As has been his usual posture, quarterback Russell Wilson refused to show weakness on Sunday despite playing with a high ankle sprain. He was limited to 14 yards rushing and passed for 254 yards in a 9-3 loss to the Rams.
LOS ANGELES — If we’ve learned anything about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson over the past five seasons, it’s that he doesn’t show weakness.
Wilson is always poised, always confident, always in control. Whether that is truly always the case or not is beside the point. That’s the face he wears in public.
Wilson played against the Rams on Sunday with a high ankle sprain, which can take weeks to recover from. Wilson even expressed surprise at his recovery and said he and the medical staff had “accelerated” the rehab process by two weeks.
“I wasn’t supposed to be playing for a couple weeks probably, they thought,” he said. “But ultimately we thought we had the mindset we were going to get on my feet and move around.”
He clearly wasn’t 100 percent. He didn’t look explosive when he ran. But after the 9-3 defeat against the Rams, Wilson didn’t budge. He said he felt “pretty strong” after the game.
Was it difficult to avoid a dangerous Rams pass rush hobbled by his ankle? “It wasn’t that difficult,” Wilson said.
Did he have to make any adjustments to account for the injury? “Not at all,” he said. “I told you guys I was going to be ready to roll.”
Was there anything you couldn’t do that you normally do? “No,” he said. “I was trying to trust my reads and make the plays and make the throws and move on to the next play and keep battling.”
But it was pretty clear Wilson’s toolbox of physical skills was missing one of its most important tools — his ability to run. After passing for 254 yards, he walked with an obvious limp and impressed at least one teammate by playing the whole game despite his injury.
“Russ just played with a lot of toughness,” receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “To have an ankle sprain like that and just for him to come out and play and show the toughness — those are guys you want to play with. Whether it’s physically tough or mentally tough, those are guys you want to play with. He showed a lot of heart to come out here and still battle. Those are the guys I’ll go to battle with any day.”
Without Wilson being fully healthy, the Seahawks wanted him to get rid of the ball quickly. They didn’t try many read-option plays, where Wilson can either hand the ball off or keep it himself. Or if they did, Wilson kept the ball only once and lost 2 yards.
The most obvious illustration of Wilson’s limited mobility was in the fourth quarter. He scrambled toward open field on third down, but Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree caught him short of the first-down marker.
“For the most part, I thought we had everything we usually have in,” offensive tackle Bradley Sowell said. “We ran a lot of the same stuff so I don’t think there was a whole lot of adjusting going on. I think it hurt us — you could see when he went to take off, he wasn’t quite the same guy. I think that would have helped us out a little bit at times as well.”
Wilson rushed five times for 14 yards against the Rams. He still moved around in the pocket, still scrambled when he had to, but the issue was more about the quality of his movement than even the quantity.
He just wasn’t as fast, lacked his usual burst.
Wilson says he’s never trying to run, that he’s always looking to throw the ball. That’s true, but just the threat of Wilson taking off changes how defenses play him.
Wilson has played with pain before, but until this past week, he’d never appeared on the injury report.
He downplayed his injury and said it didn’t affect him, but it didn’t look that way watching him.