LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — How’s this for a frustrating hat trick: Percy Harvin had three touchdowns called back because of penalties.
“Well, the first one I was cool with,” he said. “I was like, ‘OK.’ Then when the second one happened, I was like, ‘Wow.’ And then when the third one happened I just flipped my hands down. I couldn’t believe it.”
Were it not for the self-inflicted wounds, the Seattle Seahawks might have had a cakewalk against the Washington Redskins. As it was, they settled for a 27-17 win in a Monday night game flush with “neutral zone infractions,” holds, false starts and even a 15-yarder that was called because someone, according to the referee, “hit a player on the ground unnecessarily.”
“It could’ve been a very big night for us,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We came out flying, but we were just a little bit out of whack.”
One player who definitely wasn’t out of whack was Russell Wilson, who rushed for a career-high 122 yards and a touchdown and completed 18 of 24 passes for 201 yards with two scores as the Seahawks (3-1) maintained their dominance in games played under the lights. Seattle is an NFL-best 21-8 on Monday nights, including nine wins in a row. The team is also 11-1 in prime time under Carroll.
Wilson dazzled throughout, whether it was a designed run or a scramble out of the pocket. He had rushes of 16, 29, 13 and 22 in the first two drives. He headed for the pylon on a clinical zone-read run for a 9-yard score in the second quarter, giving Seattle a 17-0 lead, and pulled off two incredible run-for-his-life scrambles in the second half after the Redskins threatened to make a game of it.
“It was like he wasn’t Superman in the second half,” Redskins safety Ryan Clark said. “He was, like, Clark Kent, half-Superman. He still did his thing.”
But how bad was the Seahawks’ penalty bug? It wasn’t until a 4-yard run by Alfred Morris with three minutes left in the first half that the Redskins’ total yards (47) passed Seattle’s penalty yards (45) for good.
“I just think it’s ‘Monday Night Football.’ You know, the fans are watching and everybody wants to see a good game, so they’re going to try to make it as close as possible,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. “It’s a business.”
Seattle finished with 13 penalties for 90 yards, and Harvin paid the price. It would have been 21-0 if either of his would-be touchdowns — on back-to-back plays — had counted in the first half. First, his 16-yard run to the end zone was wiped out by holding on left guard James Carpenter, then his 26-yard catch-and-run was negated by a flag for a false start on Harvin himself.
Early in the fourth quarter, Wilson hit a wide-open Harvin for an apparent 41-yard score, but Carpenter was cited again — this time because he blocked a Redskins player who was already on the ground.
“It got to the point where he had a little talk in the huddle,” Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said. “Like, ‘We need to get things straight — because this is ridiculous.’”
Indeed, the Seahawks recovered from the third overturned TD. Wilson scrambled every which way — and nearly past the line of scrimmage before retreating — and hit Luke Willson for a 19-yard gain, and punter-holder Jon Ryan ran 5 yards on a fake field goal on fourth-and-1. Six plays later, Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch for a 9-yard score to give Seattle a 24-10 lead with 6:31 remaining.
The Redskins pulled within a touchdown on Kirk Cousins’ 6-yard pass to Andre Roberts with 3:35 to go, but the Seahawks took the ensuing kickoff and marched back down the field. Wilson converted a third-and-4 with another scramble, evading Ryan Kerrigan and tumbling backward as he found Lynch for a 30-yard gain.
And there was no flag.
“I don’t know what the heck happened on that play,” Carroll said. “For everybody to be right and not grab somebody or do something wrong in the midst of all the chaos, and we come out of it with about a 40- or 50-yard play or whatever it was, it was phenomenal.
Steven Hauschka then iced the game with a 43-yard field goal with 21 seconds to play.
The Redskins (1-4) punted eight times, and two deep passes to DeSean Jackson accounted for 137 of their 307 total yards.
Cousins completed 21 of 36 passes for 283 yards and dropped to 1-6 in his career as a Redskins starter.
“Overall, as a group offensively, our running game’s not quite good enough,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “Obviously our deep passing game’s not quite good enough. We’re not quite good enough anywhere.”
Notes: Lynch ran for 72 yards on 17 carries and didn’t enter the game until the Seahawks’ second series. Carroll said Lynch’s muscles were tight and needed extra time to get loose. ... Jackson finished with five catches for 157 yards. ... Robert Griffin III missed a third consecutive game with a dislocated left ankle, but he made a cameo appearance before the game, throwing passes to Jordan Reed — who is also injured — on the sideline. ... Washington has dropped seven straight in prime time and is 4-15 on Monday nights since 2000.