KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It’s going to take a lot more than one dazzling performance against the Kansas City Chiefs’ first-team defense to surprise Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Perhaps getting the starting job on a full-time basis would do it.
Wilson certainly staked his claim Friday night, throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-14 rout. The third-round draft pick also scrambled for 58 yards while leading the Seahawks to scores on their first six possessions.
“I don’t surprise myself, I think because I prepare in the right way,” Wilson said. “I try to visualize myself being very, very successful, and just positive self-talk, I guess.”
The 5-foot-11 Wilson has been competing for the No. 1 job with Matt Flynn, the former Green Bay backup who signed in the offseason. Flynn missed the game with a sore elbow, giving Wilson a chance to shine after two impressive second-half performances in wins against Tennessee and Denver.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “This is the guy we hoped he would be. All of the talk about how tall he is and all that stuff, I don’t see it being a factor. … It isn’t to me.”
New Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s attack fizzled against Seattle, going three-and-out on three of its first four possessions.
Matt Cassel was 19 of 34 for 168 yards and a touchdown, but also was intercepted by Seattle safety Earl Thomas, who returned it 75 yards for a third-quarter score.
Even the special teams were a disaster for Kansas City, which watched Golden Tate zigzag 95 yards on a punt return with 2:12 left in the third quarter. The touchdown gave Seattle a 44-7 lead and sent the sparse crowd at Arrowhead Stadium streaming for the exits.
“Obviously, we have to play better all around. It’s disappointing to come out here and play like we did,” Cassell said. “I’m glad it’s the preseason right now.”
The Seahawks (No. 22 in the AP Pro 32) are unbeaten in the preseason, and looked downright unbeatable against a Chiefs defense that was among the best in the NFL at the end of last year.
“We need to figure out what we do well with this team,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. “The regular season is just right around the corner. We need to see what we can do.”
It didn’t help that the Chiefs were without starting safety Kendrick Lewis, who is out with a shoulder injury, and cornerback Brandon Flowers, who has missed several weeks with a hurt heel.
Still, the Seahawks managed to slash through the defensive line for huge gains on the ground, and that helped give Wilson plenty of time to sit in the pocket and pick apart the secondary.
He led the Seahawks to field goals on their first three possessions before finding tight end Kellen Winslow alone for a 21-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
The Chiefs (No. 18, AP Pro 32) answered with their best drive of the night, going 80 yards and scoring on a short TD pass from Cassel to Dexter McCluster.
Wilson led Seattle to another touchdown before halftime, hitting Anthony McCoy for two big gains and Charly Martin on an 11-yard scoring strike. The drive was helped along by two late hits on Wilson by Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, who learned this week he’ll be suspended for the season opener against Atlanta after testing positive for a banned substance.
Robert Turbin put an exclamation point on his big night with a 25-yard TD run early in the second half to give Seattle a 30-7 lead. The fourth-round draft pick finished with 14 carries for 93 yards in place of Lynch, who missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday with a back injury.
Seahawks receiver Terrell Owens dropped a couple of easy passes before making a 40-yard grab in the third quarter.