Wil­son’s run at MVP:

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Lind­say H. Jones USA TO­DAY Sports

Seat­tle QB has put on an of­fen­sive show to carry team into first.

SEAT­TLE Don’t over­look Rus­sell Wil­son as a can­di­date for NFL MVP.

That’s the big take­away from Week 8 and the Seat­tle Sea­hawks’ wild 41-38 shootout win against De­shaun Wat­son and the Hous­ton Tex­ans, a game in which Wil­son ac­counted for all but three of his team’s 479 to­tal of­fen­sive yards.

“If there were any doubts about Rus­sell, what he can do, there is no limit,” Sea­hawks head coach Pete Car­roll said. “That was a fan­tas­tic day.”

Af­ter his ca­reer-best pass­ing per­for­mance against the Tex­ans, Wil­son moved into fifth in the NFL in pass­ing yards and was fifth be­hind the Kansas City Chiefs’ Alex Smith with 15 touch­down passes. It would not be dif­fi­cult to ar­gue that no quar­ter­back is do­ing more with less than Wil­son is.

The Sea­hawks’ run­ning game is ranked 21st with an av­er­age of 97.6 yards per game. But nearly 28 yards per game are com­ing from Wil­son, who was his team’s lead­ing rusher against Hous­ton with 30 yards. He has been sacked 16 times and fre­quently has been hit or forced to scram­ble while play­ing be­hind a strug­gling of­fen­sive line.

That has put a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share of the bur­den on Wil­son and the pass­ing game, es­pe­cially on a day such as Oct. 29, when the quar­ter­back had to match Wat­son and the Tex­ans score for score.

Ris­ing to such an oc­ca­sion would have been in­con­ceiv­able a month ago, when the Sea­hawks were among the low­est-scor­ing teams in the league af­ter the first two games, with just nine points in a sea­son-open­ing loss against the Green Bay Pack­ers and 12 points the next week in a win against the San Fran­cisco 49ers.

But Seat­tle is now av­er­ag­ing nearly 32 points per con­test dur­ing their four-game win­ning streak.

“(Wil­son) bailed us out. He was lights-out down the stretch,” cor­ner­back Richard Sher­man said. “In a game where in years past we may have kind of wa­vered and it might’ve been one where it could have got­ten away, he didn’t give up. He never stopped fight­ing. He stayed poised, the of­fense ex­e­cuted, and they won the game for us. They bailed us out. They bailed us out in a big way.”

In­deed, mo­ments that launched Wil­son into the MVP dis­cus­sion came at the very end of the game — and af­ter his only big mis­take, when he threw a red­zone in­ter­cep­tion with 2:55 re­main­ing in the game. It felt like a de­flat­ing, game-defin­ing mo­ment, but Wil­son said later that he be­lieved he could lead one more scor­ing drive if given the chance.

With 1:39 on the clock and no time­outs re­main­ing, he was granted his op­por­tu­nity.

Wil­son and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Darrell Bev­ell im­me­di­ately turned to a hand­ful of big-chunk play calls they had dis­cussed mo­ments be­fore. First, a deep pass to Paul Richard­son down the left seam for 48 yards. Then, a 19-yard strike to Tyler Lock­ett. Fi­nally, tight end Jimmy Gra­ham hauled in the 18-yard game-win­ner.

“We’ve got a lot of tal­ent. It re­ally comes down to us ex­e­cut­ing at a high level, and we did that flaw­lessly in that last drive to win the game,” wide re­ceiver Doug Bald­win said.

The Sea­hawks have started to prove over the last month that they can win th­ese style of high­scor­ing games, even if that hasn’t tra­di­tion­ally been their win­ning for­mula for much of Wil­son’s ten­ure.

Seat­tle will likely win more games geared to­ward the de­fense in the fu­ture, and it cer­tainly will need more sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions from the run­ning game. But for now, the Sea­hawks have a height­ened con­fi­dence in the of­fense, with Wil­son able to take over when other pieces are fal­ter­ing.

“We’ll build on this and kind of put that con­fi­dence in our back pocket so that if we ever do get into this sit­u­a­tion again, we know we can do it,” Bald­win said.


Be­sides throw­ing for 452 yards and four TDs, quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son had 30 of the Sea­hawks’ 33 rush­ing yards against the Tex­ans.

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