Russell Wilson performs 'really cool' for Pete Carroll's offense
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson moves past rough debut with solid second effort
Seattle Times staff columnist
In the constant evaluation of Russell Wilson's every quarterbacking move, Game 2 represented significant progress from his herky-jerky debut. In fact, you must invent a new description to portray the rookie's performance.
He wasn't electric. He was just efficient. He complemented a power run game with his accuracy, poise and patience. For a young quarterback who has already earned so much respect and fame, Wilson managed to operate with an offensive lineman's slyness in the Seahawks' 27-7 victory over Dallas.
He was invisibly effective for most of the game. At opportune moments, he flashed his talent and impacted the outcome. He made mostly inconsequential mistakes.
And that, folks, is Pete Carroll's dream situation for a quarterback.
"I thought he played a really cool game for us," said the Seahawks coach, who is always striving to make the quarterback's difficult job easier.
On the Pete Carroll Praise Scale, "really cool" equates to very good. It's a notch below "beautifully," his highest complimentary adverb, which less enthusiastic people would simply refer to as great.
Really cool today, beautifully tomorrow, Russ-tastic in the future?
Well, let's continue to be patient.
Wilson will be the mesmerizing player we saw in the more laid-back preseason in time. But for now, the Seahawks are asking him to be functional, and he can handle that. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 151 yards and threw a nice 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy in the third quarter. He connected on 75 percent of his attempts, the highest single-game completion percentage ever for a Seahawks rookie.
It's even more impressive considering Wilson was only 2 of 5 to start the game, launching passes too high and nearly throwing a red-zone interception on the Seahawks' first possession. If he were the typical skittish rookie, Wilson would've panicked along with the faction still questioning whether he should've won the job over Matt Flynn.
Instead, Wilson was 13 of 15 for 135 yards over the final three quarters, including a stretch of seven consecutive completions in the second quarter. After halftime, when the offense finally decided to join this season and the running game produced 149 of its 182 yards, Wilson served as the quintessential game manager. He exited this one with a 112.7 quarterback rating, compared to 62.5 in a Week 1 loss at Arizona. Most important, he secured his first victory.
"He's a rookie quarterback, but he plays with great poise, and he is a very good athlete," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "As the game wore on, they did a great job moving him around, and he made some real signature plays in this ballgame."
The touchdown pass to McCoy was tremendous. In his most stunning highlight, Wilson slipped away from Cowboys sack master DeMarcus Ware, who was covering him like a parka, and completed the short pass to McCoy.
"I don't know what Russell did to get the ball off," Carroll marveled. "I still don't know how he threw it to him."
Wide receiver Golden Tate starred in the most telling Wilson play, though. In the fourth quarter, Wilson scrambled for 14 yards as Tate uprooted Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee with a vicious block. Consider it the latest sign of how much the Seahawks believe in Wilson's big-play ability. Just like Leon Washington's highlight-reel block on Kansas City safety Eric Berry in the preseason, Tate knew he needed not only to protect his quarterback, but to try to spring him, too.
"Russell brings another dimension to our offense," said Tate, who also had three receptions for 38 yards, making an impact after missing Week 1 with a knee injury. "Any play he can take off and do something spectacular with his legs. We have a special player in Russell. We know that."
Given an opportunity to perform without the intense pass rush he faced against Arizona, Wilson did his job. He was more surgical than entertaining. With Marshawn Lynch rushing for 122 yards, it was a simpler operation for Wilson, but he still had to be precise. He was cool and competent.
"I didn't feel any different," Wilson said when asked about his improvement. "I think the one thing that I've always tried to do is just relax and just breathe and just trust in what I've learned throughout the entire week."
Wilson is averaging only 152 passing yards. The Seahawks will need to be less conservative in the future. Wilson will need to prove he deserves the extra responsibility. But for now, the incremental progress is laudable.
"He was rock solid," Carroll said.
And really cool.
And stealthy good.
So press mute on those trying to manufacture a quarterback controversy. Wilson lives to be overanalyzed another week.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or email@example.com.
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