Russell Wilson, Seahawks ignore the noise and get a hard-fought win
The goal, the Seahawks said later, was to ignore the noise. But after a dramatic 13-9 win here over the Carolina Panthers Sunday, it was obvious they’d heard it as Richard Sherman offered an impassioned defense of quarterback Russell Wilson.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Russell Wilson by the numbers
199 Passing yards for Wilson on Sunday.
20 Completions by Wilson, out of 32 attempts. Wilson completed passes to nine different receivers.
1 Touchdown pass by Wilson, thrown to Luke Willson with 47 seconds left. Also, the number of interceptions he threw and the number of times he was sacked Sunday.
35 Rushing yards for Wilson, on six carries.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The goal, the Seahawks said later, was to ignore the noise.
But after a dramatic 13-9 victory Sunday over the Carolina Panthers, it was obvious they’d heard it.
The talk of a locker room divided. The rumblings of a rift between quarterback Russell Wilson and former receiver Percy Harvin that led to the latter’s trade to the Jets. Rumors that some were jealous of Wilson and questioning his ability to lead, one story claiming some on the team feel he’s “not black enough.”
So after making a statement on the field with a victory clinched when Wilson hit tight end Luke Willson for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds left, the Seahawks made even more in the locker room.
Cornerback Richard Sherman, in front of a bank of cameras that rivaled a playoff game, launched into an impassioned defense of Wilson and criticized some of the stories written this week.
“Those kinds of things are overshadowing his play,” Sherman said of Wilson, who led an 80-yard winning drive that began with 4:37 left.
“He’s having a fantastic season and they are talking about lots of them things that nobody said. Anonymous sources and things like that could be made up by anyone. ... Until someone in this locker room says anything negative then you’ve got to take that with a grain of salt. Anybody can make up anything and say a source said it and go on with it and say it’s a story. But I don’t think anybody on our team (feels that way). They support their quarterback and he’s done a great job for us.”
After what was the 12th time he has led a winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, Wilson proclaimed the Seahawks are “probably the closest that we have ever been.”
Wilson even volunteered an answer to the most sensitive topic raised during the week — his race — during a question about the adversity of the past few days.
“In terms of me, the ‘not black enough’ thing I think you are talking about, I don’t even know what that means,” he said. “I believe that I am an educated young male that is not perfect. That tries to do things right. That just tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to win games for this football team. And that’s all I focus on.”
Wilson said the stories are simply “people trying to find ways to knock us down. But we just keep swinging and keep believing in each other.”
While some in the locker room tried to say the victory meant no more than any other, receiver Doug Baldwin agreed this one definitely mattered.
“That was definitely a very physical and emotional game,” he said. “That’s a very important win for us right now.”
Baldwin said the past two weeks — with the trade of Harvin and attendant fallout, as well as two defeats that came down to the final minutes — had been “tough for us.”
But he also said they might have made Seattle better.
“I think these past few weeks have reminded us of who we are,” he said. “Who we are is a blue-collar, hard-nosed, grind-it-out team. It’s not always going to be pretty, but we are going to find a way to pull it out. That’s what we have always been. That’s what we were last year, and we’ve gotten back to that mentality of fighting every play. I think we found that this game, getting back to who we are.’’
Indeed, ultimately it was a victory everybody could feel good about.
Carolina finished with just 266 yards as Seattle finished with three sacks and two turnovers. And while the offensive numbers weren’t staggering (310 yards), Seattle moved it when it had to.
“I particularly like the way we did it,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We were up against it all day. We didn’t leave until we got it done at the end. It was great.”
It was also, he thought, all the proof the Seahawks really needed to offer that things in the locker room are just fine.
“If you think there are distractions, you’re wrong,” Carroll said. “You’re wrong.”