O’Neil: Seahawks’ OT win proves there’s only one Russell Wilson
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was so good that he won Sunday’s game twice.
It’s not the first time that has happened, and given the way this Seattle season is going, it may not be the last. He threw five touchdown passes against the Buccaneers, and the Seahawks needed each and every one of them in a 40-34 overtime victory against Tampa Bay that was harder than it should have been.
Way harder because Seattle’s defense couldn’t be counted on to stop the Bucs’ offense – or at least their receiver Mike Evans – and because the Seahawks couldn’t count on their kicker Jason Myers. He missed a first-half field-goal attempt, bonged a point-after try off the right upright and then shanked what would have been a game-winning kick on the final play of the fourth quarter. Wilson had guided the Seahawks 53 yards in 43 seconds only to watch Myers’ 40-yard attempt fade to the right.
And after all that, Seattle got the kickoff to start overtime and Wilson marched the team 75 yards in 10 plays – eight of them passes – and won the game on a 10-yard pass to Jacob Hollister with 6:27 left in the 10-minute overtime period without Tampa Bay ever getting the ball.
This isn’t new. Seattle is 6-3-1 in overtime games with Wilson, including the playoffs. In four of those six overtime victories, the Seahawks have gotten the ball first and scored a touchdown to win it without the opponent ever getting a possession in the extra period.
In that way this felt familiar to 2012, Wilson’s rookie season when he led Seattle to a go-ahead touchdown on the road in Chicago only to watch the defense inexplicably allow a 50-yard completion that let the Bears force overtime. The Seahawks got the ball to start overtime and Wilson marched them down the field for what was essentially the second game-winning touchdown of the game, which was scored just before receiver Sidney Rice was rendered unconscious by a thunderous hit after he entered the end zone.
Everyone remained upright and alert Sunday when Hollister scored in overtime, though the officials took a second look to make sure the ball was in the end zone when his knee touched down.
Wilson finished the game 29-for-43 passing for 378 yards and his five touchdown passes matched his career-high. Tyler Lockett caught 13 of those passes for 152 yards and rookie D.K. Metcalf caught six for a career-high 123 yards. Wilson’s performance was pretty remarkable even though the fact that he had to be that good for the Seahawks to beat the Bucs at home is more than a little concerning.
Tampa Bay scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions. The Seahawks didn’t have a sack in the first half, and while they finished with two, the fact that’s double their total from the previous three games combined gives you an idea of how anemic the pass rush remains.
And Seattle was never able to account for Evans, who caught 12 passes for 175 yards – and if that sounds like a lot it’s because it was. The record for receptions by a Seahawks opponent is 13, shared by five different people.
So yes, the Seahawks remain frustrating. They remain flawed. They have a kicker who’s even less reliable than their kicker last year, who was himself unreliable.
But the Seahawks are also 7-2 because they have a quarterback who has so far shown himself capable of counterbalancing most every fault this defense might have.
At least so long as they get the ball first in overtime.