Russell Wilson’s heroics help Seahawks overcome miscues
LANDOVER, Md. – Russell Wilson stepped onto a platform after Seattle’s win, a single microphone on a stand with a Seahawks backdrop duct-taped to the wall behind him for the postgame interview.
“I feel like I’m about to sing at a concert or something,” Wilson said.
It was the only time all night Wilson looked even the slightest bit uncomfortable. On the biggest stage of the NFL week, Seattle’s quarterback stood out above everything else in a game in which the Seahawks were almost dominant and yet utterly puzzling.
Their offense didn’t play all that well yet they were three penalties away from hanging 40 points on Washington without breaking a sweat. Their defense was largely dominant except for two completions to DeSean Jackson, which totaled 117 yards and led to 10 of Washington’s 17 points.
There was nothing to reconcile in Wilson’s performance. He was simply amazing. Again.
If Percy Harvin was almost famous on Monday, his three touchdowns nullified by penalties, then Wilson was as incredible as ever. He rushed for 122 yards, which was not only most in his career, but most ever by a quarterback on Monday night. He ran in one touchdown, passed for two more and his most remarkable play of the game didn’t produce points. It just clinched the game.
“I can’t wait to see the play to Marshawn,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I don’t know what the heck happened on that play.”
OK, here’s the CliffsNotes version: Seattle’s ball at midfield, third-and-4 with 2 minutes, 32 seconds left. The Seahawks needed a first down to keep from punting the ball back to Washington, which trailed 24-17 and would have had a chance to tie. Wilson was flushed from the pocket, three different defenders closing in on him as he ran to his left before throwing – on the run – a perfectly placed lob to Lynch.
The result was a 29-yard gain, a game-clinching first down and one hearty compliment from Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan, who was the first of the three pass rushers bearing down on Wilson that play.
“He was a special player tonight,” Kerrigan said of Wilson. “I don’t think it was anything we were really doing poorly.”
Wilson is the quarterback that Washington hoped Robert Griffin III would be. In fact, he’s the quarterback that Washington paid for Griffin to be with the three first-round draft picks – two of them top-six selections – and a second-rounder that it took to get him.
But Griffin is hurt, again, and Kirk Cousins was passable, maybe even decent against the Seahawks with those two deep completions and no interceptions, but it is Wilson who is running Seattle’s offense perfectly. And there were plenty of times on Monday that Wilson was running the offense literally.
“I don’t think running for me is ever part of the game-plan, really,” Wilson said afterward. “It just kind of happens.”
He has an ability to make plays out of whole cloth. He is Seattle’s trump card, that little bit of improvisational magic that can salvage everything from a busted play to miserable pass protection to an error-filled evening in which Seattle’s offense showed a distinct predilection for touchdown-nullifying penalties while the defense left its backdoor open for Jackson.
The Seahawks outrushed Washington 225 yards to 32 on Monday, the kind of disparity that usually results in a blowout. Instead, the Seahawks were left holding on at the end, their quarterback scrambling on third down with three pass rushers closing in.
“I wasn’t thinking about throwing it away,” Wilson said.
He was thinking about making something happen. Wait. That’s not exactly right. Seattle’s quarterback was determined to make something happen. And he did on Monday. Repeatedly.