During the 2012 season, several rookie quarterbacks made it to the playoffs. Though all of them will not play in this year’s Super bowl, one out shined in their performance on Sunday. Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson not only brought his team back from 20-0 to almost win the game, he threw for a total of 385 passing yards that broke the yardage record set by Sammy Baugh in 1937 of the Washington Redskins.
Not bad for someone who was drafted by Seattle as a too-short third-round pick that wasn’t expected to start during the 2012 season. By the time Wilson ended his rookie season, he accomplished to rookie records – most passing yards in a postseason and most touchdowns thrown, that is, 29 if you count the postseason.
An athlete can lose a game but still come out on top, as long as you give everything you have. That is exactly what Wilson did in Sunday’s 30-28 divisional round loss to the Atlanta Falcons. By halftime, the Seahawks was down 20-0 and looked as though the Falcons were going to run away with the game. However, the rookie quarterback kept his composure and not only brought his team back but they took a 28-27 lead with roughly 30 seconds left in the game.
Unfortunately, for Wilson and the Seahawks, what would have been an NFL record-setting win fell short as Atlanta quickly marched down the field and scored a game-winning field goal with eight seconds left on the game clock.
Had they won the game, they would have joined the 1989 Los Angeles Rams as being the only other West Coast team to acquire two postseason victories at East Coast locations in the same year. What made matters worse, was the fact that Seattle had two scoring opportunities that they let get away from them; both of them being in the first half.
When Seattle Seahawk fans finally digest this loss and look to the future, they can take comfort in knowing that it took one season for their football team to go from nobody’s to being a force to be reckoned with. Last year, their record was 7-9 and this year they jumped to 11-5.
The team has greatly improved their defense but the surprise of Wilson, the shortest starting quarterback in the NFL, will help make Seattle competitive in the NFC West. Oddly enough, he also threw the fewest passing attempts by any 16-game starter of the regular season; yet, he was able to make a big play happen when his team needed him to do so.
The ability he has to extend a play is something Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith was concerned about going into Sunday’s game. Smith, who last week compared Wilson to Fran Tarkenton, commented after the game and said the rookie “did a great job extending plays.” “We knew going into it, it was going to be tough for us. … I believe there were 145 snaps in 17 games that he extended plays when I watched the entire season. We knew we had our hands full. He’s an outstanding quarterback.”
The talk about rookie quarterbacks during the 2012 NFL season mostly focused on franchise quarterback Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. Both were also in discussion as Offensive Rookie of the Year but Wilson’s performance during the regular season and the playoffs should make him the unexpected winner. He helped his team when they needed him the most and the second half of Sunday’s game was a testament to that.
The second half started with Seattle down 20-0 to Atlanta when he suddenly found ways to score against Atlanta’s defense. Wilson threw 14 completions in 19 attempts and put up 241 yards as well as scoring two touchdowns. He not only helped with his arm but used his legs to lead the team with 60 yards rushing on seven attempts as well as scoring one of the Seahawks two rushing touchdowns. Had the defense done their job by not let Atlanta march down the field and scoring the game-winning field goal, Seattle would be getting ready to play next weekend the NFC Championship game instead of cleaning out their lockers.
Despite the loss, the Seattle Seahawks seem to have a bright future and can go far with Russell Wilson leading as their franchise quarterback. Coach Pete Carroll believes the future is bright for his team with Wilson leading the way.
He said, “He’s an amazing football player. I think he proved it again. It’s so unheard of for rookies to do something like that. He ain’t a rookie. … I can’t even imagine how he can get better.” Even after the loss, Wilson feels things for his team will only get better as he said, “When the game was over, I was very disappointed, but right before I got back to the tunnel, walking off the field, I got so excited for the next opportunity, next year. Looking forward what we have in the future. We have a great football team.”