CHICAGO – His team desperate for a road win, Russell Wilson had one simple message before overtime.
This is it, this is the season.
If the Seattle Seahawks didn’t save it, they sure gave their playoff hopes a boost.
Wilson threw two late touchdowns, connecting with Sidney Rice for a 13-yard score with 7:33 left in overtime to lift the Seahawks to a wild 23-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
“He’s just so beautifully poised and so confident that it gives himself a chance to play at this level,” coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson.
Unbeaten in five home games, the Seahawks finally figured a way to win on the road after dropping five of their first six, and knocked off the NFC North leaders in the process.
“I just told the guys, ‘This is what the season comes down to, right here and right now,’” Wilson said.
A 97-yard touchdown drive late in regulation gave the Seahawks a lead that didn’t last, and they finally won it on Rice’s catch after Chicago’s Robbie Gould sent it into overtime with a field goal.
Seattle (7-5) leads for the second NFC wild-card spot and, despite its frequent struggles on the road has won three in a row in the regular season at Soldier Field.
Seattle took a short-lived lead late in regulation on rookie Wilson’s 14-yard pass to Golden Tate, only to watch Gould boot a 46-yard field goal as time expired to send it into the extra period.
The Seahawks won the coin toss and started with the ball on their 20. They ended this one with one final flourish.
Rice hauled in a pass from Wilson and took a shoulder-to-helmet hit from Major Wright that jarred the ball loose and appeared to knock the receiver unconscious as he lunged into the end zone. Rice stayed down for several minutes but eventually walked off the field, and he insisted afterward he was alert the whole time.
“(They) rushed out on the field because I had a couple of concussions before, so they just wanted to make sure everything was fine,” he said.
The TD, meanwhile, was upheld after a review, and that gave the Seahawks their only road win other than a victory at Carolina.
“The ball didn’t fall our way in some of the games this year,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “I don’t think we are a 1-5 road team. I don’t think we’ve ever been out of the game at the end. I don’t think there was ever a blowout, it always comes down to the last drive, the last play. The football gods were with us today and they helped us out.”
The Seahawks pulled it out even though Marshawn Lynch was held in check with 87 yards rushing. He had a TD run in the second quarter, but also fumbled on the game’s opening possession, leading to a score for Chicago.
Wilson threw for 293 yards, ran for 71 and was particularly cool down the stretch, sending Chicago (8-4) to its third loss in four games. That knocked them into a tie with Green Bay for the division lead and coach Lovie Smith clearly was furious afterward.
“That hasn’t happened to us very often around here,” Smith said. “Terrible job I did getting our football team ready. I thought we were ready to go. Some decisions I made really hurt us early on.”
He was particularly upset at himself for going for it on fourth-and-1 at the 15 early in the second quarter rather than have Gould attempt a field goal with Chicago up 7-0.