Focus on: Russell Wilson

Posted Dec 16, 2013

Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback, played his way into being the apple of the Big Apple’s media eye Sunday in a performance that wasn’t even among his best efforts.

The New York media machine got its first in-the-flesh look at Russell Wilson on Sunday, and to say it was impressed by the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback doesn’t quite capture just how captivating Wilson was.

Reporter after reporter, columnist after columnist, talking head after talking head gushed about Wilson’s skills on the way to the locker room after the Seahawks had dispatched the New York Giants 23-0 at MetLife Stadium.

Even when a somewhat surprised, “Really? This wasn’t even one of his best games” greeted their glowing comments, it didn’t defuse the effusiveness.

Maybe it had something to do with watching Giants quarterback Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, throw five interceptions that made Wilson’s efficient effort look that much better. Maybe it’s that those of us who have watched Wilson the past 30 games – 32, if you count the playoffs last season – are actually getting used to seeing him whirl from pressure to find an open receiver; or scramble for a first down; or just play so much better than all the skeptics predicted when the Seahawks “reached” to take the “too short” QB in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Dave Hutchinson at the Newark Star Ledger wrote: “Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson this afternoon turned MetLife Stadium into his personal playpen and it may be a prelude to Super Bowl XLVIII. Wilson’s numbers weren’t awe-inspiring – 18 of 27 passes for 206, one touchdown and one interception (he ran eight times for 50 yards) – but his timing was. Wilson made several athletic plays in which he scrambled out of trouble and made pinpoint throws on the run or raced for a first down.”

Harvey Araton of the New York Times wrote: “It is hard enough on a defense that Wilson is so elusive – he made one first-half completion by dodging three tacklers who seemed to have a bead on him. But he also has an asset that many celebrated scramblers have not had – the ability to see the whole field.”

The Seahawks? They’ve not only seen it, they’ve come to expect it from Wilson.

“He does it so casually, so smoothly, you almost forget that he’s a small guy,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said when it was his turn at the podium in the postgame interview room – just after coach Pete Carroll and just before Wilson.

“He’s a 5-11 guy, but he moves like a giant.”

And also produces gigantic accomplishments. The Seahawks’ 12th victory of the season was the 23rd of Wilson’s career, more than any other quarterback in NFL history has produced in his first two seasons. Wilson’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin in the fourth quarter was the 50th of his career, as he joined Dan Marino (68) and Peyton Manning (52) as the only QBs to throw 50-plus in their first two seasons.

And Wilson still has two games left in his second regular season – Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and Dec. 29 against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field, where he’s 14-0.

“These are just markers that this guy is going to continue to knock off,” Carroll said after Wilson took the Big Apple and vicinity by storm on a day where there was supposed to be a storm. “He’s so special. He’s such a tremendous competitor and such a unique individual that he’s able to do this kind of stuff that catches him up with the names that are on these kinds of lists right now.

“So we’re real proud of him and we’re real excited for him. It won’t waver him an inch, but it’s really cool that he’s been able to do that.”