Rookie Russell Wilson connected for a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice on a post pattern with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter as the Seahawks wiped out a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to stun the Patriots, 24-23, Sunday afternoon in the rain at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The Patriots fell to 3-3 and into a tie with the Dolphins, Bills and Jets in the AFC East.
Tom Brady completed 36 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns and Wes Welker caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots blew a late lead. Brady had a rough second half, throwing a pair of interceptions while being called for his second intentional grounding of the game. Brady finished the game attempting a career high 58 passes.
Welker, who created a stir last Sunday night by saying he likes to "stick it" in the face of Bill Belichick, had another brilliant first half, catching seven passes on eight targets by Brady, gaining 102 yards and spectacular over-the-shoulder catch on a 46-yard touchdown reception that put the Patriots up, 7-3. Welker registered his fourth straight game of at least 100 yards receiving, the first Patriots player to accomplish that since Randy Moss in 2007.
The Patriots running game, after back-to-back 200-yard rushing games for the first time since 1978, was not as effective as Stevan Ridley was held to just 34 yards on 16 carries. Brandon Bolden, who looked effective in the first half, left with a knee injury and did not return. They finished with just 87 yards on 26 carries.
The Seahawks responded with an 85-yard drive on seven plays, capped off by a 24-yard TD pass over the middle from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin, putting the Seahawks up 10-7 at the end of the first.
The Patriots came right back with another one of their patented long scoring drives, going 80 yards in 15 plays in just over six minutes. The drive was capped off when Brady hit Aaron Hernandez on a one-yard fade to the right corner of the end zone, putting the Patriots up, 14-10. Welker then took one of the biggest hits of his career when defensive back Brandon Browner laid him out on the first play of a drive that ended with a Stephen Gostkowski 25-yard field goal, as the Patriots went up, 17-10. Welker would take another vicious hit from Kam Chancellor in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots looked certain to add more before halftime when Seattle punter Jon Ryan mishandled a snap in the rain and was tackled at the Seattle 24 with 40 seconds remaining. But a first down pass completion to Welker took 21 seconds. Brady moved the ball to the Seattle 3 with six seconds remaining. But the Patriots elected to take another shot at the end zone and Brady threw the ball out of the end zone and was called for intentional grounding.
The Patriots defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half, including another sack from rookie Chandler Jones. The defensive end had two sacks and now has five in his first six NFL games. Brady was intercepted for the first time in 179 attempts when he underthrew Deion Branch. Brady threw another interception in the fourth quarter, his first game of multiple interceptions since last November against the Giants.
Facing a fourth-and-3 at the Patriots 10, Wilson hit Braylon Edwards on a fade route in the left corner of the end zone, pulling the Seahawks to within six, 23-17, with 7:21 left. The 3-3 Patriots return home for a late afternoon game against the 3-3 Jets next Sunday at Gillette Stadium.