When team captain Tarvaris Jackson went out for the overtime coin toss Sunday, it should have been a reminder to everyone of this simple fact: The Seahawks would not be a Super Bowl team without Russell Wilson.
Plenty of people are calling Wilson’s game against the Packers — in which he threw a career-high four interceptions — the worst of his career. Wrong. Dead wrong.
Sure, Wilson threw a handful of bad balls, including two that were intercepted on poor decisions to throw to a covered Jermaine Kearse. He ended up completing just 14 of 29 passes for 209 yards, with one touchdown and the four picks. The resulting rating of 44.3 was the second-worst of his career.
But that’s where numbers can be deceiving.
Consider that his receivers dropped five passes — two by Kearse, two by Doug Baldwin, one by Marshawn Lynch — and that Kearse’s two tipped passes were intercepted. Convert the drops to completions and take away those picks and Wilson would have been 19 of 29 for at least 262 yards, with only two picks and a rating of at least 77.1.
So, no, his game was not nearly as bad as uneducated football fans/media have declared it to be.
If it was, the Seahawks would have lost the game. But, as he has done so often in his career, Wilson recovered from the offense’s horrible first half and — with help from his teammates, of course — pulled off the greatest comeback in Seahawks and conference championship game history.
In the first half, Wilson was 2 of 9 for 12 yards, with three picks. Sure, you could call that one of his worst halves. But in the last two-plus quarters he went 12 for 20 for 197 yards while running six times for 23 yards and a touchdown. And he threw the winning 35-yard pass to Kearse in overtime to send Seattle back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
As great as Seattle’s defense and running game are, there’s no way the Hawks reach the Super Bowl without Wilson at quarterback — last year or this year.
The Seahawks have not had a dependable line in years, and Wilson has had his share of struggles behind the unit in his three seasons as the QB. But he has largely overcome them — often pulling off miracle wins with his combination of passing and running.
Jackson had his chance to lead the Seattle offense in 2011 and couldn’t manage behind an unstable line. Charlie Whitehurst couldn’t either.
But Wilson has proven to have the poise, resilience, intelligence, quick release, strong arm and mobility the Seahawks have needed out of their quarterback.
He has shown it in plenty of previous games — e.g., comeback wins over Green Bay and New England as a rookie, the playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Tampa game last year, nearly every game against Carolina, etc., etc.
He did it all against Green Bay on Sunday, overcoming the offense’s mistake-filled game to finish off the most dramatic postseason comeback the NFL has seen in years.
The Seahawks are headed back to the Super Bowl, and they couldn’t have done it without Russell Wilson, who played far from his worst game Sunday.