By Todd Fredrickson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Don’t you worry none about Russell Wilson. He’s just fine.
Forgiven and forgotten in the overall glow of last week’s rousing victory over a bitter rival was the fact that the Seattle Seahawks’ passing game was far from impressive. It was a fun night overall against the 49ers, but 8-for-19 for 142 yards is not the way you want to play in a big game.
Wilson issued a resounding rebuttal on Sunday.
The Seattle quarterback completed 14 of 21 passes for 202 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to lead the Seahawks to a 45-17 victory over Jacksonville in an NFL game at CenturyLink Field.
Wilson’s four touchdown passes matched a career high set last season against San Francisco, and he might have had more had he not gone to the bench late in the third quarter with the Seahawks leading 31-7.
“We definitely want to be able to run the ball every game, but it’s always good to get the passing game and kind of get Russell revved up because once he’s throwing the ball around like he can he’s better than anyone, I think,” said Seattle tight end Zach Miller, who caught two of Wilson’s touchdown passes.
“He is so good at seeing the whole field and finding the open guy and really throwing it where only the receiver can get it,” Miller said. “And then he makes plays with his feet when he needs to, too.”
To be sure, Jacksonville’s defense is not in the same galaxy as San Francisco’s. Not this year.
But the Jaguars (0-3) are an NFL team — honest — and first-year head coach Gus Bradley was Seattle’s defensive coordinator for the last four seasons. If any defensive coach out there got a close look at what Wilson did last year as a rookie, it’s Bradley.
But Wilson dissected Bradley’s defense, never more so than at the end of the first half.
Leading 17-0, Seattle got the ball at its own 21-yard line with 44 seconds left following an acrobatic interception by linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wilson completed three straight passes for 58 yards, scrambled for 10 yards, then threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice to make it 24-0 and end all doubt.
Five plays, 79 yards, and one touchdown, all in just 34 seconds.
“Sidney and I were talking after that drive, and that was the biggest drive we’ve had so far. I think it was the most important thing that we did today in terms of offense,” Wilson said.
“The communication in the huddle was great, getting in and out of the huddle. Guys made tremendous plays, got big first downs when we needed to. The scramble was good for us, and then, obviously, Sidney Rice making that big-time play, just getting wide open for me,” Wilson said.
“We scored a touchdown in 34 seconds, and that’s awesome.”
Miller gave all the credit to Wilson, both for that drive and also for the generally excellent offensive performance.
“You saw just what kind of quarterback he is,” Miller said. “He’s so poised back there, doesn’t let anything rattle him, and just drives us down the field.
“I think the two-minute drive before half was pretty special,” Miller said. “It showed everything that he’s in command of.”
Wilson put up big numbers in the season opener at Carolina with his first regular season 300-yard passing game, but the offense sputtered near the goal line and the Seahawks squeaked out a 12-7 victory.
Last week was all about defense and emotions in the 29-3 rout of San Francisco.
The Seahawks (3-0) entered Sunday’s game 24th in the league in passing offense and had scored only three touchdowns on nine trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, the so-called red zone.
A lot of their struggles in the red zone had to do with the fact that they committed 19 penalties worth 183 yards in their first two games.
So, although the 2-0 start was nice, there was a lot to work on, and on Sunday the Seahawks looked a lot more like a well-rounded, formidable contender, scoring four touchdowns and a field goal on five trips into the red zone.
“The most important thing to report is that we had four penalties. That’s awesome,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “We finally took care of an area that’s been a real problem for us, so that was good stuff.”
“We didn’t have any crazy penalties. I think that we made smart decisions. Communication was great. We got off the ball really well. Got in and out of the huddle. We executed when we needed to in the red zone,” he said.
“That’s the way we need to play football. When we do that, when we stay on schedule, we’re hard to stop,” he said. “We’ve been winning with pushing ourselves back and playing uphill football. Finally, today we were able to play downhill football.”