Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson professes not to care about most of the gaudy numbers associated with his career.
But he always admits to caring about one: his win-loss record.
And Sunday, when he got the 100th victory of his NFL career, Wilson acknowledged how meaningful it was.
“That’s why I play the game,” Wilson said following the 28-21 victory Sunday over the 49ers. “To win.”
Wilson got his 100th victory in his 148th start, the fourth-fewest starts to get to the century mark in NFL history (he’s the fastest in terms of overall games, getting it in the fourth game of his 10th season).
In keeping with the 10/100 theme, here’s a look at 10 memorable Wilson victories of the past, and, he hopes, the future.
The first one: Dallas 2012.
Wilson’s 100th triumph came nine years and two weeks after he got his first one — on Sept. 16, 2012, against Dallas, a 27-7 win at the then-CenturyLink Field in what was his second career start. This, of course, was the beginning of the Legion of Boom era, and this was a typical game of that time with Seattle taking a 10-0 lead early thanks to a fumble on the opening kickoff and then a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Wilson threw for just 151 yards, 14th fewest of his career.
The one that got away: Arizona 2012.
You thought we meant another game in Arizona? Remember, we’re talking solely about regular-season games here. But to coach Pete Carroll, Wilson’s first victory should have come in his first game, a 20-16 defeat at Arizona. In a sign of things to come, Wilson led Seattle from the Seahawks’ 20 to the Arizona 4 in the final five minutes before a final fourth-down pass to Braylon Edwards (remember him?) fell incomplete with 18 seconds left. “It should have been his heroic start and we just didn’t get it done,” Carroll said recently. “It always pissed me off that he didn’t get that because he was worthy of winning that first game, first one out. I still regret that.”
The most fun one: Houston 2017.
There have been plenty of back-and-forth victories for Wilson, who has led 31 fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning drives in the regular season since 2012 — which means, yep, basically a third of his wins have come in that fashion (he has four other game-winning drives in the postseason). For our money, the most entertaining one was his 2017 shootout with Houston’s Deshaun Watson when Wilson threw for a still career-high 452 yards and hit Jimmy Graham (remember him?) on an 18-yard touchdown to win it 41-38 with 21 seconds left.
The most important one: Chicago 2012.
While Wilson had already begun to show signs of being a budding star in the first 11 games of his career, those close to the team always point to — fittingly enough — his 12th game as the one when everyone first understood that Wilson was the real deal, the one who could lead them to the promised land. With Seattle at 6-5 and an underdog on the road against a good Chicago team, Wilson led a comeback to send the game to overtime and then a drive to win it, a game that kicked off a winning streak that got Seattle into the postseason his first year.
Carroll always has pointed to that game as the one when Wilson truly earned his trust. “It was the Chicago game that in the middle of the game I told the guys ‘Let him go, this is his game,’” Carroll said last month. “From that point, we let the reins out a little bit.”
The best one: Pittsburgh 2015.
There are a lot of candidates for Wilson’s best performance, but the view here is Wilson was never better than on a rainy November day at CenturyLink Field six years ago. As Ben Roethlisberger was making the original Legion of Boom appear the most mortal it ever did — throwing for what was then a record for a visiting opposing quarterback, 456 yards — Wilson countered going 21 for 30 for 345 yards, no interceptions and five touchdowns, a career high he has since matched four times.
The weirdest one: Minnesota 2018.
Wilson’s best passer rating in a victory is the highest anyone can get, 158.3 in an otherwise nondescript win at Detroit in 2018. The lowest passer rating of his career came a few weeks later, 37.9, in a game Seattle won anyway, 21-7, over Minnesota. Wilson completed just 10 of 20 passes for a career-low 72 yards. But showing the versatility that is one of the main reasons he’s gotten to 100 victories as fast as he has, he helped seal the win with a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter that set up a clinching touchdown. In case you’re wondering, this is nowhere close to the lowest passer rating in Seahawks history for a winning quarterback. That would be Dave Krieg, who had a 9.2 rating, throwing four interceptions and no touchdowns in a 1990 win against Kansas City.
The most amazing one: Houston 2013.
Wilson’s biggest comeback is from 21-0 down against Tampa Bay in 2013 to win 24-21 in overtime. But that was against a bad team at home. Earlier that year, Wilson helped lead Seattle to a victory at Houston after trailing 20-3 at halftime. The game is rightly remembered most for Richard Sherman’s one-shoe interception return for a touchdown that tied it late. But in an early sign of his famous resilience, Wilson (who was just 12 for 23 for 123 yards) overcame a sluggish start to lead a 98-yard drive in the fourth quarter that got Seattle back in it, completing 5 of 6 passes, two on third-and-sevens, and running 4 yards on fourth-and-three to set up a Marshawn Lynch touchdown.
The most underrated one: Buffalo 2012.
Two weeks after the breakout game against Chicago, Wilson reinforced that he was truly, really for real when he led Seattle to a 50-17 win against the Bills in Toronto. The game might be easy to forget given all that’s happened since. But Wilson has rarely been better, running for a career-high three TDs and throwing for another all in the first 20 minutes in the middle of a three-game stretch in which Seattle scored 150 points, the first team to do that since 1950.
The most controversial one: Green Bay 2012.
We have to mention this one, don’t we? But for all the attention the Fail Mary has always gotten, here’s one little-known fact — it remains the only touchdown pass Wilson has thrown on a play of fourth-and-10 or longer in what was just his third regular-season start.
The next milestone one: If Wilson gets six more wins this season he will pass Peyton Manning for the most victories by a quarterback in the first 10 years of his career — Manning has 105. But here’s the record Wilson might want more — if he wins seven more this year, he will be the only QB in NFL history to have a winning record in each of the first 10 years of his career.