The Seahawks will open the preseason at San Diego against the Chargers (Aug. 8-11); host the Denver Broncos (Aug. 15-19); play the Packers in Green Bay in a CBS national televised game on Friday, Aug. 23; and host the Oakland Raiders in their finale (Aug. 29-30).
Last year, the Seahawks not only went undefeated in the preseason (4-0) for just the second time in their 37 seasons (2009 was the other), they also found their quarterback of the present and future when rookie Russell Wilson ran away with what started as a three-QB competition.
Wilson, who had been selected in the third round of the NFL Draft, completed 40 of 63 passes for 536 yards with five touchdown passes and one interception while compiling a 110.3 passer rating. His passing yards and rating ranked sixth in the league during the preseason.
And Wilson ended the competition with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and free-agent addition Matt Flynn during an impressive Week 3 game against the Chiefs in Kansas, when he led six consecutive scoring drives to open the game.
Flynn was scheduled to be the starter against the Chiefs, but a sore elbow on his passing arm prevented him from playing. Enter Wilson, and end of competition. Jackson was traded to the Buffalo Bills two days later, while Flynn was traded to the Oakland Raiders this week.
“It was more about what Russell did, more so than what Matt and Tarvaris didn’t do,” Schneider said this week. “Russell Wilson has established himself as, right now, one of the better young quarterbacks in the league.”
That’s because Wilson’s preseason performances proved to be just a preview of what was to come. While the Seahawks were going 11-5 during the regular season – only the 2005 (13-3) and 1984 (12-4) teams had more regular-season victories – Wilson was tying Peyton Manning’s rookie record with 26 touchdown passes and breaking the rookie mark for passer rating (100.0) that also was bettered by the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (102.4).
Then came the Seahawks’ first road playoff victory since 1983, as Wilson rallied them from a 14-0 deficit to a 24-14 victory; which was followed by an oh-so-close loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round, as the Seahawks went ahead 28-27 with 31 seconds to play only to lose 30-28.
As impressive as Wilson’s rookie season was, it all started in the preseason – when he made the most of every opportunity that came his way.