Justin Coleman of the Seahawks returned an interception 28 yards for the team’s first touchdown Sunday night. The pass was thrown by Jacoby Brissett, a former teammate of Coleman’s when they were with the New England Patriots.
Justin Coleman was one of the last Seahawks out of the shower after their big 46-18 victory over Indianapolis Sunday night.
He dressed quietly at his locker, and then finally, as he pulled on his socks, turned around to face the media.
“Whoa,” was the first thing Coleman said, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise as he took in the bevy of reporters waiting to talk to him in a scrum three-deep.
A third-string cornerback isn’t usually this popular with the media. But against the Colts, Coleman was thrust into the spotlight after Jeremy Lane suffered a groin injury early in the first quarter.
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The third-year pro finished the night with the first interception of his NFL career. And it came against a quarterback that, until this fall, was a teammate.
Coleman was traded to Seattle on Sept. 1 in exchange for a 2018 seventh-round pick. The former undrafted free agent out of Tennessee had been a member of the New England Patriots, and teammates with quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Coleman and Brissett were both on the New England team that beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl in February. Coleman spent his first two NFL seasons with the Patriots after signing with them in September 2015.
The Patriots traded Brissett to the Colts two days after Coleman was traded to the Seahawks, and that’s how the two former teammates found themselves on opposite sidelines at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night.
Coleman got the better of Brissett in this encounter.
In the second quarter, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back picked off Brissett’s pass meant for Kamar Aiken and ran it back for a 28-yard touchdown that was the Seahawks’ first of the game.
“The receiver came at me, pushed off a little bit, broke out and I was like, ‘OK, this is my opportunity to make a play or give up a play,’ ” Coleman said.
He stepped in front of Aiken, found the ball in his hands, and took off.
“I didn’t see nothing in front of me, just the end zone,” Coleman said. “Being that I know the quarterback, and the call we got, I felt like he was going to throw it to me at some point.”
Coleman rues not having a touchdown celebration ready — something teammate Neiko Thorpe will likely tease him about because, according to Coleman, Thorpe asked him in the locker room before the game whether he had any touchdown-celebration ideas.
“What you gonna do when you score?” Thorpe asked Coleman before the game.
It seemed a strange question to ask a third-string cornerback, and Coleman sort of laughed it off and dismissed it.
But Thorpe turned out to be prophetic. Coleman, unfortunately, did not have a TD celebration prepared. He says he doesn’t even remember how he celebrated his pick-six against the Colts.
“I need to come up with a celebration,” he said, laughing.
So, the question was posed, did Coleman’s familiarity with Brissett from their New England days help him diagnose that play and jump the receiver’s route? How well did he really know Brissett?
“I knew him enough,” Coleman said. “I’d been with him for a couple years. I know who he likes to throw to, and who he don’t, and his best passes. … I felt like he’s a good deep-ball guy. He can throw it deep and he’s a good quarterback, but he’s gotta progress and get better a little bit.”
The interception gave Coleman his first NFL touchdown, and it came at an opportune moment for a slow-starting Seahawks team.
“It gave us some more juice,” said safety Kam Chancellor. “Any time you make a play on defense, getting picks or turnovers, it gives the team juice.”
Coleman finished with a tackle, the interception returned for a touchdown and a pass defensed.