PITTSBURGH—Russell Wilson got rocked.
Three plays later, he threw a dime.
After launching a deep pass down the middle of the field towards Tyler Lockett early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks quarterback was blasted by Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree. The hit surprisingly didn't draw a flag—Dupree appeared to catch Wilson in the head with the top of his helmet—but after a replay review, it was deemed that Lockett was interfered with, giving the Seahawks a first down.
Only three plays after that brutal hit, which didn't seem to faze Wilson at all, he threw what might have been the best pass of very impressive performance, lofting an absolutely perfect deep ball down the left sideline that rookie receiver DK Metcalf was able to catch in stride for a 28-yard touchdown.
That score, the first of Metcalf's career, gave the Seahawks some much-needed breathing room in an eventual 28-26 victory over the Steelers.
The touchdown pass was Wilson's third of the game—the first two went to tight end Will Dissly—and gave him 201 in his career, moving him past Tom Brady as the fifth fastest quarterback in NFL history to throw 200 touchdown passes. Wilson also completed 83 percent of his passes, going 29 for 35, throwing for 300 yards, no interceptions and a 130.0 passer rating. Wilson did that while spreading the wealth, connecting with Lockett 10 times—a career high in catches for Lockett—Dissly five times, Metcalf, Malik Turner, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise three times, and Nick Vannett and Rashaad Penny once.
Wilson also rushed for 22 yards, including a 15-yard run on third-and-16 late in the game that led to Carson's game-clinching fourth-and-1 conversion. Wilson even added a couple of blocks to his performance, helping lead the way down the field on Penny's 37-yard touchdown run.
"Russell was phenomenal all day long," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He did a great job moving it around when he could. Everybody caught passes. Tyler had 10. He had a big day. But everybody caught balls. DK looked good. Malik did well. All those guys did a good job."
With an efficient 14 for 20 performance last week, Wilson has now completed 78 percent of his passes through two games with five touchdowns and no interceptions, and he's averaging a robust 9.0 yards-per-attempt.
"He's a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback man, he does it all," left tackle Duane Brown said. "His leadership is amazing throughout the game. He's 100 percent locked in and engaged with everyone. It was a different game plan than what we're used to—we threw the ball 35-plus times, and he had 80 percent completion rate, three touchdowns, and was just in control throughout the game. He's running the ball, making plays with his legs, he's blocking down field. I'm just happy he's on my team. He's a phenomenal player and a great leader."
As Brown noted, this was a different game plan for the Seahawks, one that called on Wilson to throw more, though it should be noted that the Seahawks still finished with 152 rushing yards. Early in the game, however, it looked like Wilson might not be able to successfully throw that often because the Seahawks had a hard time protecting him. Wilson was sacked three times in the first quarter and once more midway through the second quarter, but in the second half the Seahawks used more up-tempo offense and quick passes, keeping the Steelers pass rush at bay, with Pittsburgh not recording a sack in the second half.
"I think they did a great job in one of those classic, take what they're giving you (games)," Carroll said. "We had put Russ really in command of the rhythm of the game, and all the quick stuff he did a really great job on. Did a great job throwing the seam routes to (Dissly) for the two touchdown passes. I thought Russ's rhythm really picked up and the sacks went away in the second half and really cleaned things up."
The up-tempo offense and quick passing game didn't just help the Seahawks move the ball, it also took its toll on Pittsburgh's defense down the stretch, Brown noted.
"I think it just tired them out," he said. "They did a great job of getting the rush lanes and getting there early on in the first quarter. (Wilson) got the ball out, the receivers did a great job of getting open quick and getting their heads around. Rushers did a great job of getting out on time and finding the right guys. We just took over. They got tired, they've got the big guys over there, it's hot out there. You could feel them kind of start to get tired and wear down, and that helped us out in the second half."
Prior to the season opener, Carroll declared that Wilson looked the best he ever has in the buildup to the regular season. It has only been two weeks, so there's a lot of football left to be played, but after two games, Wilson looks like he might just prove his coach right in that assessment.
"He's an unbelievable quarterback," Dissly said. "I'm happy to be catching passes from him."
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 2 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.