In the spring of 2012, Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson watched the NFL draft and saw the Washington Redskins give up a trove of draft picks to move up and take Robert Griffin III with the first pick.
Wilson got his call much later, in the third round, from the Seahawks.
Monday night, Redskins fans had to see in Wilson what they expected of Griffin.
While RGIII has battled injuries, Wilson has been brilliant, making it to two Pro Bowls and leading the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win.
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The juxtaposition of Wilson leading the Seahawks to a 27-17 win over the Redskins, with Griffin injured on the sidelines, was symbolic of their careers.
Wilson has been rarely better, rushing for a career high 122 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and passing 201 yards and two touchdowns.
“That just shows you what a double-threat player he is,” receiver Percy Harvin said.
Wilson said that most of his runs came off his reads of what the defense was giving him.
“If something isn’t there, I just try to take off to get something positive and keep the drive alive,” Wilson said.
Coach Pete Carroll said this aspect of Wilson’s game sprouted his rookie season in an overtime win at Chicago. Since then, “we cut him loose.”
And now? “He’s smarter, more aware and in command of everything we ask of him,” Carroll said.
Wilson’s rushing total was a Monday Night Football record for quarterbacks and broke his own franchise record for quarterbacks.
He was off and running from the start, with carries of 16 and 29 yards on the first drive, then 13 and 22 on the next.
“I don’t think running, for me, is ever part of the game plan,” Wilson said. “It just kind of happens, and obviously you want to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin and those guys.”
Wilson was sacked three times and under pressure most of the game. But he took the blame.
“To be honest, some of those sacks were on me,” Wilson said. “I think we had two or three that were definitely on me, where I could have hit somebody quicker. But I’m still learning and trying to get better every day. That’s something I can definitely fix.”
The mistakes and penalties and the fact that the game was in doubt until late, Wilson said, aren’t as important as the simple fact that the Seahawks won.
“We still came out with a huge win, and our goal is to go 1-0 every week,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we win by one point or we win by 51, as long as we win.”
Wilson earned some admirers on the other team with his performance.
“He was a special player tonight,” Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “I don’t think it was anything we were really doing poorly. I mean, the guy is just a football player, and he was making some really great plays.”