SANTA CLARA—Russell Wilson doesn't scramble as much as he used to, not so much because the Seahawks quarterback doesn't still have that elusiveness in him in Year 10, but because over the years he has evolved into such an efficient passer that he doesn't need to use his legs as much.
But with the Seahawks locked in a tight battle with the 49ers, looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2011, Wilson showed his 32-year-old legs still have plenty of juice in them as two touchdowns off of Wilson scrambles helped the Seahawks take control in an eventual 28-21 win at Levi's Stadium.
Despite a slow start for the offense, which went three-and-out on its first five possessions, the Seahawks found themselves tied 7-7 late in the second quarter, and with the Seahawks back in the red zone looking to take the lead, Wilson showed he can still kill teams with his legs, scrambling to his left to avoid pressure, then sprinting to the corner of the end zone for a score that would give the Seahawks the lead for good.
When the Seahawks got the ball back right away thanks to a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Wilson again pulled off some magic, this time avoiding a sure sack before throwing his second touchdown pass of the game. With the Seahawks facing second-and-9, the 49ers sent cornerback Dontae Johnson on a blitz and he had a free run at Wilson, but Wilson was able to not only avoid Johnson, but also defensive end Nick Bosa who had gotten into the backfield, then while rolling to his right and away from the end zone, Wilson fired a strike into the front corner of the end zone to hit Freddie Swain for a touchdown that made it 21-7.
"Russ was spectacular today," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "It was so hard early, and he just stayed the course, stayed with it, and really kind of recaptured a chance at this game when you wouldn't think there was any way. It just didn't look like it was going to happen… The scramble for the touchdown was great, and the other spin scramble, that's just as good as you could get."
Oftentimes Wilson's offensive teammates don't get to see his spectacular plays in real time because they're either blocking or running routes, but as left tackle Duane Brown noted with a laugh after the game, he saw the touchdown pass to Swain first-hand because he was chasing the play after Bosa got between him and left guard Damien Lewis.
"I saw it live, unfortunately," Brown said with a laugh. I was speechless, man. I just went to him and said, 'You're a bad MFer.' That was my words to him, I really didn't have much to say. That's one of the best plays I've seen from him in my time here. It's just commonplace for him."
The win was the 100th career regular-season victory of Wilson's career, making him the fastest quarterback to reach 100 wins, doing so in the fourth game of his 10th season. While other quarterbacks reached 100 wins faster in terms of starts—Wilson ranks fourth there—players ahead of him on that list didn't start as rookies, and only Wilson and Peyton Manning, who won his 100th game in the 10th game of his 10th season, have reached 100 wins in their first 10 seasons.
For a player who defines himself by winning more than anything else, it's a big accomplishment for Wilson, and it's one built not just on the work he does week-in-and-week-out in the NFL, but off of the work that started with early-morning childhood workouts with his dad, Harrison Wilson III.
"That's why I play the game, is to win," Wilson said. "To be in great company with some amazing players in the history of the game. I remember going to Peyton Manning's passing academy when I was young, and some of the other guys who have gotten 100 wins, it's pretty special… I think back to all of the great players that've I've been fortunate to play with, these guys on this team, obviously Coach Carroll and John Schneider for believing in me, Paul Allen, thanks for taking a chance on me—the Allen family as a whole.
"I think back to my dad when he used to wake me up in the morning, and before I didn't really want to wake up that early. He used to try to wake me up at 5:15, 5:30 in the morning, he would knock on my door and say, 'Son, you want to be great?' Every day, 'Son, you want to be great?' And I started answering the call. I tried to be up earlier than him. I think back to my mom and my dad, they both demonstrated so much faith, and they believed in my brother and my sister and I so much that they always encouraged rather than discouraged. I'm excited about the next 100. There's more championships, there's more things we want to do."
The win also means Wilson, who has lost consecutive games only 10 times in his career, still has not lost three straight games in the NFL, last losing three in a row as a sophomore at NC State.
"He's a bad man," Brown said. "He's a bad man. The work that he puts into this thing day in and day out is admirable. You know, as a 14-year guy, I know I've just got to match that, and the rest of the locker room has to match that. You just try to put everything you can into it to be prepared week in and week out, physical, mentally, emotionally. He really cares about his game, cares about winning, so we just do our best to go out there and win for him."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the 49ers in their fourth game of the 2021 season at Levi's Stadium. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington Lottery.