SEATTLE — Four touchdowns and 402 yards allowed through the air, and 509 yards altogether. Nine pass plays of 20 yards or more.
Worst of all, 38 points.
Those are numbers you expect to see from the Seattle Seahawks’ defense in a month, not in one game.
And yet, there were smiles all around the defensive side of the locker room after the Seahawks defeated the Houston Texans 41-38 in a wild NFL game Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s unexplainable because sometimes we don’t understand what happened,” Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin said. “We just know we won. As of right now, I’m so excited.”
This was the defense of head coach Pete Carroll’s worst nightmares.
“We didn’t do very well today,” Carroll said. “Come on. We gave up a million yards, points, and all that stuff.”
The 38 points allowed in a victory is the most in Carroll’s eight seasons in Seattle, by far. The previous high in the regular season came in a 39-30 victory over Pittsburgh in 2015.
The Seahawks gave up 36 points while winning the Beast Quake playoff game 41-36 against New Orleans in 2010, Carroll’s first season here.
“We couldn’t stop them,” Carroll said of Sunday’s game. “We thought we would be able to do better than that.”
The stat sheet was a disaster for Seattle’s legendary secondary as Deshaun Watson, Houston’s rookie quarterback, completed 19 of 30 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns.
And yet, the self-styled Legion of Boom made enough plays to help tip the balance in the end.
Moments after getting beat deep for a 59-yard touchdown pass, safety Earl Thomas had a 78-yard interception return for a first-quarter touchdown.
Cornerback Richard Sherman gave up one touchdown pass but also had his first two interceptions of the season.
The first set up a field goal that gave Seattle (5-2) the lead for the first time at 27-24 in the third quarter.
The second came on Houston’s final offensive play of the game, a desperation heave down the right sideline. Sherman made a relatively easy catch with seven seconds remaining to secure Seattle’s fourth consecutive victory and drop Houston to 3-4.
“It’s so crazy to see the people that you look up to making awesome plays because that’s how I want to be,” Griffin said. “I want to be that person.”
The Seahawks were quick to give Watson a lot of credit, and rightly so.
He bedeviled the Seattle defense time and time again by scampering away from pressure and either finding a receiver open downfield or running for critical yards. In addition to his 402 passing yards, Watson was Houston’s leading rusher with eight carries for 67 yards.
“You’ve got to give him a lot of credit,” Sherman said. “He played a fantastic game. To be a rookie, coming here, under all the circumstances, you’ve got to give him all the credit in the world. He’s going to be a great player in this league.”
In the same breath, however, Sherman voiced another theme heard throughout the locker room.
“We deserve a good share of criticism today,” he said. “That’s fair.”
It looked like Thomas was most to blame for Houston’s first touchdown, a 59-yard bomb from Watson to Will Fuller V, and he confirmed that after the game.
“That was on me,” Thomas said. “I knew it was a deep threat. The matchup was on the rook (Griffin, a rookie), and I’ve got to understand that. I just got too greedy for the over route. Kam (Chancellor) was right there in perfect position. I’ve got to trust Kam and stay back.”
Sherman, who was beaten by Fuller for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, also said he was not at his best.
“I was kind of sleep walking out there early on,” Sherman said. “They got a few nothing plays that should have been stopped.
“This was not one of our better games in the history of us being here,” he said. “It’s a number of things. A number of dumb mistakes. And the quarterback playing good football. You have to give them credit. I’m not trying to take anything away from them. We just also didn’t execute.”
And this from Griffin: “The whole game was a humbling experience for everybody.”
Thank goodness for the offense, which is something you haven’t read very often about the Seahawks this season.
“Today the defense really needed the offense,” Carroll said. “We’ve been in a lot of games on the other side of it, and they all know it.”
No argument from Sherman.
“He bailed us out,” Sherman said of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw for a career-high 452 yards and drove the Seahawks 80 yards in three plays to the game-winning touchdown with 21 seconds left. “He was lights out down the stretch.”
Despite all of the above, there is no lack of confidence in the secondary.
“We’re fine,” Sherman said. “Some of those plays, he (Watson) extends it to seven, eight seconds. It’s hard to play man coverage when you have to deal with that.
“But overall we’re a great group,” he said. “We’re as good as we’ve ever been.”