A game that rendered most who watched it breathless left Russell Wilson in tears.
“He knew he was significant,’’ said coach Pete Carroll of Wilson’s emotions following Seattle’s 30-29 win over the Rams on Thursday night, emotions Carroll shared with an embrace or two of his quarterback afterward. “And he felt good about that.’’
Indeed, in a game with as many twists and turns as any in October can have, Wilson was the one constant, with Carroll saying it might have been the best performance of his career.
“I don’t remember him being on that thoroughly in a game,’’ said Carroll after Wilson completed 17 of 23 passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions and a 151.8 passer rating.
Was it the best game of his career?
“I left it on the field,’’ Wilson said. “It was one of the best, I think.’’
And Seattle needed every last ounce Wilson could give them in a game veteran linebacker K.J. Wright later described as “an emotional roller coaster. … It’s up there as one of the greatest games I’ve ever been a part of.’’
It was a game the Seahawks feared they might have lost when Los Angeles’ usually reliable kicker Greg Zuerlein lined up for a 44-yard field goal with 15 seconds left.
Wright, who had given up two receptions that got the Rams into field goal territory, said he watched in dread as the ball left Zuerlein’s foot.
“It looked good,’’ Wright said. “But it just kept sailing and kept sailing.’’
And finally, it sailed just a few feet to the right and the Seahawks had snapped a three-game losing streak to the Rams and fired off and won an early battle for potential NFC West supremacy.
Wilson said later that maybe former owner Paul Allen — who was honored before the game and officially inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor — might have blown the ball off course just a bit.
“I think at the end of the game he blew a little wind on that to the right,” Wilson said.
Wilson said it was the memories of Allen that he said contributed to his emotions afterward — he gave the game ball afterward to Bert Kolde, Allen’s close friend who is now the Vice Chair of the Seahawks.
“It was a special night,’’ Wilson said.
One filled with so many big plays that Carroll couldn’t remember them all later — he thanked a reporter for reminding him of the play Al Woods made to stop a potential two-point conversion run by Rams quarterback Jared Goff in the third quarter that proved pivotal.
“So many huge plays,’’ Carroll said.
Simply trying to remind himself of all of Wilson’s was hard enough.
There was the first-quarter touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett, when Wilson evaded a rush and scrambled to his left and then threw to the back side of the end zone and lofted a pass over Rams safety Eric Weddle to Lockett, who then made a stunning toe tap to stay in bounds.
“It’s just one of the best throws ever made,’’ Carroll said.
There was his on-target 40-yard TD pass to DK Metcalf in the second quarter that put Seattle up 14-6 and for the moment appeared to have the Seahawks on their way to a potentially comfortable win.
There was the touchdown yard drive he then led after the Rams made a stunning rise off the carpet with long TD marches at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third that put Seattle back in front.
And there was the 75-yard march he led when the Rams again took control, capping it with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chris Carson that put Seattle up 30-29 with 2:28 left — the fifth lead change of the game.
Only, the play was hardly that simple.
Wilson got flushed out of the pocket by Aaron Donald and said he initially decided to take off running and hope he could get to the end zone.
“Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Chris,’’ Wilson said.
Carson was standing all alone in the end zone because Rams defenders decided to try to close on Wilson.
But in keeping with the way the night went, what looked like an easy catch turned into an emotional roller coaster all of its own as Carson first bobbled the ball before then locating it and reeling it in.
Carson explained that he lost it in the lights for a moment.
“I seen him release it and I seen it come toward it and then it got lost and I didn’t see where it went,’’ Carson said. “So I put my hands out and then I said, ‘Oh shoot, there it is.’ ’’
Really, that’s what Carson said he said.
“I was glad I caught it,’’ Carson said.
But if the clock read 2:28 left, a veritable football lifetime still remained.
On third down of the Rams’ next possession, a pass that went off Gerald Everett’s hands was bobbled, tipped and then caught by safety Tedric Thompson, though officials needed a lengthy review to confirm it. As it became apparent he caught it, Seattle defenders ran all over the field, celebrating in each end zone.
Wright later determined that wasn’t a good thing.
“We got a little too happy after the interception, I believe,’’ Wright said. “I believe we thought the offense would go out there and get a first down and run out the clock. But that didn’t happen.’’
No it didn’t. Seattle went three-and-out, with maybe Wilson’s only bad decision of the day coming on third down, when he pitched it to Lockett in a vain attempt to get a first down.
The Rams took over at their own 7 with 1:38 left, then moved with stunning ease to Seattle’s 26, where Zuerlein — a career 83% kicker — lined up for a potential dagger to the Seahawks’ heart.
Carroll, though, remembered the 2016 wild-card win over Minnesota, when Blair Walsh missed a 27-yarder to give the Seahawks a win.
“I had a thought that they’ve still go to snap it and they’ve got to put it down on the ground and they’ve got to kick it and it’s got to go through,’’ Carroll said. “There’s a lot of stuff that still has to happen.’’
Given all that had already happened, maybe what then happened only made sense.
But if the ending was fantastical, Carroll said that it shouldn’t detract from who had been the unquestioned star of the night.
“I thought Russell played one of the best games I’ve ever see him play,’’ Carroll said. “I just thought Russ stole the show.’’