By Brady Henderson
After scoring 150 points during a three-game offensive explosion, the Seahawks won with their more familiar formula on Sunday.
A stingy defense and a strong running game kept the score close before Russell Wilson led a 90-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s 20-13 win over St. Louis.
Russell Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown run capped his fourth game-winning drive of the season. (AP)
Wilson’s latest game-winning drive gave the Seahawks five straight victories as they head to the playoffs. Their 11-5 regular-season record represents a four-game improvement from last season, when they finished 7-9 and missed out on the postseason.
Anyone looking for the biggest difference between the last two Seahawks teams should look no further than the quarterbacks, especially their performances in late-game situations.
Wilson’s predecessor, Tarvaris Jackson, didn’t lead a game-winning drive last season. With Jackson under center, the Seahawks lost close games to Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco and Arizona after failing to score on their final offensive possession. Jackson didn’t lose those games himself, of course, but his late mistakes were costly in some.
Wilson’s rookie season began with a Week 1 loss to Arizona when the Seahawks failed to find the end zone on their final drive despite running four plays inside the Cardinals’ 10-yard line.
Wilson has four game-winning drives since then. That total doesn’t include the go-ahead scoring drives he led in the fourth quarters of games against Detroit and Chicago, only to have those teams answer with scores of their own. Those drives covered 87 and 97 yards, respectively, and Wilson capped both with touchdown passes.
Wilson has had a strong rookie season overall, finishing with a 100.0 passer rating that ranks fourth in the NFL and first in franchise history. But his fourth-quarter heroics stand out.
“We have so much more confidence in our ability to finish on offense now,” coach Pete Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday. “Russell’s growth has just been instrumental in all that.”
The Seahawks and Rams were tied at 13 when Seattle took over on its own 10-yard line with just over five minutes remaining. Wilson went 2 for 3 for 48 yards and carried twice for 19 yards before capping the 10-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
“We were all counting on it, too,” Carroll said of that drive ending with points. “We were counting on it happening, and that’s really cool. That’s a cool feeling on the sidelines.”
It’s one the Seahawks didn’t have last season.