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Originally published September 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM | Page modified September 21, 2014 at 9:56 PM

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Russell Wilson, Seahawks prove overtime is the right time

After a poor second half that included a costly interception, Russell Wilson came up with a moment in overtime that turned out to be another one of those that will define him: A beautiful drive in which he out-Manninged Peyton Manning to pull the victory back to the Seahawks.


Seattle Times columnist

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Russell Wilson put it bluntly: “That wasn’t one of my smartest plays.”

Against his better judgment, Wilson had tried to force the ball to Percy Harvin, knowing full well that Denver’s coverage would preclude just that possibility.

“I thought he wasn’t going to be open, but Percy beat his guy so good, so quick … maybe I could get it in there.”

Sure enough, it was a damaging interception that, through a chain of unraveling events, helped provide just the hint of an opening for Peyton Manning to perform the latest in a long line of miracles.

Which left Russell Wilson right where he wanted to be all along, after Manning marched Denver to a tying touchdown in a 41-second blur of completions and defensive breakdowns.

“I don’t mean to say this in a wrong way, (but) I was almost hoping it would happen,’’ he said. “That we would get the ball. I believed our defense would make a stop, but if it did happen, I couldn’t wait for those moments.”

This moment turned out to be another one of those that will define Wilson: A beautiful drive in which he out-Manninged Manning to pull the victory back to the Seahawks.

The second half had not been Wilson’s finest hour.

A costly sack, in which held the ball long enough for Denver’s defense to engulf him, eventually led to a safety.

Then came the interception, leading to a Denver touchdown just when hope was expiring for Broncos. It wasn’t the poor pass, per se, that was jarring. It was faulty decision-making by someone whose record in that department is impeccable.

“How many times have we ever seen him do that?” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He so rarely puts himself in that kind of situation.”

But Wilson’s reaction, after Denver lost the coin toss to give Seattle the ball first in overtime, was vintage. All the precision that had evaporated in the second half returned when victory depended on it.

He completed four passes in six attempts for 35 yards. He ran the ball four times for 21 yards, foiling the Broncos with his scrambling ability. And Marshawn Lynch provided the coup de grace with a battering 6-yard run for the winning touchdown.

“There’s really nothing you can say. Speechless,’’ said receiver Doug Baldwin. “For him to be so poised back there, making the reads he did, not making bad decisions but making great decisions in every facet, whether it’s throwing the ball or taking off and using his legs to get us first downs.

“It’s unbelievable, and makes it easy on us as receivers, and the offensive line, to have a quarterback who can do all those things.”

Wilson knew that scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of overtime was paramount. The alternative was to give Manning one more chance to conjure some of his magic, which was precisely the situation Seattle wanted to avoid most. And that required Wilson to plow his way forward with a recklessness that quarterbacks are customarily taught to avoid.

“I’m usually pretty smart on getting down and running out of bounds or whatever,’’ he said. “But when the game’s on the line, and you have Peyton Manning over there on the other side, you know you have to make some plays.”

Wilson has always prided himself on finding the calm within the storm in moments of greatest gravity.

“The key to taking advantage of those moments is still playing smart football, but also playing with an edge,’’ he said. “Playing to the edge, but not falling off the edge.”

It had appeared the Seahawks were slipping off that edge, particularly when Manning stunned them with a six-play, 80-yard drive right when victory seemed in their grasp.

But that gave Wilson the first opportunity to clean up his mistakes, and he made it happen.

“Russell does not get fazed,’’ Carroll said.

“He was no different than he was in the first quarter,’’ added Baldwin. “He’s consistent. He’s the same guy, over and over, no matter what the situation is. We had no doubt he was going to go out there and do this thing.”

Marveling over the game, with its peaks and valleys and spine-tingling conclusion, Wilson called it “one for the ages.”

For Wilson, it was one to add to a growing rèsumè of winning efforts.

Winning time
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson came up big on Seattle’s overtime possession, leading an 80-yard touchdown drive to beat the Broncos.
Wilson on final drive Attempts Yards Key play
Passing 4 of 6 3512-yarder to Jermaine Kearse moves the ball into Denver territory
Rushing 4 carries215 yards for a key first down on a third-and-three play to keep drive going

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry



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About Larry Stone

Larry Stone gives his take on the local and national sports scene.
lstone@seattletimes.com

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