SEATTLE – In a game cluttered with fumbles and muffs and flaws, and failures in scoring position, quarterback Russell Wilson rescued the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson was like the adult at recess, or the lifeguard at the kiddie pool. He simply took control in the second half and kept the Seahawks from throwing away a game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Of the 11 straight games the Seahawks have won at home, this was surely among the strangest, with five Seahawks fumbles and a costly special-teams calamity.
But Wilson took this pile of mistakes and sculpted it into a 20-13 victory.
Yes, it’s a team game, nobody plays in a vacuum. But of the Seahawks’ 404 yards of offense, Wilson was responsible for 318 of them (257 passing, 61 rushing).
When Marshawn Lynch fumbled near the goal line, Wilson was there to recover it.
When pass protection broke down, Wilson escaped with one scramble after another.
When they needed one final third-down conversion in the final two minutes, he hard-counted the Titans into an offsides.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, with an eloquently vague comment, captured the essence of Wilson’s performance, and the way in which statistics were helpless to describe it.
“I thought he played a terrific football game today,” Carroll said. “He threw for a bunch, completed a bunch, ran for a good amount as well. (He) just played football. You could see him making things happen and coming through in a lot of really crucial situations for us.”
Wilson is just 24 starts into his career, but he’s yet to be flustered by any circumstance. And in the face of the Titans’ halftime lead, he came back to complete 13 of 16 passes for 153 yards, and rush for another 45 yards in the second half.
As Kipling wrote: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …” Yes, that’s Wilson.
“He can make plays everywhere on the field,” receiver Golden Tate said of Wilson. “Throwing it, handing it off … he’ll even go out there and throw a block … recover fumbles … his wheels are great … he’s shifty. He just brings another dimension to our offense.”
A couple other bankable stars stepped up, including Lynch, with 77 tough rushing yards, and corner- back Richard Sherman, with a fourth-quarter interception (his third of the season).
Wilson teamed with Lynch on one of the big plays of the second half. After calling a pass play that would have him rolling to the right and looking for primary receivers on that side, Wilson broke the huddle and reminded Lynch, who would be going toward the left sideline, to keep his eyes open for a throwback pass.
When Wilson found the receivers on the right side blanketed, he turned and fired it to Lynch across the field for a 55-yard gain.
At times on Sunday, the Hawks had breakdowns in all three phases of the game, and encountered “some fluke plays,” Wilson said.
“The key is to be able to bounce back and continue to make big plays,” Wilson said. “I thought we did a way better job on third downs today.”
It had been a weakness for Seattle’s offense, but they converted on 5 of 13, as he scrambled for two of them when nothing else was there, and completed passes for another two conversions.
Afterward, he was reminded that he has never lost a game at CenturyLink Field.
“I don’t think about that,” he said of the streak. “I love playing at CenturyLink; there’s nothing like it. The fans are really unbelievable, the 12th Man is so ener- getic.”
He gives second thought to his compulsion toward winning regardless of the venue, and adds: “At the same time, I want to win on the road, I want to win at home. I don’t care where it is … anytime, any place. For me, it’s going 1-0 every single week, that’s the ultimate goal.”
Don’t sell the team short, Russell.
With Seattle playing at Arizona on Thursday night, this is a rare week when it’s possible to go 2-0.
That one miscalculation might have been the only mistake Wilson made on Sunday.