The finish to Sunday’s game didn’t exactly go according to plan for the Seahawks. First, they failed to protect the late fourth-quarter lead they got when Russell Wilson hit DK Metcalf for a 53-yard touchdown. Then, after the Buccaneers tied the game with 48 seconds left, the offense went 50 yards in five plays to set up a potential game-winning field goal, but Jason Myers’ 40-yard attempt barely missed to the right.
So how did Wilson and the offense respond to having two potential game-winning drives go for naught? By putting together one more big drive in overtime, this one a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended on Wilson’s fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 10-yarder to Jacob Hollister that gave Seattle a 40-34 victory.
“With Russell back there, it doesn’t matter, you have a chance,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “You have a chance no matter what’s going on. He played phenomenal football today. The calls that he had to make, the adjustments that he made, the throws, just the variety of things that we threw today that was available to us and that we went after, it was an array of passes and concepts and principles, and it was really, really exciting to see our guys pull all that together.”
Wilson had plenty of help around him, from receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, who had monster games, to Jacob Hollister, who had a pair of touchdowns, the first two of his career, to Chris Carson, who became the first 100-yard rusher against Tampa Bay’s top-ranked run defense this season, but as has been the case so often this season, the play of Seattle’s Pro-Bowl quarterback was ultimately the biggest factor in the game.
For several weeks now, Wilson has been generating significant MVP buzz, and Sunday’s performance was another demonstration of why he is now one of the favorites for that award. With five more touchdowns in a performance that saw him go 29 for 43 for 378 yards and a 133.7 passer rating, Wilson now has a league-high 22 touchdown passes, not to mention three touchdown runs, and he has thrown just one interception, tied with Patrick Mahomes for fewest among starting quarterback. Wilson is the only player since 1970 merger to have 22 or more touchdown passes and 1 or fewer interception through nine games. And in addition to leading the NFL in touchdowns, he’s also No. 1 in passer rating at 118.2.
So impressive was Wilson’s performance that Metcalf had a Tampa Bay defensive back tell him after the game how lucky he was to be playing with Wilson.
“I had one of the Bucs DBs tell me that I’m lucky that I have a guy like Russ running the show back there,” Metcalf said. “He’s a great leader, especially when the game is on the line… I’m blessed to have a quarterback like Russell, blessed just to be in this organization.”
The 75-yard drive in overtime, which included a perfect back-shoulder throw to Metcalf for 29 yards, a scramble and perfect touch throw to Carson for 15 yards, and of course the 10-yard game-winner to Hollister, was Wilson’s 31st career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most in the NFL since he came into the league in 2012. It demonstrated why the Seahawks had so much confidence that they had the game won as soon as they won the coin toss to get the ball at the start of overtime.
“He’s the MVP this year, and I think he’s been showing it all year and he continued to do it today,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “… I’m glad he’s under center, I’m glad I’m on the team with him. He’s a phenomenal talent, a great leader, and just consistent. I talk about it the same way every week; he threw five touchdowns, I can’t say too much more than that.”
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 9 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.