Russell Wilson understands and embraces his role, especially when a game is on the line.
“As quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, the goal is to be the calm in the storm,” said Wilson after he led the Seahawks on a late drive Sunday and beat the Carolina Panthers 13-9 at Bank of America Stadium. “I have to make everybody believe and make sure they understand that you’ve got to trust the defense to make plays, to trust the offense the offense to make plays. Trust everybody.”
With 4 minutes, 37 seconds remaining, the Seahawks embarked on a drive that would result in a third victory in three seasons against the Panthers in Charlotte.
“When I went into the huddle, I kind of laughed and smiled,” said Wilson, a former N.C. State star. “I told them, ‘Hey, man, we’ve been here two years in a row. Just like this. Let’s go do it. Let’s go win the game.’”
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Wilson took the Seahawks 80 yards in nine plays, hitting tight end Luke Willson on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds left.
For the game, Wilson completed 23-of-32 passes for 199 yards and that one touchdown. He also ran for 35 yards, usually sliding to the ground just before Panthers tacklers could get to him. But he also wasn’t particularly sharp until the final drive. He lost one fumble and missed open receivers on at least three occasions. One came when underthrew tight end Cooper Helfet on a short pass by about 5 yards.
“We had some issues early and they were on me,” said Wilson. “I had Cooper open and I just fumbled the ball a little bit, trying to get it out quick. So that’s on me. It’s one of those things I can practice on Monday.”
When the Seahawks needed Wilson most, though, he delivered.
“He’s truly an extraordinary player in the fourth quarter,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “He finds a way to make the play that we need to make. A couple of runs he made were huge. That’s just Russell. The ball was spread all over the place. He’s able to be the point guard and he’s doing a great job of that.”
It had been a trying week for Wilson and the Seahawks (4-3), the defending Super Bowl champions who had lost two straight. One issue the team had to deal with was a Bleacher Report story that said some Seahawks players feel that Wilson “isn’t black enough.”
Wilson shrugged that off Sunday.
“I don’t even know what that means,” said Wilson. “I believe that I am an educated young male that is not perfect, that tries to do things right. That’s all I focus on.”
Wilson wasn’t the only former Wolfpack player to have an impact for the Seahawks on Sunday. Steven Hauschka hit two field goals, one a 58-yarder. Right guard J.R. Sweezy was one of the anchors of the offensive line.
Wilson also took a good-natured jab at the Wolfpack’s rival. As someone began coughing during his postgame interview, he said, “Somebody’s choking over there. I don’t know if that’s a (North) Carolina fan.”