In his third NFL season, Russell Wilson is on the right path to becoming the first player to throw for a passer rating of 100 or more in three straight seasons and the first quarterback to throw 20 touchdown passes in consecutive games.
The Seahawks had a promising first half and were on the verge of tying the NFL record for most consecutive passing attempts in a season.
Then Wilson went down.
He was replaced by J.R. Sweezy, who was the team’s third-string quarterback.
The defense was a mess, but Wilson had the most memorable moment of the game, a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham that sent the Seahawks on their way to a 26-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
“It’s been a long road, but that’s part of what makes it special,” Wilson said.
“That’s what makes our team what it is.
I’m glad to be back and I’m thankful for what I’ve done so far this season.”
Wilson said he felt a lot of pressure coming into the season and that it had gotten to him.
“I’m not one to just sit back and take it, but I’m looking forward to going out there and making plays,” he said.
It’s a new way for Wilson to play football.
He’s the first rookie to lead the NFL in rushing (3,735 yards) and pass (1,845) since Kurt Warner did it for the New York Giants in 2007.
Wilson has had the worst season of his career.
He has thrown 18 interceptions and has been sacked 27 times.
He led the NFL with a career-high 14 interceptions in 2015 and 2016.
His completion percentage has dipped to 47.7% and his touchdown-to-interception ratio has jumped to a career high of 12-to.
He also has thrown three touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the past four games.
Wilson’s offensive line has been one of the NFL’s worst.
He sacked the quarterback 16 times and was hit nine times.
It wasn’t easy for Wilson.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Wilson and tight end Graham are two of the most important players in the Seahawks’ offense.
They combined for 749 yards last season, and Graham’s 9 catches for 119 yards last Sunday helped Seattle clinch the NFC West and earn him a contract extension worth $16 million.
Wilson is the first Seahawks quarterback to win MVP since Tom Brady in 2010 and the third quarterback in NFL history to reach the 20,000-yard mark.
It will be a big challenge for Wilson and the Seahawks.
Seattle will be without quarterback Russell Wilson (neck) and tight ends Jimmy Graham (hamstring) and Jimmy Graham Jr. (groin) because of injuries to starting running back Marshawn Lynch (groins) and wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstrickling).
Seahawks coach Pete Carr called the injuries a big factor in the loss.
“They played with such tremendous effort and passion, so it was a little tough for us to execute,” he told reporters.
“When we got them out, it was tough for everybody to get out of the huddle and play.
We’ve got to get better.”
Wilson’s biggest problem is his playmaking ability.
The rookie has been spectacular for the Seahawks, rushing for 1,890 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The offensive line needs to be better, but the defense is better.
The secondary has been porous and Wilson hasn’t been a huge factor in stopping the run.
He will get the start against the Cardinals.
“Russell has been unbelievable,” Carroll said of Wilson.
“(He) has been on a tear for us and we are happy to have him back.”
Seahawks fans were ready for a big comeback.
The team has played only six games this season.
Wilson had to throw more than 100 times last year.
He threw for 4,723 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“He’s the most confident, most confident guy I’ve ever been around,” receiver Golden Tate said.
The quarterback has been asked to take on more of the offense and is showing signs of becoming a more reliable option.
“The guy has really taken the reins this year,” Wilson’s teammate Jermaine Kearse said.
“(But) there’s a lot more work to do.”
Wilson, who won MVP last year for throwing for 466 yards and five touchdowns, said he has learned a lot about the game this season and his playcalling.
“This has been a good learning experience for me,” he tweeted.
“Just got to continue to keep learning.