CHICAGO – When the Seahawks needed the most on Sunday, the rookie quarterback was there for them.
Again. And again. And again. And again. And the best part? Wilson played nothing like a rookie in leading a 97-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter and then an 80-yarder in overtime that allowed the Seahawks to escape with a 23-17 victory over the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Each drive ended with a Wilson touchdown pass – a 14-yarder to with 24 seconds left in regulation and then a 13-yarder to with 7:33 left in overtime. But each drive included plays by Wilson that would have been impressive if made by a quarterback playing in his 12th NFL season, let alone his 12th NFL game.
“There never was a doubt, not with DangeRuss,” cornerback said, using Wilson’s Twitter handle. “Not with DangeRuss Wilson, man. I mean, that kid never ceases to amaze me. I don’t think he gets enough credit.
“You show me a team down in the fourth quarter, running a two-minute offense, from 97 yards out that wins the game, you’ll never find another kid like that. He did it. And then he did it again in overtime. And this is against one of the best teams out there.”
Those 177 yards worth of TD drives, which coach Pete Carroll labeled “just exquisite,” allowed the Seahawks to win on the road for only the second time this season. The Wilson-led victory, which Carroll called “extraordinary,” lifted the Seahawks to 7-5.
The upset against the Bears (8-4) was rendering even more meaningful because the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers lost in overtime to the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday to slip to 8-3-1; and also because it allowed the Seahawks to hold the No. 2 wild-card playoff spot in the NFC playoff race; but mostly because it was a road win against a quality opponent.
The Seahawks now are 7-16 on the road in three seasons under Carroll, and three of those precious victories have come against the Bears on the hallowed ground that is their home field.
“This was a very exciting day for our football team,” Carroll said. “It was a tremendous finish for us. We’ve been struggling on the road. We’ve been (close) so many times. Now everybody knows we can.”
Also in the good-news department: The Seahawks, 2-5 on the road, have only one trip remaining – to Toronto, where they’ll play the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 16. They also have home games before (next week against the Arizona Cardinals) and after (Dec. 23 against the 49ers and Dec. 30 against the Rams) that trip to Toronto. And the Seahawks are 5-0 at CenturyLink Field, including upsets of the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings.
“We’re very fortunate to get out of here with a win against a terrific football team,” Carroll said. “We needed it badly. And we’re excited to go home and finish this thing off.”
When all was said and run on Sunday, Wilson had passed for a career-high 293 yards by completing 23 of 37 passes. He also used the zone-read to run for 71 yards on nine carries, a 7.9-yard average. And, he did not throw an interception for the second consecutive game on the road and fourth game overall.
“We believe in this kid,” Carroll said.
Sunday’s game included other plays. Like a 12-yard TD pass from Jay Cutler to Earl Bennett that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Like a 4-yard TD run by that allowed the Seahawks to tie the game late in the second quarter, and a field goal that gave the Seahawks a 10-7 lead at halftime. Then there was Cutler’s 12-yard TD pass to Matt Forte that gave the Bears the lead in the third quarter.
But they were pushed to by-the-way status by the way Wilson performed with the game on the line in the fourth quarter and overtime.
On the 12-play, 97-yard drive in the fourth quarter, Wilson ran for 13 and 6 yards on back-to-back plays; passed to for 11 yards on third-and-14 and then to tight end for 7 yards on fourth-and-3; found Rice over the middle for 27 yards to the Bears’ 14-yard line; and then went to Tate for the final 14 yards and the TD.
All of that, however, paled when compared to the precision he weaved in overtime. He ran for 11 yards on the first play; ran for 5 yards on third-and-2; scrambled for 12 yards on third-and-5; moved in and then out of the pocket to buy time to complete a 12-yard pass to Baldwin on third-and-10; and went to Rice for 13 yards and the game-winner.
“Everybody realizes in our locker room the kid playing quarterback is an amazing kid,” Carroll said. “He is really exciting. And I love the way he pulled this off today.”
Everybody, that is, except the kid playing quarterback. To Wilson, who turned 24 on Thursday, he’s just doing his job. And he spent most of his postgame Q&A session talking about how everyone else – from his linemen, to his receivers, to his backs, to his coaches – did their jobs to allow him to do his. He even gave a shout out to backup QB for winning the coin toss at the start of the OT period to give the Seahawks the ball that they never gave back.
“The process is just trusting the process,” Wilson said. “Trusting what we do on a daily basis. … The biggest thing is just focusing on the now. Focusing on what we can do to control the game when the game’s on the line. Like I’ve said over and over again, guys are really focused and guys are paying attention to detail.
“This was a spectacular win for us.”
In the end, however, it was Wilson who did the most impressive job when his team most needed him.
“He is amazing,” fullback said. “He keeps believing. He believes in himself. He believes in this team. He believes in his preparation. And he prepares like no other. The kid gives us a chance every week.”