Toronto — The Seattle Seahawks were supposed to be a defensive team this season. That all changed with Russell Wilson.
Wilson, who was generally considered too small to succeed at the pro level, has taken the NFL by storm in his rookie season.
Seattle could barely function on offence to start the year, now Wilson and company have put up 50-plus points in consecutive weeks for the surging Seahawks.
"He’s a special guy," Seahawks receiver Golden Tate said to reporters after the game. "I knew that the moment he walked in. Special young man. Really happy to watch him grow and be a part of it. He’s going be here for a long, long time."
The undersized rookie quarterback stole the show Sunday with an unbelievable display of running and passing to steamroll the hapless Buffalo Bills 50-17 at the annual Bills in Toronto series at the Rogers Centre. Whether it was on the ground or through the air, the Bills simply had no answer for the elusive Wilson and the zone-read option play.
“Our offence is really explosive right now and we do so many multiple, different things to attack the defence,” Wilson said in the post-game press conference. “In terms of running, a couple of trick plays here and there. It’s hard to stop.”
The more you watch Wilson, the more you are amazed with his dynamic playmaking ability. As Tate put it, he looks destined to be great. And he’s doing that already.
In a sport full of physical specimens, Wilson just looks like a kid playing in the park. He made Mario Williams and the Bills defence look silly with three rushing touchdowns and 92 yards on the ground, along with 205 yards passing and a touchdown.
The Seahawks signal caller is nothing at all like a typical rookie. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in poise, leadership and maturity that is well beyond his years.
"He works hard. This is his craft and he loves his craft," Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said after the game. "Nobody I’ve known that works harder. He doesn’t treat it like he’s a rookie. Credit to him and his hard work."
Right now, Wilson looks like the second coming of Fran Tarkenton or Doug Flutie, but with a stronger arm. An amazing feat for a guy who not long ago was on a CFL negotiation list.
"I knew he would be something special," Baldwin explained. "When we drafted him, I was really excited. One thing that stood out is at the combine. He was very poised and connected. Leadership capabilities and that’s something you want at the quarterback position."
The 2012 season was supposed to be the year of the first-year quarterbacks, but no one thought it would be Wilson in the rookie of the year conversation.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are going to be great for a long time but you can’t doubt this kid any more — Wilson has the makings of the next great NFL quarterback right along with them.
"Russell is doing amazing things right now," Baldwin said. "Just phenomenal. Un-rookie things and he’s playing at such a high level. At least top of the list (of rookie QBs) for sure."
"No one even projected him to start, "said Tate. "He’s leading us. We have a chance to get in the playoffs — says it all right there. We didn’t even expect him in the talk. He responded and led this team this far and that says a lot."
His makeup is what prompted Seahawks general manager John Schneider to fall in love with Wilson during his scouting rounds last year.
Schneider and the Seahawks were panned for taking the “midget quarterback” in the third round back in April but they saw a special player that could tilt the field.
Boy, were they right.
Wilson is paying dividends well beyond what they ever could have imagined. He has already defeated Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers in a season where he continues to get better every week.
The third-rounder, who entered camp in the third spot on the depth chart, needs just five touchdowns to tie Peyton Manning’s rookie record of 26. He is on pace to throw the most passing touchdowns of any rookie quarterback in over a decade.
"I think this is a credit to our GM John Schneider for taking him when he did," Seahawks tight end Zach Miller said in a scrum after the game. "Because he easily could have passed or said he is too short. But he said this guy won in college, why can’t he win in the NFL? We learned quickly in training camp and OTAs what a special player he was."
The Seahawks have found that special player and the quarterback every NFL franchise is desperately searching for.