Is it against the rules to suggest that an athlete had a legendary performance in a loss?
What if he leads his team to 28 points in the second half of a game? Twenty-one in the frantic final 13 minutes of that game? On the road? In the divisional round of the playoffs?
Toss in the fact that he’s a rookie. No, wait, more than that … he’s a little-bitty rookie, one who every team in the league passed over until the third round.
And what if his 385 passing yards are a postseason record for a rookie that goes back to 1937 when Sammy Baugh threw one of those old, fat footballs 335 yards?
Does it qualify then?
Maybe it has to be downgraded from legendary to merely memorable. But if Russell Wilson is to be denied that rare status, it is only because the Seattle defense gave up 43 yards in 12 seconds to set up Atlanta’s winning field goal.
Wilson engineered what should have been the biggest comeback in playoff history in the Georgia Dome on Sunday, giving the Seahawks a 28-27 lead with :31 remaining in the game.
As he has been in this record-setting season, Wilson again was a clear-eyed, cold-blooded quarterbacking machine, who passed for 385 yards, ran for 60 more.
And if the guy is to be downgraded for anything it’s only that he’s a bit of a procrastinator. That, and the fact that he hasn’t figured out a way to get on the field with the defense on the final drive.
The Seahawks have seen the improbable out of Wilson so often, they’ve exhausted their amazement, so the Falcons were kind enough to supply some.
“He’s got the ‘it’ factor, man,” said Atlanta safety William Moore. “You can’t control a guy like that. That dude is going to be a big problem for defenses in the league. He can do it all — he can run, he can throw, and he has the moxie you like to see in good quarterbacks. He was truly a game-changer.”
Such a game-changer, in fact, that Seattle coach Pete Carroll refuses to call him a rookie.
“He ain’t a rookie … he just isn’t,” Carroll said. “And there’s no way I can describe it. I could talk for 20 minutes about all the stuff he does, and who he is and what he’s all about. He’s just an amazing kid. Look what he just did today. It’s just uncanny.”
Wilson had some rough patches, missed open receivers on occasion, and held the ball too long at times. But this guy is absolutely hard-wired to lead a team regardless of circumstances.
“He was very calm, talking to us, communicating, giving us reminders,” said fullback Mike Robinson. “He was in total control.”
“He doesn’t let anything bother him,” said tight end Zach Miller. “He’s the same guy. He talks to the offense: ‘Let’s get going, start with this first play and get it going.’ Then he backs it up with how he plays.”
The dramatic comeback, Wilson said, was “what we’re all about.”