But if it seemed lifeless in the first half, Seattle was simply electric in the second with touchdown drives of 85, 75, 74 and 84 sandwiching a fumble return for a touchdown by Bobby Wagner, giving the Seahawks 29 points in the span of 13:19.
It wasn’t necessarily anything anyone said at halftime after the Seahawks found themselves in a surprising struggle with the lowly Indianapolis Colts that sparked one of the most electric turnarounds in recent team history. Instead, it was more of a shared realization that things had to change.
“I think we all were just kind of ‘enough is enough,’ ’’ said tight end Luke Willson.
And maybe it really was as simple as that as the Seahawks went from appearing beaten down to looking again like world beaters as they poured it on and then pulled away for a 46-18 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Such a rout hardly seemed in the offing when the Seahawks headed into the locker room at the half down 15-10, their only touchdown having come on a 28-yard interception return by Justin Coleman.
But in what coach Pete Carroll termed “an awesome turnaround,’’ the Seahawks outscored the Colts 36-3 in the second half, scoring on drives of 84, 75, 74 and 84 yards. Seattle gained 337 yards in the second half while holding the Colts to just 32.
And while there were numerous unexpected heroes — Coleman, backup running back J.D. McKissic, who scored on a 30-yard run and a 27-yard pass, and backup defensive end Marcus Smith, who forced a fumble that Bobby Wagner returned for a touchdown — the catalyst was a most familiar face, quarterback Russell Wilson.
It was Wilson’s 23-yard touchdown run on a third-and-10 play on the team’s first drive of the second half that most later pointed to as a turning point.
“That touchdown that he scored kind of jolted everybody and got us all going,’’ Willson said.
Wilson, who dove into the end zone while being tackled by Colts safety Darius Butler, celebrated his first rushing touchdown of the season with uncharacteristic vigor.
“Yeah, that’s the Russell we like,’’ said receiver Doug Baldwin. “Don’t get me wrong. He’s always cool, calm and collected. But guys want to see that passion from him and I really think if you ask me what was the spark, it was him taking off on that long run and then getting up and celebrating the way he did. That gave a lot of juice to the rest of the team.’’
Certainly something did as Seattle scored touchdowns on four of its five second-half drives with the only time it didn’t coming on an interception when a well-thrown ball by Wilson went in and out of the hands of tight end Jimmy Graham.
Wilson also threw an interception in the first half that was tipped.
Otherwise he was almost flawless in completing 21 of 26 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns, though what stood out to his teammates and coach Pete Carroll was the one he ran for.
Carroll noted that Wilson doesn’t often put himself in a position to make that kind of play.
“He doesn’t get many chances to do that,’’ Carroll said. “He’s always running out of bounds and taking care of himself. That one he went for it and did it at the right time.’’
Said Wilson: “I that as a competitor there’s moments where certain things get you going and also get the team going, as well. The line did a great job. I was able to scamper out and get up the field and really hit it and get north. When you see the end zone, sometimes you have to find a way.”
The play was reviewed after Wilson was initially ruled down just shy of the end zone. But on a night when four calls ended up being overturned, Wilson knew what the final ruling would be
“I knew I was in,” he said. “I felt like I kept my legs up above the ground and got the ball in there.” The TD, combined with Wilson’s two-point pass to Baldwin that came after a Colts’ penalty allowed the Seahawks to snap it from the one, put Seattle ahead 18-15 and the game never really seemed in doubt again.
If there was a negative on the night it was a slew of injuries, including what Carroll called “a significant’’ ankle injury suffered by rookie running back Chris Carson, who was carted off the field in the fourth quarter.
There was also a scary scene afterward in the locker room as left tackle Rees Odhiambo began having difficulty breathing after taking a hit to the chest on the Colts’ interception in the third quarter.
Odhiambo was attended to for several minutes in the locker room with Carroll and teammates watching closely. Carroll said Odhiambo would spend the night in the hospital to be “checked out.”
Little went right for the Seahawks early as they saw Wilson get sacked for a safety in the first quarter on a play when he couldn’t get rid of the ball quickly enough. The offense did not do much, other than a last-gasp drive to get into field-goal range. Maybe fittingly, Blair Walsh misfired on a 37-yarder as time ran out.
“I don’t know,’’ Baldwin said, shaking his head, when asked what happened in the first half. “That always happens — slow start out of the game and for whatever reason we pick it up in the third and fourth quarters. I think maybe it’s the excitement. Guys get so excited going into the game, they just have to settle down.’’
Carroll also seemed stumped at how drastic a difference there was in the two halves.
“We talked about this week that this was an opportunity to take the next step and get this thing moving and at halftime you couldn’t tell,” Carroll said. “Fifteen-10 you couldn’t tell. We came out of there and the offense went right down the field and the defense took off and it went just the way we love it to go.”
Willson and others insisted nothing out of the ordinary was said, just a quick recalibrating.
“We just came in at halftime and talked like normal,’’ said linebacker K.J. Wright. “We just needed to do our job, be normal and do the little things right.’’
Said safety Kam Chancellor: “We just went out there with more effort. We just kept the energy on our side.’’
As well as some faith that maybe was eluding some of the 68,872 in attendance, especially considering the desultory second half of a week ago in Tennessee.
“We have to stay poised, stay together no matter the circumstances,’’ Chancellor said. “We just keep fighting because we’re a team.’’
One that in the span of a half went from looking like its window had begun to shut to looking like the Super Bowl contender everyone envisioned when training camp began.
The Colts had six drives in the second half, going 8, 2, minus-1, 2, 10 and 11 yards.
Seattle, meanwhile, finished with its most points since a 50-17 win over Buffalo late in the 2012 season.
“That second half is what we are capable of,’’ said Willson, who caught one of Wilson’s touchdown throws. “That first half was not. But that second half felt good tonight.’’