HOUSTON — One year ago on Sept. 29, Michael Bowie was playing tackle for Northeastern State in a Division II game against Northwest Missouri. His team lost 66-6.
This year on Sept. 29, he was lining up against J.J. Watt, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
Bowie encountered some predictable problems, but he and the Seattle Seahawks’ patchwork offensive line performed well enough to rally to a 23-20 overtime win over Houston at Reliant Stadium.
“It shows you life is a roller coaster,” Bowie said. “But I’m sure happy and blessed I’m with this organization.”
The organization is happy to have him, too, having picked him up in the seventh round in last spring’s NFL draft. He was called upon to get his first NFL start when Breno Giacomini was ruled out for Sunday’s game with a knee injury.
It wasn’t just Bowie, though, as Lemuel Jeanpierre had to start for injured Pro Bowl center Max Unger, and the left side was shuffled again with Paul McQuistan at left tackle for Russell Okung (toe), and James Carpenter moved into the starting role at left guard to accommodate McQuistan’s slide from guard to tackle.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll conceded that it didn’t look good for a while, as quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked five times.
“You could tell we were scrambling for a while and we had a hard time picking them up and getting things done up front,” Carroll said. “But they hung tough and they finished it off and we got ourselves a win. I was really proud of those guys for coming through.”
McQuistan, the veteran of the offensive line group, said the performance “showed how resilient we are and how we could fight through it; it was a great win on the road, with being down early, but we still believed we had a chance to win.”
He gained confidence, he said, when Wilson started taking off under pressure and scrambling on his own. He finished with 77 rushing yards.
Of the young guys on the line with him? “I think they did pretty well given the circumstances,” McQuistan said. “Being on the road against this team. But we still have room to get better.”
Jeanpierre appeared to have no trouble with either shotgun snaps or making the calls for the line blocking schemes.
“We’ve been down before and come back,” Jeanpierre said. “When we had that (98-yard) drive (in the fourth quarter), we knew we could do it. That kind of helped us get our second wind. There’s things we could have done better, and things we can improve on, but we believed that if we kept grinding we could come back and get the win.”