Russell Wilson was speaking about his own game, but the quarterback’s characteristic mix of humility and ambition resonated for the entire Seahawks team.
“I want to be great one day,” he said.
And therein is contained the source of ultimate optimism for this Seahawks team: Every achievement is tempered by the understanding that so much more is possible.
In their collective mindset, greatness is not only attainable, but remains the goal that transcends all the victories and growing accolades.
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“We haven’t played our best ball yet at all,” said defensive back Walter Thurmond. “That’s the scary part for opposing teams, that we can still get better despite the fact we’re 10-1 right now.”
For the Seahawks, Wilson’s utopian vision is getting clearer. The pieces are falling into place. That elusive “one day” is inching ever closer, not only for him, but for his teammates.
On Sunday, in a 41-20 win over the Vikings, the outline of the finished portrait had never been more vivid.
You could see it in Wilson’s deadly precision and ever-growing mastery of the offense.
“I have been in love with Russell since I got over here,” said wide receiver Percy Harvin after his feverishly anticipated Seahawks debut. “Just the way he prepares for the game. He just makes everybody feel that much more comfortable, because he knows the system so much.”
You could see it in the revamped offensive line, which welcomed back Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini and gave Wilson time to carve up the Viking defense. No more scrambling every which way and heaving desperate passes one step ahead of the pack of rushers. Okung and Giacomini were “rusty,” in coach Pete Carroll’s words, but Wilson’s protection should only get better as they regain their form.
“The band is back together,” Okung said.
You could see it in the swarming Seahawk defense, which took it personally when some doubted their ability to stop the run. By the second half on Sunday, they had not only shut down a gimpy Adrian Peterson, but were hungrily fighting among themselves to grab the next errant pass by whichever flailing Vikings quarterback was in the game.
“It’s a great feeling right now,” said safety Earl Thomas. “We have to keep that humble mind frame and that brotherly feeling. When we play for our brothers, that’s when we play our best ball.
“That’s what we got back to. I think that got lost in that little two-game stretch. We got it fixed. We didn’t stay in the dumps when people said, ‘What’s wrong with the Seahawks?’ ”
Mostly, you could see it in the electric unveiling of Harvin, whose acquisition all those months ago was supposed to be the piece that put the Seahawks over the top — and may well turn out to be.
It was just a sneak preview on Sunday, a tantalizing hint of what Harvin can still provide after missing all season recovering from hip surgery. Thomas marveled at how just one kickoff return, a 58-yard burst, revealed the unique possibilities offered by Harvin’s combination of speed and power.
“He looks so different from all the other returners we have on the team,” Thomas said. “He’s just floating out there. He’s very smooth and fluid and effortless.”
And all it took was one dazzling reception, a juggling catch in which he tipped the ball to himself, for Harvin to show the extra dimension he can add to the Seattle offense.
The Seahawks have survived the injuries and lapses with just one loss, but enough close calls to ensure that their swagger falls in the category of a humble brag. They know what they can be, and how to get there. Just as important, they understand that their arrival is not guaranteed.
Golden Tate said the foundation for the Seahawks is “work our tails off… work, work, work and get as good as we can in the game plan, and execute.”
“We have to obviously play fundamental football: no turnovers, no penalties. And if they don’t show up to play, we should run them out of the stadium,” Tate said. “It’s as simple as that. I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything, but we’re confident right now. We’re playing some good football from head to toe.”
Again, the last word belonged to Wilson, summing up the team’s fierce desire to maximize its potential. The hunger remains even as the feast is being laid out in front of them.
“I believe personally,” he said, “we haven’t even started yet.”
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry