But then came the fourth quarter, and as so often happens, Wilson and the Seahawks came to life, cutting a 27-10 Jacksonville lead to 30-24 and getting the ball back for one final drive from their own 42-yard line.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For three quarters of the game, Russell Wilson hardly looked like the player who after three quarters of the season was being considered a legitimate MVP candidate.
At the end of three quarters Sunday, Wilson was 13 for 24 for 122 yards and three interceptions, tying the second-most interceptions of his career in a regular-season game.
But then came the fourth quarter, and as so often happens, Wilson and the Seahawks came to life, cutting a 27-10 Jacksonville lead to 30-24 and getting the ball back for one final drive from their own 42 with 2:39 left.
“Hell, yeah,’’ Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said when asked if he got nervous as Wilson led Seattle’s comeback with touchdown passes of 61 yards to Paul Richardson and then 74 yards to Tyler Lockett.
“Unbelievable plays to get back in the game and have a chance to be within a one-score opportunity, and a chance to win the football game,’’ said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. “I thought he came through in great fashion again in the fourth quarter to demonstrate what he’s been doing all along.”
The comeback ended there, as the final drive ended in just four plays. Still, Wilson could hardly have done more in the fourth quarter against what was statistically the best pass defense in the NFL coming into the game, completing 4 of 6 passes for 149 yards and the two scores.
The touchdown passes gave Wilson 17 fourth-quarter TDs this season, setting an NFL record he had tied last week. The regret was that he didn’t get one more.
The final drive looked promising as Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for 9 yards on second-and-10. Baldwin, though, stepped out of bounds just shy of the first-down marker hoping to save time — Seattle had two timeouts at the time and there was 2:29 left.
“Yeah, I should have got the first,’’ Baldwin said.
Said Carroll: “Yeah, I think he would have been able to lunge for the first down, but he was just working the clock.”
On third down, Wilson was sacked for just the second time.
That set up a fourth-and-nine in which Wilson wanted to hit Paul Richardson down the seam. But Jacksonville cornerback Aaron Colvin tripped Richardson after appearing to be beaten, forcing Wilson to throw a harried pass to Baldwin incomplete.
The Seahawks argued vehemently for a penalty on Colvin.
“Well, we really don’t talk about calls,’’ Carroll said. “ … but you were right, that was.”
Said Wilson: “It was definitely going to Paul Richardson there. I thought that they kind of got him there. The guy got beat of the line of scrimmage. I thought that was a great play by Paul. He beat the guy off the line of scrimmage. Honestly, I thought 22 (Colvin) made a good play in that he knew if he got beat it was a touchdown and so he just grabbed him right away. Held him and everything else. It is unfortunate that we didn’t get that one. I’m not blaming the refs or anything like that. I think for us, there’s plays in there that could have been better earlier. Games happen so fast. It’s unfortunate.’’
Wilson’s three interceptions in the first three quarters, meanwhile, were more uncharacteristic — he came into the game with just eight this season.
All came on fairly lengthy throws, including two deep shots to Baldwin, one in the end zone on a first-down play from the Jacksonville 45.
“You know, the deep balls, we were bombing, we were going for it, and he gave our guys a shot downfield, and they were risky plays,’’ Carroll said. “They were so far, so long. We think that we had a chance to make that play, and they did a better job than we did. I think those picks were all like 40-yard plays or something, you know. But how can you not see this guy’s (Wilson) ability and his heart, and his finish?’’
Said Wilson: “We had to get some explosiveness in it and make some plays down the field. Like I said, you have to live a little bit with no fear. You have to take your chances every once in a while … It didn’t happen tonight but next time it will.’’
|New leader in fourth-quarter TD passes|
|Against the Jaguars, Russell Wilson set the NFL record (with three games to go, even) for most fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a season.|
|Russell Wilson, Seahawks||2017||16|
|Eli Manning, Giants||2011||15|
|Source: ESPN stats|