Justin Coleman scored on a pick-six at a key moment in a close game. But it was his touchdown celebration that went viral.

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ARLINGTON, Texas — On a night in which the Seahawks defense came out determined to prove its worth after coughing up 42 points against the Rams last week, nickelback Justin Coleman had one of the biggest momentum-shifting plays of the game.

Coleman picked off Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott’s pass meant for Ezekiel Elliott on the Cowboys’ first possession of the third quarter and ran the ball back 30 yards for a crucial score.

That pick-six put the Seahawks up 14-9 on the Cowboys and keyed the Seahawks’ comeback in a game in which Seattle’s offense struggled.

Seahawks 21, Cowboys 12

 

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Seattle went on to win 21-12 at AT&T Stadium on Christmas Eve, and kept their playoff hopes alive going into the regular-season finale at home against Arizona Sunday.

Coleman’s score was one of three big turnovers the Seahawks’ defense had, and it was a key component in the win.

“It was clutch. Right on time, a big momentum shift,” safety Earl Thomas said.

It was Coleman’s second interception return for a TD this season. He also had a 28-yard pick-six against Indianapolis on Oct. 1.

“It wasn’t that big a deal,” Coleman said. “I was just doing my job. I guess he overthrew it, and I had to trust my hands to catch the pick. And the only thing I was thinking about was scoring, so that’s about it.”

But as noteworthy as Coleman’s TD was, his celebration was the thing that went viral.

Coleman sprinted past the goal line with the football and jubilantly leapt into a giant red Salvation Army kettle in the back of the end zone.

Coleman’s leap into the kettle pumped up the Seahawks, and defensive end Frank Clark was the first guy to come over and celebrate with Coleman by beating on the side of the kettle.

“Honestly, it was so quiet (in the kettle) I was like, “Damn, did I really score?” Coleman said. “And then Frank (Clark) was there and I was like, ‘OK, I got my teammate. Now I know I scored. Let’s go.’ ”

Coleman’s kettle leap came with a price. He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and Seattle was penalized 15 yards. But his teammates thought the boost Coleman provided outweighed the penalty, and Coleman said it’s worth any potential fine the NFL might levy on him.

“I was just worried about getting these guys going, you know?” Coleman said. “A fine, if that comes, then I’ll have to deal with it.”

The Seahawks players loved Coleman’s celebration.

“I enjoyed it a lot, man. Celebrating my teammate’s success,” Clark said. “That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. I celebrate his success, he celebrates my success and at the end of the day, we celebrate as a team.”

“Just to see him jump in that — what was that thing? — that was pretty wild,” Thomas said.

Coleman said his celebration was preplanned — in part because he learned his lesson from his touchdown in the Indianapolis game, when he scored and had no touchdown celebration planned.

“I was telling everybody, if I catch a pick-six in the end zone, I’m gonna go into that barrel,” Coleman said, grinning. “That’s exactly what happened.”

Coleman’s not the first player to celebrate a touchdown by hopping into the Salvation Army kettle in the back of the end zone at AT&T Stadium. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott pulled the same move last season, when he scored a touchdown against Tampa Bay.

Elliott also drew a flag for his celebration, but, Coleman will be happy to know, was ultimately not fined by the NFL.

Coleman admitted Sunday that he took the idea from Elliott but did it to prove a point.

“I just felt like mocking him, that’s how I felt,” said Coleman, who also had three tackles, a quarterback hit and a pass defense.

The Seahawks’ defenders said they were not amused by how Elliott, this week, bet former Rams running back Eric Dickerson that he would rush for 200 yards against Seattle in his first game back from serving a six-game suspension.
Elliott finished with 97 rushing yards on 24 carries.

Coleman downplayed the significance of Elliott’s comment, saying, “We don’t pay attention to outside sources; we just know what we can do.”

But Clark was more candid about the effect Elliott’s bet with Dickerson had on Seattle’s locker room.

“He lost the bet,” said Clark, who four tackles and a sack. “You’re never gonna come out and say you’re gonna rush for 200 yards and guess that that’s a thing that’s gonna be taken lightly. I don’t care who you are. I honestly don’t give a damn who Ezekiel Elliott is.

“Next time you say you’re gonna run for 200 (yards), we’re gonna make him pay again.”