GLENDALE, ARIZ. — Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice entered Thursday night’s game with 12 catches, a $41 million deal in his pocket and grumbling from outsiders about his play.
Rice excelled in a blowout against Jacksonville when he had five catches and two touchdowns. Outside of that, Rice has been ineffective. He’s had three games with one catch each.
Heading toward the back right corner of the end zone midway through the first quarter, Rice found a bit of redemption.
Quarterback Russell Wilson made a throw of power and precision when he rolled right, drifted back then launched the ball toward Rice. The receiver ran under the pass into an unmanned patch of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown grab that started a three-catch 50-yard performance.
Wilson threw the ball more than 40 yards in the air off his back foot and led Rice to the open area.
“It was basically a scramble drill,” Rice said of his score. “I saw the defender run down behind me when he thought Russell (Wilson) was going to run. As soon as he ran, I just ran the opposite way and got right behind him in the void.
“Russell threw it up, a perfect ball. Touchdown.”
Rice had knee surgery before the season and didn’t play in the exhibition season. Last week, things became worse for Rice when he stretched the ball out for extra yardage and fumbled. That drew the ire of coach Pete Carroll and was one of four Seattle fumbles against the Tennessee Titans.
Thursday, he was part of an offense that completed passes to nine players.
“It’s not focused on one receiver,” Rice said. “We’ve got a great group of receivers that make plays whenever they are called upon. We’re not going to complain about getting balls. As long as you’re winning football games, nothing else should matter.”
Rice looked in line for another big play when he zipped up the left sideline past Arizona rookie defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu grabbed him, then later tripped Rice on the route once the seven-year veteran had blown past.
There was no flag and no completion.
“I was very surprised,” Rice said of the lack of an interference call.
BROWNER BOUNCES BACK
Cornerback Brandon Browner was benched in the second quarter last week after being burned over the top twice.
He started the second half and played well, but it was still a statement from Carroll to bench part of the “Legion of Boom,” as the Seattle secondary calls itself.
Browner was on his game Thursday. He broke up a deep pass attempt to Arizona star wideout Larry Fitzgerald, which led to safety Earl Thomas coming up with his fourth interception of the season.
“I had a good feel out there tonight,” Browner said.
He later had an interception of his own. Browner appeared to have a clear path to the end zone before he tripped and landed at the 1.
“I could have at least stuck the ball out or something,” Browner said.
Browner will be fined $100 by his teammates for failing to score. He was also immediately teased on the sideline, where he could be seen laughing. It was a large turn of emotion for the normally serious Browner.
“As a competitor, you don’t like to be pulled out of the game,” Browner said. “We’ve got such a great team they pull me out and put in a guy like Walter (Thurmond), who is a hell of a cornerback. I play my part, everybody has a role on the team.”
Still, it was a blow for someone who is one of the key parts of a secondary that claims to be the best in the league.
“When one of us hurt, I hurt,” Thomas said. “I actually went up to him, he didn’t want to it hear it probably, but I was like, man, if you need to talk, I’m here.
“He stepped up like a pro and was like, naw, I’m fine.”
Wide receiver Golden Tate came out with a foot injury but re-entered the game. … Fullback Derrick Coleman left the game with a hamstring problem and did not return. … Offensive lineman James Carpenter left with a leg injury, but returned. … The Seahawks are hoping wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has been on injured reserve because of hip surgery in early August, can start practicing next week.