Seahawks make surprise statement early

December, 7, 2008
12/07/08
4:26
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFL coaches script plays but they generally can't script outcomes. The Seahawks couldn't have come up with a better one against the Patriots.

Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, playing behind a makeshift line without four opening-day starters, used a strong round game to lead the Seahawks on a 13-yard, 87-yard touchdown drive for a 7-0 lead.

The drive ended with Deion Branch, acquired from New England for a draft choice the Patriots used on safety Brandon Meriweather, beating Meriweather for a 14-yard touchdown reception. Earlier in the drive, Meriweather broke up a pass intended for Branch. He nearly had an interception on the play.

Seattle's offensive line pushed around the Patriots' defensive front during the opening drive, sealing edges on outside runs and creating running lanes up the middle, even when massive nose tackle Vince Wilfork was in the game for New England. Wallace's mobility was also key on the drive. His scrambling made the Patriots pay when New England got pressure. Injured starter Matt Hasselbeck can't offer that to the offense.

That was a shocking first drive for Seattle. The Patriots have much more at stake in this game, but the Seahawks have played with fire on both sides of the ball. Their defense hit Matt Cassel twice on the Patriots' opening drive. We'll see if Seattle can sustain this.

Note: A shoulder injury has forced Wilfork from the game. His return is questionable.

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