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Originally published October 28, 2012 at 7:12 PM | Page modified October 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM

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Seahawks' passing game takes a major step forward

Russell Wilson had his best performance on the road so far this season despite the loss.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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DETROIT — Tight end Zach Miller's first touchdown catch as a Seahawk defied explanation.

"I honestly don't know how I caught it," he said afterward. "I'll have to look later."

That was a pretty good testament to just how difficult his fourth-quarter catch was. Miller played through contact from two defenders on a corner route, and when quarterback Russell Wilson lofted the pass over his shoulder, Miller adjusted his route and pulled the ball to his body with one hand for a go-ahead touchdown.

"I knew he'd catch it, one-on-one situation," Wilson said. "Zach's a tremendous tight end and has unbelievable hands."

Miller's catch was relegated to being a footnote once the Seahawks lost the game 28-24, but that play was only part of the reason Sunday's game constituted a major step forward for Seattle's passing offense.

Wilson attempted 35 passes, his most in any game this season. He threw for 236 yards, two touchdowns and his quarterback rating of 96.8 was his highest in five road games this season.

He was 6-for-8 passing on Seattle's final touchdown drive, which covered 87 yards and would have been hailed as a potential turning point if Seattle had not gone on to lose.

"I definitely believe we can do that consistently," Wilson said. "We have the time in terms of the offensive line blocking and doing a great job of giving me enough time to make decisions."

The Seahawks took more chances Sunday, too, but at least one of Seattle's receivers would like a second chance at an opportunity that came his way.

"Mainly the one I had down the center of the field," said Sidney Rice.

That was the play on Seattle's first drive of the third quarter. Seattle had the ball near midfield and Wilson threw to Rice in the deep middle. Rice was behind the defense, but couldn't quite catch a ball he got his hands on.

"A tough catch," said Rice, who caught six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. "But it's a catch that I can make any day of the week, and I wish I had that one back."

Wilson would have liked a mulligan later in the period when his first-down throw to Rice down the sideline was intercepted by Ricardo Silva, the Lions' third-string safety who was starting in place of the injured Amari Spievey.

The pick was a result of miscommunication, as Rice had raised his hand to signal Wilson.

"I thought Sidney was saying, 'I'm going,' " Wilson said. "He was saying, 'Hey, throw it to me now.' "

That pick was about the only blemish on a game in which Wilson and the rest of Seattle's passing game took a significant step forward.

"We threw the ball downfield," Rice said. "We took shots, and we're happy about that. We're still growing in the passing game. I have no doubt that we're going to get better."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.

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