It may not have been a signature performance, but it was one Russell Wilson needed after a rough couple of weeks.
Turnovers, defensive miscues and the lack of a reliable run game were points of emphasis for Seattle in recent games. In Thursday night’s 28-21 victory over the Cardinals, all three were non-issues, and it allowed Wilson to settle back into playing his game.
“I think that we’re capable of anything all the time,” Wilson said when asked the potential of a more balanced offensive approach. “Obviously, to not have our running backs and stuff like that, guys like Chris Carson and Carlos \[Hyde\], some of the best in the league. So, anytime you lose some of the best players in the league, that always hurts a little bit for sure. … We want to be able to obviously throw it and do our things in the passing game but obviously to we want to be able to run it. We love running it.
“We had a lot of amazing runs and that controls the game. We got to a lot of checks, changed some plays a bunch, got to some really cool runs. Coach Schotty [offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] and I were on it all day, just communicating. I thought he called a great game. We made it challenging for their defense.”
When these teams last met in Week 7 — a 37-34 Cards OT win — Hyde and Carson contributed 102 of the team’s 200 rushing yards. With neither in the lineup in the weeks since, Seattle rushed for 101, 57 and 113 total yards, respectively, and went 1-2 in that span.
The re-introduction of Hyde’s smashmouth running allowed Seattle to again play more physical and Wilson to go with the flow rather than mash the gas to generate offense. In losses to the Bills and Rams, the normally calm Wilson found himself out of sorts in the face of heavy pressure; he took 11 sacks, tossed four picks and lost two fumbles in those games combined.
With Hyde playing well (79 yards on 14 carries) and the protection holding up against the blitz-happy Cards, Wilson was able to elude pressure and drop pinpoint passes, as well as tuck and run to sustain drives when needed. He finished the night 23-of-28 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and, perhaps most importantly, no turnovers.
Wilson’s efficient Week 11 bodes well for the remainder of the year and could signal the end of a short-lived “drop-off.” With a favorable schedule ahead, this pivotal win could serve as the catalyst for Wilson to get back to cooking like only he knows how.
“There’s always highs and lows and tough challenges, but I think great players always know one, how how to be consistent and two, how to consistently adjust and how to consistently overcome,” Wilson said. “And I think that, for me, that’s my mentality all the time. I want to be neutral, I want to be able to remain calm in the midst of the storm.
“I know the kind of player that I am. I know what I’m capable of and they do, too, other teams and stuff like that. So, just staying in attack mode. … I know who I am, I know what kind of player I am. I’m never gonna doubt it and we let it rip and [did] some cool things today. Just felt completely in control the whole game.”