Seahawks finally finish off close game

After coming into Thursday night 1-5 in one-possession games, Seattle held on for a big win.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks have been so close in so many games this season with little more to show for it than a handful of excruciating losses.

Thursday night, they broke through and won one of those games, beating the Green Bay Packers 27-24 in a pivotal contest — for both teams — at CenturyLink Field.

“Man, when are we going to finish?” Seattle defensive end Quinton Jefferson said. “That was the biggest thing. I was so happy for us that we got that finish finally.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” he said. “We’ve got to learn how to win those types of games. I’m glad we got it now.”

In what was pretty close to a must-win situation, the Seahawks (5-5) got off to a horrible start and trailed for most of the game.

They lost a fumble on the first play of the game, and Green Bay (4-5-1) scored three plays later to take a 7-0 lead 74 seconds into the game.

The Packers built their lead to 14-3 late in the first quarter before the Seahawks started to work their way back into it.

The Seahawks led briefly in the second quarter, but the Packers regained the lead before halftime and still led 24-20 halfway through the fourth quarter.

It was starting to look and feel like another one of those losses and perhaps a third straight home defeat, which hadn’t happened since 2008.

“We feel like we haven’t lived up to the standards that we have at home,” Seattle center Justin Britt said. “It was good to come in here and get a win like this in prime time.”

The Seahawks came into the game 1-5 in one-possession games — games decided by eight points or less — and their five losses have been by a combined total of 25 points.

In each of their last two losses they had the ball at the end of the game with an opportunity to tie the score or take the lead.

They have played good teams close and beaten some bad teams, but the season was lacking the kind of statement victory that can help a team step up to the next level.

“We’re a young team, so there’s a lot of young mistakes that we’ve made in the past, and it’s just a learning process,” Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said.

“Those close games that we weren’t able to pull out, you’re going to start seeing close games become close wins, and then those close wins turn into dominant performances,” he said. “It’s just a process that we’ve got to go through as a young team.”

Facing another close loss, the Seahawks played their best fourth quarter of the season.

After Green Bay kicked a field goal to make it 24-20 with 8:23 left, Seattle went 75 yards in seven plays to score the decisive touchdown. The drive was highlighted by two fingertip catches by Tyler Lockett that gained 52 yards on back-to-back plays.

Then, on third-and-9 from the Green Bay 15, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson found tight end Ed Dickson for a touchdown.

Lockett is one of those young guys who needs to get to the next level for this team to succeed, and he had five catches for 71 yards on the night.

After Dickson’s touchdown, the Packers still had 5:08 left in the game and one of the greatest quarterbacks of his era, Aaron Rodgers to lead the charge.

But Seattle’s defense forced a three-and-out, and, after Green Bay punted, the Seahawks had the ball at their own 20 with 4:11 left, still plenty of time for the Packers to pull out a victory.

But the offense ground out two first downs on four straight running plays to get to the two-minute warning, and, with the Packers out of timeouts, the Seahawks were able to kneel down three times to run out the clock.

“That’s the way we want to end every game,” Britt said. “When we have the ball in that situation, that’s what we expect. Put the team on our back and congratulate the defense on their hard work by not letting them go back out there.”

Baldwin said it was the kind of victory that affirms his faith in this team.

“I really do like this team,” Baldwin said. “This is a very vibrant, very happy, very excited team. It’s a fun team.

“They enjoy playing the game of football, and that’s the way it should be because this sport is hard at this level,” he said. “And when you’re having fun typically you’re playing well.”

“We’ve got grit,” Jefferson said. “All these games that have been by one score, we had to get over the hump, and I’m glad it was today. We got a win when we needed it the most.

“In the NFL there’s a lot of games decided by a field goal or so,” he said. “So we’ve got to keep battling like heck.”

Thursday they did that, and it paid off.

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