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In the end, Russell Wilson beats Peyton Manning at his own game
It’s not often that Peyton Manning gets out-Peyton-Manning-ed. But on this given Sunday, Russell Wilson did just that.
So much already has been written and said about the 80-yard, 41-second double-scoring drive that Manning engineered at the end of regular to send Sunday’s game against the Seahawks into overtime. Even more has been written and said about the 13-play, 80-yard drive to the game-winning touchdown that Wilson willed in giving the Seahawks a 26-20 victory at CenturyLink Field in the highly anticipated rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Being an honor graduate of the School of Redundancy School, we’re not about to let that stop us from writing a little more about the dizzying finish to regulation by Manning and that dazzling display in overtime by Wilson – and we’re obviously not adverse to using hyperbole, either.
But as Wilson put it, “It was one for the ages.”
“For the most part, I was real proud of our defense,” linebacker K.J. Wright said in the locker room after the game. “We handled them real well. We were outhitting them. We got back to what we really wanted to do.”
And they did it in the wake of the defensive meltdown in San Diego last week, when Chargers QB Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates combined for three touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 30-21 loss.
“The way we played last week was uncharacteristic of us,” Wright said. “I’m glad we got back to performing the way we know we can, and did it in front of our fans and put on a good show for them.”
Manning started well against the Seahawks, completing 7 of 9 passes for 61 yards in the first quarter, but the Broncos got only a field goal. In the second quarter, Manning was 4 of 7 for 26 yards, as the Broncos fell behind 17-3 at the half. In the third quarter, Manning was 7 of 13 for 54 yards, and the Broncos did not score. In the fourth quarter, Manning was 13 of 20 for 162 yards, as the Broncos scored 17 points – with 80 of those yards and three of the completions coming on the game-tying drive.
“That last drive, that was a little crazy,” Wright said. “They ran some routes that we hadn’t seen that beat us.”
On second-and-10, Manning went to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for 42 yards to the Seahawks’ 38-yard line. After two incompletions, it was Manning to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for 12 yards on third-and-10. Then came the 26-yard pass to tight end Jacob Tamme for the touchdown, which was followed by Manning’s pass to Thomas in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion to tie the score.
“That’s a great quarterback,” Seahawks All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas said. “We did a great job the whole game, just managing his reads and making it hard on him. But he did a great job of adjusting.”
Wilson then got his turn to weave his own brand of comeback magic. On that 13-play, 80-yard drive in overtime, Wilson put the ball in the air six times (with four completions for 35 yards); ran it four times (for 21 yards, including a pair of 5-yarders on third-and-3 and third-and-4); and handed off three times – all to Marshawn Lynch, who leaped into the end zone on a 6-yard run for the game-winner.
The TV camera caught Wilson’s expression through his facemask a couple of times during the drive and his coolness put the proverbial cucumber to shame.
“Russell does not get fazed,” Carroll said. “He was fantastic, just an incredible effort. The finish to that day, making those first downs, just amazing plays by the quarterback.”
On a day when the Seahawks needed everything Wilson could deliver.
“That was a great experience,” Wilson said. “It definitely felt like a Super Bowl matchup.” Read