in the same spot where he nearly picked off a pass in the first quarter, which he might have been able to return for a touchdown.

It's the second week in a row Thomas didn't pull in a ball he appeared in position to intercept.

"I could make an excuse," Thomas said. "Both of them hit me in my chest. I've just got to finish the ball. That's two weeks in a row. The ball has been finding me. I'm glad it's finding me. Usually, teams don't try to throw at me. I was just happy the ball would come my way."

Kicking himself

Jon Ryan punted four times Sunday for 240 yards, becoming the first player since 1946 to average at least 60 yards in a game in which he attempted at least four punts.

It was a ball that Ryan didn't kick that was his only problem during the game. Ryan dropped the ball off a deep snap at the end of the second quarter, and he didn't attempt to kick it even with a limited rush. He was tackled at the Seattle 24, the Seahawks turning the ball over on downs with 40 seconds left.

The mistake didn't end up costing Seattle as New England mismanaged its final possession.

Notes

• Former Seahawks receiver Deion Branch, in his first appearance in Seattle since the 2010 trade that sent him back to New England, caught just one pass for 5 yards. "It's always good to go back some place you've been," he said. "Seattle's a great city, a great organization. I'm very thankful for the opportunity these guys gave me, but I'm back in New England. I came out here to help my team win. I didn't do a good enough job, speaking of myself."

• Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had praise for the Seahawks defense, which intercepted him twice. Brady completed 36 of 58 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

"They're a good defense," he said. "They really force you to make good plays. When we made them today, we did a good job, and when we made bad plays, they take advantage of them. They have a good secondary and a good pass rush. Obviously, they are a very good team."

• Welker caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown but was frustrated by the Patriots' struggles in the red zone. That included the sequence at the end of the first half when their drive died at the Seattle 3-yard line as time expired.

"They did a good job down there, and we didn't really have the threat of being able to run the ball in that situation, and I think that hurt us a little bit," Welker said.

Welker was the recipient of a thunderous hit from Brandon Browner after a reception in the second quarter, momentarily stunning him. After missing a few plays, he came back into the game and continued catching passes.

Times reporter Larry Stone contributed to this report.

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