INDIANAPOLIS — Seattle Seahawks safety Jeron Johnson could only chuckle afterward.
He saw the loose ball head into the end zone after Jermaine Kearse blocked a first-quarter punt. Johnson sprinted after it, dived on the ball and felt he smothered it into his body as he slid out of the back of the end zone.
The initial call on the field was a safety. Like all scoring plays in the NFL, it was reviewed.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was so sure at one point that the call would be overturned, he threw his hands in the air during a commercial break.
The bad news for the Seahawks came shortly afterward when the play was confirmed as a safety.
“My thought was get on the ball before it went out the back of the end zone,” Johnson said. “I felt like I got it and covered it inbounds. Had control of it. Looked like I had control of it before it went out of bounds …”
The call put the Seahawks in front 12-0. It also prevented them from being up 17-0.
“Obviously, 17 would have looked a little bit grim,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. “Twelve looked a lot better than 17. It could have been (a bigger hole), but our guys just hung in there.”
This was a rare good start for the Seahawks which came into the game with just 10 first-quarter points this season.
“We knew we were off to a good start,” Carroll said. “We could feel that. We were ready to go and playing well. Not getting the points on the blocked kick, which could have been, that could’ve been a much different margin and unfortunately that didn’t go for us.
“He had the ball in his chest and they didn’t see it that way. What I was told was they saw the ball wasn’t secure.”
Johnson said he would take the same approach if the play happened again. Right afterward, he thought about what would have happened if he just tapped it back into the field. What he didn’t know was the two players directly behind him were Seahawks safety Chris Maragos and fullback Derrick Coleman.
“I tried to recover the ball, which I did,” Johnson said.
Johnson hurt his hamstring on the opening kickoff in Week 1 versus Carolina and had been out since. He finished with one special teams tackle.
Unger out again
Pro Bowl center Max Unger was inactive again Sunday, forcing the Seahawks to start three backups on the offensive line for the second consecutive week. Lemuel Jeanpierre started in Unger’s place once again. Paul McQuistan was at left tackle for the injured Russell Okung and rookie Michael Bowie at right tackle for the injured Breno Giacomini.
Also out of action was veteran tight end Zach Miller. Rookie Luke Willson started for him.
“It was going to be a miracle if (Miller and Unger) made it through,” Carroll said. “We just needed to wait and do the right thing. It’s a long season.
“Like I’ve been saying all along, we’ve been trying to take the conservative route with these guys returning so that they’ll be there for the long haul and that was the right decision.”
Wilson on the run
The Colts had two sacks, both by defensive end Robert Mathis, but were able to flush Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson often.
That sent Wilson on the run.
Wilson rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries, many scrambles up the middle, for his first 100-yard rushing game of his career. Marshawn Lynch also ran for 102 yards on 17 carries.
Wilson has 179 rushing yards the last two weeks behind the mixed-and-matched offensive line.
“Just the flow of the game,” Wilson said. “The thing for me is I am always going through my progressions, so, if it’s not there for me, I am just trying to step up and get something positive for us.”
Wilson was less successful with his arm. He was 15-for-31, just a 48.4 percent completion percentage. He missed an open Golden Tate down the right sideline with 25 seconds to play in the second quarter. If he was on point, the Seahawks would have had a touchdown right before the half. Instead, the drive ended without points.
“I honestly thought that was right on the money,” Wilson said. “I was just about a half-a-foot too far.”
Willson made two catches for 28 yards. .. QB B.J. Daniels, CB Jeremy Lane, FB Spencer Ware and DE Benson Mayowa were inactive for the Seahawks. … The Lucas Oil Stadium roof was closed because of rain. … 66,608 tickets were distributed for the game.