Second and eight.
The Seahawks are leading the Cowboys 13-7 with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter, a lead gained on the backs of their special teams. They’re clinging to the six-point advantage in spite of another shaky outing by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. He’s been erratic once again, throwing the ball too high, and being forced to give up on the plays too soon by defensive pressure. Seahawks fans start to wonder if they’ll ever see a sustained drive from this offense. And then it happens.
The turning point.
On second down, Russell Wilson drops back, and is given time to survey the field thanks to a Michael Robinson block on the Dallas end. He sits, waits for the routes to develop, and within that three second span, regains the comfort and confidence we saw radiate through him throughout preseason. He delivers a short ball to Golden Tate flashing across the linebacker level for the defense, and hits him for a ten yard gain and a first down.
And just like that, Russell Wilson started playing like Russell Wilson.
It was a very simple play. It’s not going to show up as a large gain in the stat column. It’s not showing up on any Sportscenter highlight reels. — unlike a play Golden made later, uncorking a block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee that knocked him all the way back to Largent v. Harden — But that was the first time this season I’ve seen Wilson settle into the pocket and look comfortable. And he never looked back. And I bet he doesn’t the rest of the year.
Watch the rest of the game again, and you’ll see a change in Wilson’s demeanor. He has savvy. Moxy. Poise. You’ll see it on his touchdown throw to Anthony McCoy. On the sideline when he’s congratulating every offensive player after the Marshawn Lynch touchdown run. When he escapes the pocket and runs 14 yards with the help of Tate’s decleating of Lee.
Make no mistake, the defense was stinging and the special teams spotted the home team ten points, and they never looked back. There are heroes in this game who deserve praise and recognition. But on this day, in this blog, they’re not going to get it. Don’t worry, there will be other days; there will be other blogs. They’ll get theirs.
A lot of statistics will be thrown around this week, and they’re all valid reasons why Seattle thumped the Cowboys. The Seahawks won the turnover battle 2-0. They only committed five penalties, none of which directly gave Dallas a first down. Marshawn Lynch had his third best regular season rushing performance.
There are important numbers to be mentioned, like 49, which represents the Cowboys’ rushing yards total, and seven, which is the amount of points Seattle allowed Dallas to score.
But the most important numbers in this game are 3, 81, and 10. Wilson throwing to Tate for ten yards.
There are going to be many hurdles for Russell Wilson to jump over this season, being a rookie quarterback. There will be times when he’ll make us want to pull our hair out. But he’s proven to the fans, to the critics, and to himself that he does belong in this league. He can make professional throws, and he can lead this team to wins against good NFL teams.
What will be Russell’s next hurdle? I don’t know.
But it’s going to be fun watching him clear that one, too.