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Wilson comes up big, again
KANSAS CITY – Russell Wilson said his first NFL start didn’t feel that much different than his first two preseason games.
Poised and composed beyond his years, the rookie quarterback directed scoring drives on the Seahawks’ first six possessions Friday night in a 44-14 romp over the Kansas City Chiefs that lifted Seattle to 3-0 entering Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
“I just try to relax as much as I can – relax my mind, just play football,” Wilson said after his latest impressive outing. “I prepare myself in every way possible. I get there early. I leave late. I try to always mentally prepare myself and visualize being successful.”
But could anyone have visualized this?
Wilson completed 13 of 19 passes for 185 yards and threw touchdown passes to tight end Kellen Winslow and wide receiver Charly Martin – giving him five in seven quarters this preseason. He also scrambled twice for 58 yards.
Bottom line: Wilson looked even better in playing the first three quarters against the Chiefs than he had during his second-half stints against the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, when he produced five touchdowns and a field goal in 11 possessions.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “When John (Schneider, the GM) was excited about drafting him and we got the momentum going to make that pick, this is guy we hoped that he would be.”
Carroll, however, is not ready to anoint Wilson the starter for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona, or even admit that Wilson’s latest effort gives him the proverbial foot in the door. Complicating the process is the fact that Matt Flynn, who started the first two games, developed a sore elbow on his throwing arm during the week and was not able to play against the Chiefs.
But Wilson’s teammates could not help but be impressed.
“He’s really mature,” said Winslow, who was wide open on his 21-yard TD pass in the second quarter because he and the rookie QB were on the same page on the play. “He doesn’t get rattled. And he’s a pro, already. Everybody’s got work to do, but he’s about his business.”
This was not a one-man show any stretch of the imagination.
Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas slapped an exclamation point on another strong effort by the No. 1 defense with a 75-yard interception return for a TD in the third quarter. Golden Tate followed that with an 92-yard punt return for a touchdown. Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals. Rookie running back Robert Turbin scored on a 25-yard run as part of his 14-carry, 93-yard effort in starting for the sore-backed Marshawn Lynch.
Even Terrell Owens got into the act by making a nice over-the-shoulder grab of a Wilson pass for a 40-yard gain on a third-and-5 play after the future Hall of Fame receiver went without a catch in his Seahawks debut last week in Denver.
But the conversation in the locker room kept coming back to Wilson, the third-round draft choice with first-round talent.
“It’s just something that he stands for and how he handles himself. The things that leave his mouth,” Tate said. “You get a feeling that he’s just very, very special. You don’t know what it is, but you get that feeling. You get excited to see him get on the field, because you never know if he’s going to throw a perfect touchdown pass or juke a safety to extend the drive.
“It’s hard to put into words, but it’s just good to have a guy who seems comfortable sitting back there. He’s just a very, very special player, and I’m excited to see him grow.”
Wilson was looking to share the credit, and there was enough to go around.
“We did a great job tonight,” he said. “We really came out and played a great game. There was a lot of enthusiasm, which is huge for our football team.”
And no one generated more enthusiasm than Wilson.