There are so many different ways to describe how good Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been to start the 2020 season, but what might sum it up best is this: after throwing for 315 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Wilson saw his season passer rating go down.
Granted, Wilson's league-leading mark only dropped from 140.0 to 139.0, but still, you know you're on fire when 27 for 40 for 315 yards and five touchdowns is in some ways below the standard you set in the first two games.
Wilson's five-touchdown performance—and it should have been six, but we'll get to that later in the story—gives him an NFL-leading 14 and saw him pass Patrick Mahomes for the most touchdown passes through three games in NFL history, and it also made Wilson the first quarterback in league history to throw four or more touchdown passes in his first three games of a season. Wilson also became the fifth quarterback to throw at least five touchdown passes in consecutive games, and the first to do so since Ben Roethlisberger in 2014.
And most notably, Wilson led another fourth-quarter, game-winning drive, leading the offense on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that saw him complete four of six attempts for 66 yards, including an 11-yard completion to Greg Olsen on fourth-and-3, and the 29-yard touchdown to DK Metcalf that proved to be the game-winner. Wilson capped that drive by hitting Jacob Hollister for a 2-point conversion to give Seattle a 7-point lead.
"Another incredible showing by the offense," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I just thought they did a fantastic job today. Russ has just been so sharp and able to maintain his poise, with some rush today—this is a good rushing crew. He found his receivers and made some plays. He made some great plays, and the receivers came through.
Of the final drive, Carroll said, "We went ripping down the field (75) yards or whatever it was, with 4-something left, it was just perfectly executed. We almost scored too fast. Great play by Greg there on fourth down. We're so accustomed to it, we are just absolutely anticipating that we are going to go score. There was a moment in there where (Russ and I) said ,'Field goal wins it', and then we looked at each other and said, 'We're going for a touchdown.' It was really cool to see him competing again like he does. He was so chill. He was so perfectly poised and composed to pull that together. You couldn't ask for a guy that can be better mentally in those situations than Russell Wilson… Russell's brain just will not accept anything but coming through and finishing a win, and finding a way to do that."
Of course to paint Sunday's performance as a Wilson one-man show would do a serious disservice to the play of his line and his pass-catchers, particularly Tyler Lockett, who had nine catches for 100 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, Metcalf, who had four catches for 110 yards and the go-ahead score, and Olsen, who had five catches for 61 yards, including the aforementioned fourth-down conversion on the game-winning drive.
Sunday's performance by Lockett was the seventh-career game with eight or more catches, postseason included, all of which have occurred since the start of the 2019 season, a served as just another reminder of how good the connection is between Wilson and his top target.
"We have had that great, amazing connection for a long time, and he's made so many special plays, has shown up in so many different ways," said Wilson. "He got behind the defense on the first one and then he made two great ones down the road. So he's just, he's everything you would want in a receiver. He's so focused. He's so dialed in every day. He loves the game. He loves his teammates. He plays it the right way, and I'm grateful that he's on our team, that's for sure."
Metcalf, meanwhile, went from potential goat to late-game hero thanks to his go-ahead touchdown score. Earlier in the game Metcalf had gotten open for a long catch that looked like it was going to be 63-yard touchdown, but he eased up before the end zone and wasn't secure with the ball, allowing Dallas corner Trevon Diggs to punch the ball away at the 1-yard line. The ball went out of the end zone for a touchback, turning what should have been another Wilson-to-Metcalf touchdown into a Dallas possession.
But to anyone who knows Metcalf's work ethic, competitive nature and professionalism, it was hardly a surprise that even after that tough play he bounced back to make one of the most important catches of the game.
"He's rock solid," Carroll said. "It's such a hard lesson for him, to have a guy knock a ball out. It's just an exquisite play—throw and catch and execution, everything, protection was gorgeous. And then we give them the football. That's just a terrible play for us to have to endure, but the lesson learned will help everybody. Fortunately, we overcame it; it didn't wreck the game for us, but it's a terrible play, it really is. He's got a touchdown, just finish it off, and he started celebrating too early. We celebrate in the paint, is what we talk about, this is something we talk about all the time, so it really hurt that we weren't able to execute there. But the fact that he came back—of course he did. He's such a great competitor. He's not going to let something like that hold him down. He's pissed, just like everybody else, but he bounced right back, and there he was available for the game winner and made the play."