Resurgent Russell Wilson has Seahawks’ offense rolling

Dec 6, 2015, 3:46 PM | Updated: 4:10 pm
Russell Wilson threw for three more touchdowns and rushed for another in Seattle’s win over M...
Russell Wilson threw for three more touchdowns and rushed for another in Seattle's win over Minnesota. (AP)

MINNEAPOLIS – The play wasn’t perfect.

Russell Wilson just made it look that way, and if you’re really going to understand the Seahawks’ offensive renaissance you have to look at what happened on his 53-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of Seattle’s 38-7 victory over Minnesota.

Start with the play, which was changed at the line of scrimmage. Then comes the composure, Wilson staying in the pocket knowing that he was going to get hit. Then came the unexpected.

“I screwed up the route,” said wide receiver Doug Baldwin. “I ran the wrong route.”

Recap: Seahawks rout Vikings 38-7 | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews

No one could have ever known that, though, because of where Wilson placed the pass.

“He threw it in the perfect spot,” Baldwin said.

He has done that repeatedly over the past three weeks, spearheading an offensive turnaround that is as important as it is unexpected. Three weeks after Seattle’s offense had the worst half imaginable, the team is playing as well as anyone can remember.

There are plenty of reasons, from the improvement along the offensive line to the continued success of rookie running back Thomas Rawls, but there is one factor that stands out above all the others.

“Honestly, my opinion,” Baldwin said, “Russell Wilson has been playing like the best quarterback in the league the past 12 quarters. He has been unbelievable. Phenomenal.”

Wilson threw for 10 passes for touchdowns in the first nine games combined. He has 11 in the past three while not being picked off. Red-zone scoring is up. So are the total yards, and suddenly all that talk about a celebrity quarterback with a pop-star girlfriend posting pictures from a Mexican vacation seems very, very silly.

This is what matters. What he does on Sunday.

And if you think that Wilson’s turnaround is as simple as the fact he used the hashtag #NoTime2Sleep on that Monday after Seattle’s Week-10 loss to Arizona – the first time he had done it in months – well, you’re probably being a little naïve about all the things that go into being a successful quarterback in the NFL.

“We all know the NFL is a grind,” Baldwin said. “It’s hard. It’s very hard, and he stayed steady at it. He has shown in these past 12 quarters how good he really can be, and it’s phenomenal to see and we’re winning because of it.”

Seattle’s offense has scored 15 touchdowns in the past three games, matching its total from the first nine. Of the 19 times Seattle had the ball inside the opponent’s 20-yard line in the first nine games, the Seahawks scored seven touchdowns. They’ve scored a touchdown on nine of 11 red-zone possessions the past three weeks.

There’s also the small matter of the offensive line. Wilson was sacked 31 times in the first seven games. He has been sacked seven times in the past five, and the confidence that has created was evident on Sunday.

“The protection was as good as we’ve seen it in a while,” coach Pete Carroll said. “So he does what he does. He looks very, very solid and very comfortable when he gets his chances.”

Or when he makes his chances. Wilson was a bigger rushing threat on Sunday in Minnesota than he has been all year. He gained 51 yards on the ground, ran for his first touchdown of the season and had one of the most impressive runs of his career wiped by a holding penalty.

That flag cost Seattle a 53-yard touchdown in which Wilson ran away from Minnesota’s defense. The next play, Wilson looked at the defense and suspected a blitz, changing the play at the line of scrimmage. He was going to get hit. He knew it before he threw it, and he still stood in to throw a pass that couldn’t have been prettier even if Baldwin had ran the right route.

“It looked like the right route to me,” Wilson said. “It worked.”

Right now, everything Wilson does is working.

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