RENTON, Wash. – Of all the reactions Russell Wilson triggered under the lights — from disbelief, to amazement, to "No way he actually did that" — the most meaningful came from the team he tormented for more than three hours.
"We got beat by, as far as I'm concerned this weekend, the best player in the NFL," Washington safety Ryan Clark told reporters.
The Seattle Seahawks made enough mistakes to turn what should have been a blowout of Washington on Monday night into an uncomfortably close affair. Thanks to Wilson, none of the 13 penalties or missed assignments mattered.
Whether he used his feet or his arm, Wilson overcame all of Seattle's sloppiness in its 27-17 win over Washington, leaving the Seahawks at 3-1 heading into Sunday's home showdown with Dallas (4-1).
Wilson threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a career-best 122 yards and a touchdown. He burned Washington with designed runs, beat them with improvised scrambles and when he had the time, threw darts to open receivers.
Couple the performance with a national TV audience and it's no surprise everyone was praising Wilson.
"Russell is a hell of a player," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "He kept a lot of plays alive, obviously that play at the end of the game was unlike I've seen in a while. He's won a lot of games for them because of that. He's a heck of a player."
Wilson became the second quarterback, along with Michael Vick, to have two regular-season games in his career with 200 or more yards passing and 100 or more yards rushing, according to STATS LLC. Wilson also had 200-plus passing and 100-plus rushing last season against Indianapolis.
Wilson's 122 yards rushing were the most ever by a quarterback in a Monday night game and fifth most by any quarterback in a regular-season game in the past 10 seasons.
"I don't think running is ever part of the game plan for me really. It just kind of happens," Wilson said. "We want to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin and those guys. If something is not there I just try to take off and get something positive and keep the drive alive. I thought we fought really well. ... To win that game on the road with all the penalties we had."
About those penalties.
The 13 penalties were the most committed by Seattle since 2012 when it had 14 against Green Bay. It was the fifth time under coach Pete Carroll that the Seahawks have been flagged that many times in a game. The surprising counter: Seattle is now 4-1 in games under Carroll when it was penalized at least 13 times.
While penalties are up across the league, Carroll said the Seahawks need to avoid following the trend.
"We're not going to go that way. We're not going to give in to that," he said. "There was eight of them that happened before the ball was snapped. That's us. That has nothing to do with officiating."
Lost in Wilson's performance and the concern with penalties was a stout defensive effort against one of the top running backs in the league. Alfred Morris entered Monday night averaging 4.5 yards per carry and nearly 80 yards per game on the ground. The Seahawks limited Morris to 29 yards and 2.2 yards per carry.
While they have yet to create turnovers or get to the quarterback at nearly the same rate they did a year ago, the Seahawks are doing even better in stopping the run this season. Through Week 5, Seattle is the only team in the league allowing less than 3 yards per carry. Last season, Seattle ranked seventh in the league giving up 3.8 yards per rush.
"The line of scrimmage was really well-coordinated. We were fired up and we played their run game," Carroll said. "We respect the heck out of what they do and Alfred (Morris) and all that they can do and it was just sharp. There was only a couple plays that had any space at all."
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