With better protection comes a better Russell Wilson. It’s a too-easy explanation to the troubles that previously plagued Seattle’s offense, but it’s also the right one.
Keep him protected, give him time to throw, and Wilson will typically find the open guy. He was crisply effective for the third consecutive game operating under that blueprint, and it may have been his finest game of the year.
In just 18 attempts (13 of them completed), he passed for 230 yards, tossed two touchdowns and completed more than 70 percent of his passes for the third straight game. He had done that only twice in the first eight games, when an injury-riddled offensive line struggled to protect him.
“I know at times he may have been more worried about the pass rush than he was at looking down the field, and that’s natural,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “But he got over that really quickly and now is able to look downfield and not worry about the rush.
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“You know when he does that, the playmakers we have on this team are able to make plays.”
A perfect example came on the final drive of the first quarter. Wilson dropped to pass, had time to comfortably sit in the pocket and found Baldwin deep for a 44-yard gain. It was the kind of play that needed time to develop, the kind Seattle had trouble running earlier this season.
On the next play, Wilson showed off his scrambling ability, using his legs to escape a pass rusher and hit Ricardo Lockette for 27 yards.
He also flipped a touchdown pass to Marshawn Lynch like a second baseman turning a double play when he scrambled to his left but saw Lynch open.
“He is right where we want him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He scrambled at the right times, he ducked out of there when he had to, he made the plays on the scrambles throwing the ball around. … He did everything we want and gives us hope that we can have a really great finish to the season.”
Wilson is at his best when he can use his legs as a side dish and not the main course, but he didn’t have much of a choice earlier this season. Against Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee, Wilson carried the ball at least 10 times because of pressure.
In his last three games, when the offensive line has perhaps played its best three games of the year, he has rushed a combined 11 times. Not coincidentally, he has looked much like the quarterback who finished last season so hot.
“For a couple weeks there his scrambles were a necessity,” tight end Luke Willson said. “Now they’re just another weapon we have.”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org