Russell Wilson made the most of his first chance to start for Seattle.
The rookie quarterback threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a just under three quarters of work Friday night, leading the Seahawks to a 44-14 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The third-round draft pick has been competing for the No. 1 job with Matt Flynn, the former Green Bay backup who signed in the offseason. Wilson had impressed in the second half of preseason wins over Tennessee and Denver, but was downright dazzling in his first NFL start.
When he wasn’t hooking up with one of his wide receivers or handing off to Robert Turbin, who started in place of injured Marshawn Lynch, the savvy Wilson was gouging the Chiefs for big gains on the ground. He scrambled twice for 58 yards, both times helping to set up scores.
Things didn’t go nearly as well for the Chiefs, who were coming off a dud in St. Louis.
New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s attack fizzled from the start, managing just three yards in the first quarter and going three-and-out on three of its first four chances.
Matt Cassel was 19 of 34 for 168 yards and a touchdown, and was intercepted by Seattle safety Earl Thomas, who returned it 75 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
Even the special teams were a disaster for Kansas City, which watched Golden Tate zigzag 95 yards on a punt return with 2:12 left in the third quarter. The touchdown gave Seattle a 44-7 lead and sent the sparse crowd at Arrowhead Stadium streaming for the exits.
The Seahawks (No. 22 in the AP Pro 32) are unbeaten in the preseason, and looked downright unbeatable against a Chiefs defense that was among the best in the NFL at the end of last year.
Of course, the Chiefs were playing without starting safety Kendrick Lewis, who is out with a shoulder injury, and cornerback Brandon Flowers, who has missed several weeks with a heel injury.
Still, the Seahawks managed to slash through the defensive line for huge gains on the ground, and that helped give Wilson plenty of time to sit in the pocket and pick apart the secondary.
He led the Seahawks to field goals on their first three possessions before finding tight end Kellen Winslow alone for a 21-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
The Chiefs (No. 18, AP Pro 32) answered with their best drive of the night, going 80 yards and scoring on a short TD pass from Cassel to Dexter McCluster. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who signed his franchise tender just a week ago, caught his only pass on the drive.
Wilson led Seattle to another touchdown before halftime, hitting Anthony McCoy for two big gains and Charly Martin on an 11-yard scoring strike. The drive was helped along by two late hits on Wilson by Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, who learned this week he’ll be suspended for the season opener against Atlanta after testing positive for a banned substance.
Turbin put an exclamation point on his big night with a 25-yard touchdown run early in the second half to give Seattle a 30-7 lead. The fourth-round draft pick finished with 14 carries for 93 yards in place of Lynch, who missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday with a back injury.