Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has made a strong case for himself this season, but Sunday he topped even himself. The young player from Wisconsin led his team to victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, throwing a late-game TD in the fashion his opponent has countless times before Wilson even considered the NFL.
Sunday, Wilson connected with Sidney Rice on a 46-yard touchdown with 1:18 remaining, completing a Seattle rally from 14 points down in the final 7:31 to stun the Brady and the Patriots, 24-23. Wilson faked a handoff and looked deep. Rice was on an option route, and the coverage directed Rice to the middle. After faking to the outside, he was wide open. And Wilson delivered a perfect ball in a clutch situation, the way Brady has for years.
“It was a heck of a throw. When I came out of my break, the whole time I was looking at the ball in the air and it was so pretty,” Rice said. “I was just running, I was like `You’ve got to catch up to it, you’ve got to catch up to it,’ and I was able to track it down.”
Wilson finished 16 of 27 for 293 yards, the best day of his young career. Brady was, well, Brady, going 36-for58 for 395 yards and two touchdowns. But it was Wilson with the game-winning plays, not Brady.
Interestingly enough, Wilson has now beaten Brady, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. Sunday was also the fifth time in six games Wilson found himself in a late drive with the game on the line. Not bad for a 5-foot-10 quarterback who came into camp third on the depth chart.
“I think I’m always comfortable no matter the situation, I think I’m just more experienced,” Wilson said. “Being in those situations you have to trust what you see, you have to be quick with your decisions, but also believe in your decisions and just be decisive with the football.”
Brady topped 300 yards passing for the 49th time, but was intercepted twice in the second half, once in he end zone. Meanwhile, Wilson played a clean game: three touchdown passes and no interceptions.
“If guys didn’t believe in him,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said, “I guarantee they believe in him now.”