Angles, storylines and talking points abounded. It was a topic buffet for anyone who wanted to dive into that Sunday night thriller when the Seahawks beat the Patriots, 35-30.
There was the history between the two franchises and thousands of years they’ve taken off their fans’ lives when they play. There was the goal-line stand on the final play of the game, when the forgotten L.J. Collier took down Cam Newton on first and goal from the 1. There was the near-impeccable game Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer called, too.
There were the crucial plays from safety Jamal Adams, who saved the Seahawks four points on a chase down in the third quarter and two points on a conversion stop in the fourth. There was the back-and-forth between Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf and All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, there was safety Ugo Amadi stepping up in the absence of the ejected Quandre Diggs and the injured Marquise Blair and there was the Seahawks playing their first home game sans the 12th Man.
But those were all subplots. Sorry, Sunday night was all about Russell Wilson.
The man some consider the best quarterback in football had another career day. In fact, if you wanted to call it his finest regular-season performance, you’d likely get some folks to nod in agreement. Not because of his statistics alone, but because of what he was able to do against what is considered the best secondary in the league.
By night’s end. Wilson was 21-of-28 passing for 288 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. Five different players caught the ball in the end zone, and the pick was due to tight end Greg Olsen dropping a perfectly thrown ball.
There were two deep throws for TDs, as New England’s heralded back end looked dumbfounded as to how to defend them. Patriots coach Bill Belichick usually has a masterplan for his defense, but that was no match for Wilson’s masterpiece.
“Against a really, really difficult defense to deal with, that they have historically been really a problem, Russ had a terrific night again,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Russ threw five touchdown passes tonight. You can just see that he’s really in command of what we’re doing.”
Here’s some perspective. Last year, the Patriots gave up four touchdown passes to players listed as receivers. Sunday, they gave up four touchdowns to players listed as receivers and one to running back Chris Carson.
The first TD was a 4-yard bullet to Tyler Lockett in the first quarter. The second was a 54-yard moonball to Metcalf, who was well-covered by Gilmore. The third was a 38-yard bomb to David Moore, who somehow contorted himself into the end zone. The fourth was a 21-yard pass to Freddie Swain, followed by another high-arching pass to Carson in the fourth to put the Seahawks up by 12.
A few days earlier, Wilson told radio host Dan Patrick that he was the best quarterback in the league. And you couldn’t have asked for better supporting evidence than what he produced Sunday night.
Why is Russell’s deep ball so special? Moore was asked after the game.
“The fact that his deep ball is great is because, sheesh, he gives everybody a chance. He puts it to where you can get it and you can get it only,” Moore said. “All you really gotta do is put your hands up.”
The nine touchdowns Wilson has thrown this season are a career-high for a two-game stretch. And the five he threw Sunday came after a pick-six on the Seahawks’ first possession, which dented Wilson’s confidence the way a fly dents a plate of steel.
At that point, Russell said he stayed “in neutral.” Didn’t get upset, didn’t get frustrated — just marched his team down for touchdowns on the two ensuing drives.
This is beginning to become routine for the man ranked the No. 2 player in football by his peers (behind Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson) before the season started, and a second straight NFC offensive player of the week award could likely be coming.
So how is he doing this? How is the Super Bowl winner and likely Hall of Famer able to elevate his game to this height in his ninth year in the league?
“People talk about 10,000 hours to be great. I feel like I’ve spent 30,000 hours,” Wilson said. “You spend so much time in the offseason, just the obsession with doing it over and over again and over and over again and working at it and perfecting it … and I think ultimately God has given me a gift, you know, and I want to continue to use it.”
The man with the gift has been gift-wrapping passes for just about every eligible player on offense. Russ isn’t just cooking right now — he’s roasting everyone he lines up against.