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Russell Wilson shows knack for late-game theatrics
Quarterback Russell Wilson is just beginning his NFL career. It's the way Wilson is finishing games, though, that goes a long way to explaining...
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — Quarterback Russell Wilson is just beginning his NFL career.
It's the way Wilson is finishing games, though, that goes a long way to explaining why the Seattle Seahawks are 4-2, two games better than they were at this point last season.
Seattle's victory over New England Sunday marked the second time this season it had come back from a fourth-quarter deficit to win, on a touchdown pass from Wilson in the final two minutes, doubling its total from last season.
"It's a much improved aspect of our team," coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle has faced a fourth-quarter deficit in four games this season. In each case, the Seahawks had the ball with less than five minutes remaining and a chance to either tie or take the lead. The Seahawks have scored a game-winning touchdown in two of those games, and while you may dispute the validity of Golden Tate's winning grab against Green Bay, it's impossible to deny the fact Seattle put itself in position to grab a win.
That has been true even in defeat. Seattle had the ball inside the opponent's 40-yard line in the closing minute of each game it lost.
To understand what that means, you have to look back to a year ago when close seldom cut it for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks had seven games in which they had the ball in the final five minutes of a game while trailing by eight points or fewer, meaning Seattle had a chance to tie or take the lead.
Seattle scored in exactly one of those games: Doug Baldwin caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Whitehurst in Week 5 at the New York Giants, giving the Seahawks their only fourth-quarter comeback victory of the season.
The closest Seattle came to scoring on any of those other games was that 61-yard prayer of a field-goal attempt against Atlanta in Week 4.
That inability to come through in the clutch was the biggest shortcoming of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson last season, and a point of emphasis for Seattle's coaches heading into this year.
"Because of our lack of effectiveness last year, we stepped up and went about it differently this year," Carroll said.
Carroll estimated the team has rehearsed the so-called two-minute drill at least 1,000 times in practice and walk-throughs.
"I lost count when we got to about 700," Carroll said.
That practice hasn't made Seattle perfect. The Seahawks rode two pass-interference penalties into the red zone against Arizona only to have their final drive of the game end 4 yards short of the game-winning touchdown. Tate's catch didn't come without questions against Green Bay and Wilson was intercepted after Seattle had reached the St. Louis 35 in Week 4.
But when Wilson threw for the second of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns against New England, it capped a comeback that showed not only how much Seattle has improved this season, but how much better it might become as Wilson continues to develop.
"It's with a first-time quarterback, so we're really excited about that," Carroll said. "We're going to continue to get better. We're going to continue to focus on it and make it a great priority in the program."
• G John Moffitt has been ruled out for Thursday's game, meaning he will miss a fourth week because of a knee injury.
• S Kam Chancellor (ankle), DT Clinton McDonald (groin) and CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring) did not practice Monday, but all have a chance to play at San Francisco, according to Carroll.