It’s pretty safe to assume that Russell Wilson was always the most popular kid in school. A three-sport athlete and senior class president of his high school, Wilson has this magnetic attitude that oozes positivity, and his buoyancy has carried over to his day job as the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. Back in the day, he seemed like the type of guy who would invite the new kid over to the popular table at lunch and share his dessert with them.
That Wilson vibe was on full display Sunday as the ‘Hawks traveled to the Meadowlands to take on Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall, and the 1-2 New York Jets, who came off an ugly loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Seattle in turn had trounced the 49ers as Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, and Christine Michael all dropped at least 100 yards of offense, forming a Cerberus of an attack that was exciting for everyone living in the Northwest and scary for everyone living elsewhere.
On the opening drive, New York chewed up about eight and a half minutes of game time before eventually settling for a field goal after a good balance of pass and run plays. Invisible on the drive was Brandon Marshall, who was matched up with Richard Sherman in a battle of two of the best at their respective positions. If it seemed at first that Fitzpatrick was avoiding the alpha dog Sherman, he would later prove otherwise and throw (and throw and throw) toward the loud-mouthed defensive agitator.
Other than getting some style points on a Jimmy Graham snare, there wasn’t much going for the Seahawks on their first drive of the game. Wilson started by throwing a nine-yard pass to Jevon Kearse before handing it off on the next play to The Boy Named Christine for a Seattle first down. The very next play he hit his new best friend Graham on that aforementioned catch for a first down on a one-handed grab, which seems to be all the rage these days.
However, Seattle was later forced to punt the ball back to the Jets, despite Graham’s effort.
Fitzpatrick, who threw six interceptions last week, certainly did not let the Legion of Boom affect his slinging mentality. The former Ivy League MVP didn’t shy away from using his arm, connecting with Brandon Marshall on the Jets’ second drive for a 41-yard pickup, challenging Sherman in the process.
The Seahawks defense eventually held and the Jets were forced to punt, booting Seattle deep in their own territory on their eight-yard line. After a Michael run that lost them a yard, the first quarter ended 0-3 in favor of the Jets.
The next play, while deep in their own territory, Wilson confidently stood in the pocket and lobbed a 27-yard pass to Graham before later stepping up in the pocket and hitting Baldwin for a 38-yard bomb that got an extra five yards after an unnecessary roughness penalty, putting Seattle on 1st and goal at the 5-yard line.
Wilson then zigged right and threw a risky pass amid three Jets defenders for a touchdown to new kid CJ Spiller (as of Wednesday), securing him a seat at the popular table. Spiller, who barely knew the playbook, already looks like a legit fit.
After a Jets punt, the ball came back to Seattle, which led to Wilson finding Graham once again, this time for a wide open 20-yard gain, establishing his pocket presence and reminding everyone that he is in fact one of the best quarterbacks in the world. Russ later made room at the popular table for another new guy, Tanner McEvoy, for an untouched 42-yard touchdown which happened to be McEvoy’s first-ever professional catch.
But Fitzpatrick, who didn’t seem rattled, reeled off an impressive 10 play, 75-yard drive capped off by a touchdown to Brandon Marshall, his first of the year, to close the half and keep the game within reach at 14-10. Sherman almost came away with an interception on that drive, but upon review it was ruled incomplete—the damage was done however for the Jets, as Sherman got a taste for the ball which later proved to be New York’s undoing.
After a third quarter which saw Seattle get a field goal to increase their lead to 17-10, the fourth quarter began with the Jets threatening and with Fitzpatrick testing the Legion of Boom. Marshall, who so far was getting the best of Sherman, appeared to push off on the Seattle DB to make a 17-yard catch while a flag was thrown. Sherman would eventually get called for defensive pass interference, despite Marshall appearing to push off.
Despite the earlier warning of Sherman’s almost interception, Fitzpatrick, who has utmost confidence in Marshall, once again went to his No. 1 receiver, but this time Sherman picked it off, avenging the bogus PI call at the biggest moment in the game. Wilson eventually threw a touchdown to Christine Michael for his first career receiving TD.
The Jets rallied late and scored a weird touchdown off a weird fumble, resulting in someone’s fantasy football team losing some points and taking an L for the week. But after gaining possession again, Fitzpatrick once again got picked off by Sherman, effectively ending the game for New York and giving Seattle the dub.
Fitzpatrick finished 23-41, but his three interceptions on Sunday combined with last week’s six gave him nine unfathomably woeful give-aways during the worst fortnight of his career. Wilson meanwhile, exploded for his best game of the season, finishing 23-32 for 309 yards and three touchdowns.
Russ confidently stood in the pocket the entire day, dicing up the Jets’ secondary and hitting eight different targets while displaying dazzling pocket presence, making excellent reads, and finding wide-open receivers all game long. He looked like his old self, one of the top quarterbacks in the game, capable of extending plays, frustrating opponents, and making the impossible seem possible, all the while making it look easy in the process.
Oh yeah, both of his legs were hurt. Now imagine if he was 100 perc– actually you know what, just don’t.
The Seahawks have a bye next week, which is perfect timing considering Wilson’s apparent leg injuries. Instead, check out the Washington Huskies on Saturday as they travel to Autzen Stadium to take on the Oregon Ducks.
Seattle resumes play on Sunday, October 16th at home against the Atlanta Falcons and the amazing Julio Jones.