Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reaches for additional yardage with 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson closing in during Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reaches for additional yardage with 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson closing in during Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Wilson’s talent as an escape artist help Hawks salvage a win

SEATTLE — He’s back.

After battling injuries all last season, and playing behind an offensive line that is giving him precious little help, Russell Wilson showed again Sunday that when he’s right, he can do enough to push the Seattle Seahawks over the top pretty much all by himself.

“We all know Russell,” center Justin Britt said after the Seahawks defeated San Francisco 12-9 in an NFL game Sunday at CenturyLink Field. “He’s kind of a magician back there, how he creates plays with his feet and how instinctive he is moving in the pocket and outside the pocket.”

Wilson was at his magical best when the Seahawks (1-1) needed it most Sunday.

Trailing 9-6 with 11:31 left in the game, Wilson led the Seahawks on a 10-play, 82-yard drive to the game-winning touchdown.

On that drive, Wilson ran the ball four times for 27 yards and two first downs. Only one of those plays was a designed run.

Then he capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson, a play on which he avoided one San Francisco pass rusher and was being dragged to the ground by another just as he released the pass.

These are plays Wilson probably would not have made last year, when knee and ankle injuries slowed him down from the third quarter of the first game through the end of the season.

“It’s good to be able to run,” Wilson said. “Last year I couldn’t run at all. We were able to get big first downs when we needed it.”

Wilson finished the game with 12 rushing attempts for 34 yards and three first downs, including a 9-yard run on fourth-and-1 in the first quarter that set up Seattle’s first field goal.

He also completed 23 of 39 passes for 198 yards.

After two games this season, Wilson has rushed for 74 yards.

He ran for just 259 yards all last season, the lowest total of his career by far. The previous low was 489 yards in 2012, his rookie year.

“I don’t necessarily try to run,” Wilson said. “I’m really trying to get the ball in the playmakers’ hands, and if it’s not there, you’ve got to find a way.

“It’s a big part of our game, a big X factor,” he said.

The touchdown pass also had as much to do with Wilson’s feet as his right arm. On third-and-7 from the 9, as the protection broke down and the 49ers closed in, Wilson bought just enough time and space to find Richardson in the end zone near the left sideline.

“We practice it,” Richardson said of Wilson’s scrambling. “We have real routes that we have to run, real concepts, and when he scrambles, we have to come off of that page and go make a play and get on the same page as Russell.”

Wilson said he knew he had Richardson and Tyler Lockett on the left side of the field, which is the direction he was being chased. He said he looked first to Lockett, but Lockett slipped while making a cut.

That left Richardson as the last and final option.

“I went out to Paul, and he made a quick move and just made a great play,” Wilson said.

San Francisco defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said Wilson was the difference in the game.

“He can extend plays,” Buckner said. “You can beat your guy clean on a pass rush and he’s still going to try and make you miss. He can reposition his linemen to try to block you again, and it’s frustrating.

“Most of the game we did a pretty good job of containing, but towards the end, he broke loose and made some plays.”

It may seem odd to sing the praises of a quarterback when his team scores all of 12 points and has to come from behind in the fourth quarter at home against a team that is 0-2 and picked to finish well south of .500 by most observers.

But this is the way it’s likely to be for the Seahawks this season.

Sixty percent of Seattle’s player payroll is going to the defense, and 12 percent is going to Wilson.

That means just 28 percent of the Seahawks’ payroll is going to offensive players not named Russell Wilson, so if they’re going to go anywhere, he is going to have to play well above the level of his offensive teammates.

If the Seahawks are going to win, it’s probably going to be with defense and just enough special moments from their quarterback.

It’s not likely to be pretty.

Unless you’re the coach.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll rolled through a fairly extensive list of things that did not go well for his offense on Sunday, then went back to Wilson.

“The way he competed down the stretch,” Carroll said. “I thought it was a beautifully played ball game.”

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