INDIANAPOLIS—Nine and a half years ago, Russell Wilson came to Lucas Oil Stadium for the NFL Scouting Combine uncertain about what his future held.
Nearly a decade later, Wilson was back in the same building kicking off his 10thseason with the team that drafted him the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, putting on yet another performance in Seattle's 28-16 win over the Colt, yet another game in a career full of them that showed how fortunate the Seahawks were to land Wilson with the 75th overall pick.
"I was telling (Ciara) just last night and this morning, it's kind of surreal for me, waking up at the JW Marriott and looking over and seeing the stadium, Lucas Oil," Wilson said. "I go back to sitting in a similar position in a way, wondering what God had for me, wondering where I'd go and everything else roughly 10 years ago. And to be here, 10th year coming in again and to be with such a great team, and to be so grateful to be able to keep doing what I love to do, and to put so much time and energy into it all offseason, all the hard work, everything that we've been doing, the mindset around winning, doing everything we can, and it's kind of surreal to be here again, Year 10, my first game in Year 10."
Wilson was spectacular in Seattle's season-opening 28-16 win, completing 18 of 23 attempts for 254 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 152.3 passer rating. Yet for as great as Wilson and his weapons were—Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf combined for 160 yards and three touchdowns on eight catches—what stood out most in the context of this new season wasn't that Wilson had another game like this, but rather that he and new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron got off to such a great start together.
"The day, to me, really goes to Shane," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "His first time out, and the chance to show it. I'm really, really proud of what he was able to do, because he went for it the whole time. We did it exactly how we've been practicing, and how we've been preparing, and how he handled it was such a cool overall mentality and all."
So good was that chemistry, in fact, that Carroll slipped and used the phrase, "He and Russ were just cooking," unintentionally referencing the "Let Russ Cook" slogan that Seahawks fans turned into a phenomenon on social media last year.
"Oh, I'm sorry I said that, can you scratch that?" Carroll joked. "Doggonit. They did really well together. Shoot that's out there. I don't think I ever said that one time all that last year. Anyway, it was a big day for the offensive coaches on the offensive side to put this thing together. I know everybody was questioning it, and we're just getting started, so it's really exciting for us."
While there was an element of unknown about the offense coming into this game, particularly with most of the offensive starters sitting out the preseason, Carroll wasn't surprised by this start because of what he saw in camp, particularly between his quarterback and offensive coordinator.
"This is what I've been talking about and this is what I was hoping for," Carroll said. "I've never seen this kind of chemistry be so obvious between the caller and the quarterback, and I hope this is just the first step of a great march together."
Wilson agreed with Carroll's assessment of things, saying "I think the chemistry between Shane and I was great, it was terrific tonight. It's been great all offseason, we spent a lot of time really working on the game and working what we want to do, and we have a great mixture of all the great things we've done in the past—we've done a lot of great things, you can't take that for granted, we've done some really special things over the years—and also, all the things that has done, around the world, you know he's with the Patriots, he was with the Shanahan tree, he's been with Sean McVay, so I think he's got a great understanding of the game. He's so knowledgeable. I told you guys earlier in the week, he's like at wizard, and I have a lot of control too at the same time, so we're all working together. It's a beautiful thing."
The final numbers were impressive, from Wilson's four touchdowns and no interceptions—the 11th such game in his career, the most every for a quarterback in his first 10 seasons—to Tyler Lockett's 100 yards and two touchdowns on four catches, to Chris Carson's 91 yards on 16 carries, and to 381 yards and a 7.2 yards-per-play average against a talented Colts defense, but what stood out more than the stats were some of the elements of Waldron's defense that should help the Seahawks be able to sustain a high level of play all season.
The Seahawks at times last year struggled to adjust to defenses late in the season, particularly two-deep safety looks, but Sunday's game was a classic example of taking what the defense was giving the Seahawks and thriving. When the Colts focused on DK Metcalf, rolling extra coverage to his side, Wilson looked elsewhere, finding Lockett for a pair of spectacular touchdowns, or hitting tight ends Gerald Everett and Will Dissly four times on one touchdown drive, or taking easy completions to Carson, or feeding Carson on the ground when the Colts gave extra help in coverage.
"I thought we did phenomenal man," Lockett said. "Just being able to go into the game, understanding the coverages that they were running, understanding their tendencies, the philosophies, all the things that they were out there trying to be able to do. I thought we capitalized on it, we adjusted to it, we ran the ball the way that we wanted to be able to run the ball, it opened up a lot of stuff on play actions. We didn't always need to go deep, we went short at times we went medium at times. I think that's the thing that's really going to help us out a lot because, as you go into these next weeks and even next week, teams are going to try to game plan, they're going to try to stop certain types of players, but I think what we showed is that it doesn't matter who gets the ball. We're going to feed whoever and however, based off of what it is that a defense chooses to give us, we're not going to force the ball to anybody, we're not going to try to be too aggressive. I think the best thing that we've learned is just being able to take what the defense gives us and that's what happened today."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the Colts in their first game of the 2021 season at Lucas Oil Stadium. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.