Most of the focus heading into Sunday’s game between the Texans and the Seahawks was on how the Texans players would show their displeasure with team owner Bob McNair’s comments about letting “inmates run the prison” during recent league meetings to discuss the national anthem and player protests.
The majority of Texans players knelt during the national anthem, following through on a vow to have a unified demonstartion of their feelings. They then got up and played as exciting a game as the league has seen all year.
The game was tied at 21 at halftime and there were five lead changes in the second half, culminating in Russell Wilson hitting Jimmy Graham for an 18-yard touchdown with 21 seconds left to play. Wilson’s fourth touchdown pass of the night made the score 41-38 and Deshaun Watson couldn’t engineer any more magic on a day that saw him throw four touchdowns of his own. Richard Sherman picked off a deep ball, Watson’s third interception of the game, with seven seconds left and the Seahawks had a fourth straight win.
Wilson set up Graham’s score with long completions to Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson on his way to completing 26-of-41 passes for 452 yards.
Watson was 19-of-30 for 402 yards and four touchdowns while also running eight times for 67 yards. The Texans opted to run Lamar Miller on three straight plays after the two minute warning, however, and the Seahawks were able to force a punt. That Texans drive came after cornerback Marcus Williams read an out pattern all the way and picked off Russell Wilson on the Houston 7-yard-line with just under three minutes left in the game.
Watson’s next-to-last pass of the afternoon came on the previous offensive possession and didn’t go far in the air, but it turned into a big play all the same when DeAndre Hopkins turned a screen into a 72-yard touchdown. That score wiped out the lead the Seahawks took on a Jimmy Graham touchdown that came less than a minute before Hopkins went the distance and continued a huge day for the Texans’ top wideout.
Hopkins skipped practice Friday as a result of McNair’s comments, but didn’t look like he missed a beat once the game started as he caught eight passes for 224 yards in the loss. Richardson and Lockett combined for 12 catches for 226 yards to pace an offense that got three rushing yards from players who weren’t Wilson. That would be a major stumbling block in many games, but it was barely a speed bump for the Seahawks thanks to the fireworks that Wilson provided through the air.