For part of the game Sunday, Russell Wilson looked like the quarterback some thought he would be when he was drafted in the third round in 2012.
He lost the handle on a center exchange and on a handoff to Christine Michael. One of his passes was woefully short of a wide-open Cooper Helfet on a sure touchdown, and another one was misfired into the dirt.
But on the Seahawks’ final drive of a 13-9 win at Carolina, he returned to the form that has earned him the reputation as one of the league’s most feared quarterbacks when the game is on the line.
He completed all four of his passes, including a 23-yard touchdown to Luke Willson, and ran twice for 21 yards to sustain the drive.
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As coach Pete Carroll said: “That’s just Russell.”
The winning, yes. The early inaccuracy, no.
“I think some of the issues going on earlier were on me,” Wilson said. He said he tried to get the ball out too quickly on the pass to Helfet, and on the one in the dirt he wanted to keep the ball away from Panther linebacker Luke Kuechly, who suddenly loomed over his intended receiver.
“I could have played a lot better,” he said. “That’s the thing I look forward to, though. When I don’t play my best, I look forward to the next opportunity I have. So those are the things I can continue to work on. I’m still young; I’m still learning, still trying to work on a couple things here and there.”
Wilson was the target of some media inquisitions last week when an on-line story reported that some Seahawk teammates were divided in their support of Wilson. The story added racial overtones.
“We keep believing in each other and there is no doubt that we are together,” Wilson said. “I believe that I am an educated young male that is not perfect. (Who) tries to do things right, who tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to win games for this football team, for this franchise. That’s all I focus on.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman supported Wilson’s talents and his leadership. “You see it week in and week out,” he said of Wilson’s late-game leadership.
“Anyone can make up something and say ‘a source said,’ and go with it and it’s a story. He’s done a great job for us and we support him.”
The attention caused by an unattributed report, Sherman added, has detracted from Wilson’s accomplishments.
“I think he’s having a heck of a season,” Sherman said. “And I think that needs to be recognized. All of this controversy that’s in the media … (is) overshadowing his outstanding plays.”
As for divisions in the locker room, Wilson scoffed.
“We are probably the closest that we have ever been,” he said. “We are completely together.”