This was the design from the start, following the blueprint from the first day Pete Carroll set foot in Seattle.
Most who listened to Carroll that day remember his gushing enthusiasm for the job, but they might have overlooked the fundamental nuts and bolts he outlined.
He wanted a team that could run the ball and stop the opponents’ run; he wanted ball-hawking defense and coverage units.
And as almost an afterthought, he needed an efficient quarterback who moved the chains and limited his mistakes so that the other parts of the formula were not disrupted.
Russell Wilson was exactly that quarterback Sunday, completing 15 of 20 passes with a touchdown for a passer rating of 112.7 in the Seahawks’ 27-7 upset of the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field.
As we urged fans to be patient with premature judgments on Wilson’s long-range potential after his ordinary statistics in a season-opening loss to the Cardinals, it’s fair to again withhold his deification after the win over Dallas.
But it certainly looked as if the rookie from Wisconsin grew up – as an NFL quarterback if not in physical stature – in the second half against Dallas.
The best thing about his contributions? They were proportional. And they were in the context of what the team needs from him.
He took nothing away from Marshawn Lynch’s rushing; he did not put the defense in bad situations because of turnovers. He put the club in position to win.
“He ran the club all day long and made a couple great plays for us; and gave us the formula that we like to see,” Carroll said.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett saw the same qualities.
“There is no question they want to run the football with Marshawn Lynch and let the quarterback play off of that,” Garrett said.
In the second half, Wilson completed six of eight passes, found a wide-open Anthony McCoy for a touchdown, and added 24 yards of timely rushing.
The pass to McCoy gave the Seahawks a 20-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. It’s been a long while since a fourth-quarter lead has been safe for Seattle. In fact, it was that weakness that was the unsightly trademark of former quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
Sunday, against a Dallas team that defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the opener, Wilson led the Sea-hawks on fourth-quarter drives of 12 and 14 plays.
When the gun sounded, the Seahawks had possessed the ball 13 minutes, 31 seconds to Dallas’ 1:29 in the fourth quarter.
On one rush that Lynch broke open for a 36-yard gain, Wilson read the defense and at the line called for the play to go to the other side. It’s a small indicator of his awareness and command of the scheme at this point.
Wilson’s postgame presentation was that of a polished veteran. He approached the podium with gold and blue regimental tie in a Windsor knot so perfect it was worthy of a men’s clothing catalogue.
He calmly cited his teammates’ contributions and noted some of his own mistakes. “ Our goal is to be perfect,” he said. “We weren’t quite perfect, but it was way better than last week.”
Carroll added that he thought Wilson “played a really cool football game.”
He was cool, in the sense of coolness in the heat of the arena composure, playing within himself, untroubled by the speed of the game or the demands of the moment.
Across the board, the Sea-hawks dominated with physical play. The kind Carroll has always wanted. They were plus-2 on turnovers and added a touchdown on a blocked punt.
They rushed for 182 yards (122 by Lynch). Defenders Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright played exceptionally, distributing big hits all day. And the highlight hit came from receiver Golden Tate on a scramble by Wilson.
Fullback Mike Robinson not only forced a fumble on special teams, but a number of times he set Lynch free with blocks on linebackers.
And into that context comes Wilson.
The best measure of how the rookie quarterback did on Sunday?
The Seahawks won, and he was a part of it.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com @DaveBoling