They have to figure out a way to keep him happy.
They have to find a way to make him want to put on that uniform again — year after year.
Russell Wilson might not be the perfect quarterback. He might have occasional performances that make fans want to throttle his bobblehead into a wall. But the Seahawks’ success starts and stops with him.
If he were to play somewhere else, victories would be a lot more scarce in this town.
Wilson reminded Seahawks fans of his value in Sunday’s 30-23 win over the 49ers. For the first time since coming back from the finger injury he suffered vs. the Rams in October, Wilson looked like his eight-time Pro Bowler self.
He finished 30 of 37 for 231 yards and two touchdowns and one interception, although that stat line is misleading. He really should have been 31 of 37 with three touchdowns and no interceptions, but a would-be TD toss bounced right off the hands of tight end Gerald Everett and into the hands of San Francisco cornerback K’Wuan Williams.
Otherwise, it was a vintage Wilson performance — replete with his usual heroics. They wouldn’t have won without him and won’t win without him going forward.
Example No. 1: With Seattle down by 10 midway through the second quarter, Wilson faced a third and 14 from the 49ers 37-yard line. Conventional wisdom suggests Seattle should have tried to gain nine yards or so to set up a makeable field-goal attempt, but Wilson instead tossed a picturesque pass to DK Metcalf for a 33-yard gain. The Seahawks scored a touchdown two plays later.
Example No. 2: Trailing by nine with 1:42 left in the first half, Wilson took the Seahawks 65 yards on a drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Dee Eskridge with 12 seconds remaining. It was reminiscent of dozens of two-minute drills Wilson has executed to perfection over the years, including the one a week earlier that almost brought Seattle back against the Washington Football Team.
Example No. 3: With the score tied and the Seahawks facing a third and 6 from San Francisco’s 12, Wilson lobbed a signature moon ball to the outstretched arms of Tyler Lockett, who reeled it in in the end zone to give the Seahawks a 30-23 lead. Anything less than perfection on that throw, and Seattle would have been forced to kick a field goal, which would have altered the 49ers’ strategy on their final drive. Instead, the Seahawks got seven points, and San Francisco was forced to go for a touchdown that was thwarted by Seattle’s defensive stand near the goal line.
To be fair — there were plenty of other factors instrumental to the Seahawks’ victory Sunday. There was a fake punt that led to a 73-yard touchdown run by Travis Homer. There was Nick Bellore forcing a fumble on special teams, and Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs nabbing interceptions. And, of course, there was the Seahawks defense shutting out the 49ers for the second half.
But above all, an elite quarterback rediscovered his Hall of Fame groove.
“Russ was strong. Good, solid football game. Made some great throws in the game,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who made note of the dropped pass by Everett (who also had two lost fumbles, including one at the 49ers 2-yard line.) “Russ had a couple more touchdowns in him today that didn’t show up. I thought he played a really good game.”
The dynamic between Carroll and Wilson will garner loads of media speculation in the coming weeks. Yes, the Seahawks are technically alive in the playoff hunt (and have three opponents with a combined seven wins on the schedule), but a postseason berth is unlikely. What I suspect most fans are interested in is whether the coach and QB can coexist going forward.
Wilson was clearly peeved with his situation in Seattle last offseason, when he released a list of teams to which he’d be willing to be traded. Another losing season — even if many of those losses were the result of his injury and subsequent poor play — might resurrect Wilson’s desire to be dealt.
That can’t happen. It’s easy for fans to think the Seahawks can find another great quarterback, but hitting on a spectacular signal caller in the draft is a rarity. Seattle has never had a QB of Wilson’s caliber, and likely won’t for years after he departs.
No doubt Wilson has flaws. No doubt he struggled in the three games before Sunday’s. But the Seahawks aren’t a threat without him. His contentment should be Priority 1.