RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Facing 80 yards and needing a touchdown with less than five minutes to play, Russell Wilson felt right at home.
Wilson’s rigorous preparation and attention to detail that helped earn him the starting job for the Seattle Seahawks as a rookie left him completely ready to face the task that lay in front of him.
“It wasn’t any different. It was as normal as it could be,” Wilson said.
Wilson led the Seahawks on an 18-play drive that gave Seattle seven plays inside the Arizona 13 in the final minute of the game. Yet Wilson and the Seahawks came up short as a fourth-down pass sailed through the hands of Braylon Edwards and Seattle dropped its season opener 20-16 to the Cardinals.
Head coach Pete Carroll said it was just a matter of making one more play to win the game.
“It would be a big story in the other direction had we completed one of those passes down there,” Carroll said. “I think he handled it very well, he handed it like a pro. He was critical of himself and stuff that he could’ve done. He was really disappointed and wished he could’ve had another shot at it.”
Unlike his start in the third preseason game against Kansas City, where Seattle scored on six of the seven drives when he was at the helm, the Seahawks struggled to get anything going offensively.
Wilson was 18 of 34 for 153 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. He also carried the ball eight times for 20 yards, mainly scrambling from pressure in the pocket. A pair of big kick returns by Leon Washington led to 10 of Seattle’s 16 points as the offense was unable to put together a drive of more than 33 yards until the last possession of the game.
“You can talk about the preseason all you want to but when you get to the regular season it’s completely different, guys are scheming for our offense, looking at our weaknesses, our strengths and looking to see how they could best exploit us,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “And they did a good job of it. Obviously, we had some mistakes offensively and defensively that put him in a bind because he was pushed to do more.”
The Cardinals did their best to make it difficult on Wilson. Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell pressured him repeatedly.
When he did have time to throw, there were sometimes rookie mistakes that hampered the offense’s ability to move the ball.
“There was a couple times where he didn’t take advantage of the preparation, when he had a look that he could’ve gone to that was easier than the one he chose. He went to Sidney a couple of times when he could’ve gone to Braylon, when Braylon had a better look on the other side. There are a couple of times he took off when we had the protection, and he felt like maybe we didn’t. Those will come when he trusts and understands that we do have the right call and we got the guys that are picking things up and he’ll sit in there a little bit better,” Carroll said.
Wilson isn’t dwelling on what didn’t happen against Arizona. The Seahawks host the Dallas Cowboys in their home opener on Sunday and Wilson is ready for the next challenge.
“I’m past that now. That was the first game, now it’s on to the next one and staying focused on what we can do to win the game,” Wilson said.