Russell Wilson fired one touchdown pass through a mail slot — an astounding toe-tap score by Tyler Lockett — and connected with rookie DK Metcalf on a 40-yard bomb.
But neither was the favorite throw of the Seattle Seahawks quarterback on Thursday night.
“I’d say my favorite throw was the game-winning one,” said Wilson, referring to a point-blank, fourth-down pass to Chris Carson that the running back nearly dropped but tipped back to himself. “I play the game to win.”
That’s plain to see, as Wilson orchestrated his NFL-best 29th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime since coming into the league in 2012.
The last three games between the Seahawks and Rams have been decided by a combined eight points.
The touchdown to Carson — Wilson’s fourth scoring pass of the game — came with 2 minutes, 28 seconds to play and gave the Seahawks a 30-29 lead that would hold up as the final score.
That might have been Wilson’s favorite throw of the night, but his touchdown to a diving Lockett will live on Seahawks highlight reels for ages.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, that throw had a 6.3% completion probability, the lowest on any passing touchdown in the last three seasons.
Wilson’s was a masterful performance against an opponent who had beaten him three times in a row. What’s more, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald came into the game with 10½ career sacks against Wilson, which ESPN Stats & Info noted was tied for the most sacks by any player against a quarterback since Donald entered the NFL in 2014.
Rams linebacker Clay Matthews had the only sack by either team.
But Matthews also committed a critical (and controversial) penalty. He was flagged for roughing the passer on the winning touchdown drive when he and Wilson bashed shoulders after the quarterback had released the ball, giving Seattle a first down at the Rams 25.
Fox color analyst Troy Aikman staunchly defended the hit by Matthews, and the network’s officiating analyst, Mike Pereira, pointed out the quarterback is not afforded certain protections once he’s left the pocket. Pereira said the hit didn’t appear to be late, either.
Regardless, the call helped move the Seahawks into striking range, and the home team scored five plays later.
“I just kind of stepped up and scrambled,” Wilson said of his touchdown pass to Carson. “I was about to take off and run, and out of the corner of my eye in my periphery I see Chris. I was like — pfft — just popped it to him. I didn’t notice he bobbled it. I was ready to celebrate already.”
The crowd erupted, cheering a quarterback who finished with a near-perfect 151.8 rating.
“Guys were making plays like crazy tonight,” said Wilson, who completed 17 of 23 passes for 268 yards with four touchdowns. “The offensive line did a tremendous job against a very good defensive line. They gave me time, they gave me opportunities. We found guys down the field and made plays.”
Said Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll: “I thought Russell played one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play.”
The night was dedicated to late Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who 22 years ago bought the team and saved it for Seattle.
But it was Wilson who saved this game for the Seahawks.