Darrell Bevell on Russell Wilson's preparation: 'He's just special in that area'

Visualization has been part of Russell Wilson’s preparation that creates the separation since “I was a little kid,” as he puts it. So he’s not about to abandon it while preparing for Sunday’s NFC Championship game.

By the time Sunday's NFC Championship game begins, Russell Wilson already will have seen a lot of it.

In his mind, that is.

Wilson has been into visualization from an early age, and it's become part of his preparation that has led to his separation in his three seasons as the Seahawks' quarterback.

And Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field is no different. There has been the video study. There have been meetings. There has been practice. There have been walkthroughs. But there also has been visualizing what he expects to see in the game – where the winner will advance to Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Arizona against the winner of the AFC title game between the Indianapolis Colts and Patriots in New England.

"I think that when you're in those moments, you either live for them or you fall off," Wilson said. "And I think that for me I look forward to those moments. I've visualized myself ever since I was a little kid to be in these moments. I've visualized it being fourth-and-7. I've visualized third downs. I've visualized red zones."

Wilson also has excelled in the replay moments.

Fourth-and-7? That came in last season's NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, when Wilson's 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter gave the Seahawks their first lead and proved to be the game-winner.

Third downs? Those came in Saturday night's victory over the Carolina Panthers, when Wilson was 8 of 8 for 199 yards and each of his three touchdown passes in the Seahawks' 31-17 victory that sent them to the NFC title game, again.

Red zone? Those scores came in the 43-8 romp over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII last February when the Seahawks scored two touchdowns and kicked two field goals on four trips inside the Broncos' 20-yard line.

Rallying his team from behind? That also happened in 2012, when Wilson brought the Seahawks back from a 14-0 deficit to win the franchise's first road playoff game since 1983 in 24-14 victory over the Washington Redskins; and also erased the Falcons' 20-0 lead in Atlanta to put the Seahawks up 28-27 with 31 seconds to play – only to have the Falcons kick a game-winning field goal 23 seconds later.

That's how Wilson has fashioned the highest passer rating in NFL playoff history – 109.6. While compiling a 5-1 record in the postseason, Wilson has completed 63.8 percent of his passes (97 of 152) for 1,364 yards, with nine touchdown passes and one interception.

And against the Panthers, his rating of 149.2 was the fifth-highest in postseason history. Wilson completed 68.2 percent of his passes (15 of 22) for 268 yards and those three TD passes.

But then Wilson already had seen so much of all that.

"There are so many times that I've been in those situations in my mind," Wilson said. "And so I believe I've had a lot of success and I've had some failures in it all, but I think that anytime I'm in those situations I keep trusting every time that I'll have success and keep believing that it's going to happen in the right way for me."     

Wilson first shared his ritual of using visualization before his first preseason game as a rookie. And he has talked about it several times since then. But it's become a story again this week because that's what happens when the national media comes to town – the old is suddenly news again.

And as with just about everything Russell Wilson, it's worth repeating because, well, he's Russell Wilson.

"He kind of has taking it to another level. Some of those elite guys are able to do that," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said when asked about Wilson's preparation – which includes his visualization. "A lot of times we talk to a lot of our players about doing that, but some guys do it a little bit differently, handle it a little bit different.

"He's just special in that area."

And that brings us back to Wilson's visualization.

"He can see it. He can visualize it," Bevell said. "He puts himself in those situations many times. Even before the season starts, he puts himself in those situations. He goes through those plays. He's watching tape. And after he's done watching tape, he's going back though it in his mind. So he's special in that area."

And in this special week, why would Wilson change anything?

"Like I said, when you visualize those situations," he said, "they come around to you and you're successful on those opportunities."

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