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Originally published October 7, 2012 at 9:12 PM | Page modified October 7, 2012 at 10:37 PM

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QB's performance paradox

Russell Wilson returned to the state where he began his college career and played the best game of his rookie season. He also nearly cost the Seahawks a victory.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Russell Wilson returned to the state where he began his college career and played the best game of his rookie season.

He also nearly cost the Seattle Seahawks a victory.

Deciphering that paradox was the key to understanding how Seattle's rookie performed in Seattle's 16-12 victory over Carolina on Sunday.

On the one hand, Wilson completed 19 of 25 passes for 221 yards, outperformed last year's No. 1 overall pick in Carolina's Cam Newton and threw the game-winning touchdown on a third-down play inside the opponent's 20-yard line, which had been two trouble spots for Wilson this season.

But one of those six passes he didn't complete was the worst decision in Wilson's five games as a Seahawk, throwing behind tight end Anthony McCoy and allowing Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to intercept it and return it for the Panthers' only touchdown.

That play didn't define Wilson's game for coach Pete Carroll nearly so much as the way Wilson responded.

"Honestly, it didn't even faze him," Carroll said. "It's because he has this extraordinary belief. I wish we all had that."

Wilson completed seven of his next 11 passes, including the touchdown to Golden Tate that gave Seattle the lead. Wilson was intercepted again, but that was a pass that was in the hands of running back Marshawn Lynch before it was knocked loose.

How did Wilson bounce back from the mistake?

"The main thing is having amnesia," Wilson said. "That's what I always say. Whether it is good or bad, you have to forget about it."

Wilson said he had a word written on his wrist band for the game: Poise. That's what Carroll felt his rookie showed as he returned to the state where he spent four years playing at North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin in 2011.

"I thought he played a fantastic game," Carroll said.

It was Wilson's highest completion percentage, and his highest yardage total despite the fact a 56-yard pass to Tate was nullified in the first quarter by a holding penalty against offensive tackle Breno Giacomini.

"He threw one ball on a back hip," Carroll said. "Everything else was dead on the money all day long."

That was especially true in critical spots. Seattle had not converted a third down with a pass in the past two games, Wilson completing 1 of 10 passes for 3 yards and suffering two sacks in those situations.

Sunday in Carolina, he was 9-for-10 passing on third down for 75 yards, five first downs and a touchdown.

It was those nine passes he threw to teammates — more than the one he threw to the Panthers — that had his coach most impressed.

"He fixed something that we challenged him to fix," Carroll said. "I thought he was big time."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com.

QB Wilson's statistics this season
Rookie Russell Wilson played his best game yet Sunday.
Game Att Cmp Pct. Yds Avg. TD Int Sack QB rating Rush yds
at Arizona 18 34 52.9 153 4.5 1 1 3 62.5 20
Dallas 15 20 75.0 151 7.6 1 0 2 112.7 28
Green Bay 10 21 47.6 130 6.2 2 0 1 99.3 18
at St. Louis 17 25 68.0 160 6.4 0 3 2 45.8 14
at Carolina 19 25 76.0 221 8.8 1 2 2 82.2 12
Total 79 125 63.2 815 6.5 5 6 10 75.2 92
Source: NFL.com

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