SEATTLE – In case the recent blowouts clouded memory, Seattle rookie Russell Wilson can still put together a fourth-quarter, game-winning drive.
That came after he put his name alongside Peyton Mannings in the NFL record book.
Wilson tied Peyton Mannings record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26, and his 1-yard TD run with 1:39 left gave Seattle a 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday and an 8-0 home mark for the Seahawks.
To tie that record is really something special, Wilson said. Its a tribute to my faith and all God has put me through, but also to my team and what theyve done.
Seattle (11-5) had hopes of winning the NFC West entering the day, but needed Arizona to pull off a stunning upset of San Francisco. For a while, it looked plausible with Arizona holding an early 6-0 lead and trailing 7-6 at halftime. But San Francisco pulled away in the third quarter and with it went Seattles hopes of being any more than just the No. 5 seed and a road trip for the first round of the playoffs.
Seattle will travel to the NFC East champion for the first round of the playoffs Sunday.
The Seahawks closed the season as the only team undefeated at home. But to get another home game this season, the Seahawks would need to pull off two road victories and have the No. 6 seed in the NFC – Minnesota – reach the championship game.
Unlikely? Yes. But with how much has gone Seattles way the latter half of the season, anything is conceivable.
Theyve won seven of eight, including a five-game winning streak to close the year. They won at least 11 games for just the third time in franchise history.
Lets see if we can make that nine (straight), Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said.
Most of the week was spent with the Seahawks receiving an inordinate amount of national attention and respect after their 42-13 rout of San Francisco and the news of Sherman winning his appeal of a four-game suspension. There was very little talk of the Rams, and that made the struggle against St. Louis (7-8-1) not very surprising.
Getting that 11th victory was far from those easy blowouts the Seahawks enjoyed the previous three weeks. St. Louis defensive effort was superb. Seattles offensive eruption of the past three weeks was gone, bogged down by St. Louis smart coverage in the secondary and effective pass rush. Seattle became the first team since 1950 to score 150 points in a three-week span, yet had just three points at halftime and six midway through the third quarter.
The Rams sacked Wilson six times, including three by Chris Long. Seattle got pushed around and still had a late answer to keep them rolling right into the postseason.
It definitely gave us an example of what to expect in the playoffs, Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said.
I would have rather had a game like this in the regular season than to get in the playoffs and not be able to respond like we were able to respond today.
Wilson finished 15 of 19 for 250 yards and his 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Robinson in the third quarter pulled him even with Manning for the rookie TD record. He added another 58 yards rushing, while Marshawn Lynch finished with exactly 100 yards on 18 carries.