Wilson's 5 TDs lift Seahawks by Steelers
SEATTLE (AP) After spending the first half of the season hearing about their late-game failures, the Seattle Seahawks once again controlled the fourth quarter.
And no one had more ownership on Sunday than Russell Wilson.
”That was a lot of fun. It can’t get any more fun,” Wilson said.
Wilson threw a career-high five touchdown passes, including two TDs to Doug Baldwin in the final 8:12, and the Seahawks held on for a wild 39-30 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wilson threw three touchdowns to Baldwin, including an 80-yard catch-and-run score with 2:01 left after Pittsburgh had trimmed Seattle’s lead to 32-30.
Baldwin caught a crossing route on third-and-10 at the 20, broke two tackles and raced for the clinching score. Baldwin also had a 16-yard TD catch in the first half and caught a 30-yard TD midway through the fourth quarter after Pittsburgh had taken a 27-26 lead.
In all five of its losses this season, Seattle held a fourth-quarter lead at some point. Except there was no crumbling on Sunday, no wondering who was going to make the critical play.
Instead, the list was lengthy of everyone who came through late for the Seahawks (6-5), from Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor grabbing interceptions in the fourth quarter, to the touchdown catches of Jermaine Kearse and Baldwin.
Even rookie Tyler Lockett received praise for his hustle downfield to block on Baldwin’s late TD that gave Seattle a nine-point lead.
But most of the credit falls to Wilson for one of the finest regular-season performances of his career. He was 21 of 30 passing for 345 yards, Wilson’s most in a regular-season game, topped only by a playoff performance at Atlanta in his rookie season. He finished with a 147.9 passer rating and was 7 of 9 for 164 yards and three TDs in the fourth quarter.
The performance came on Wilson’s 27th birthday and started early when he awoke at the team hotel feeling ill. He needed three IVs to make it through the wild game.
The reward for Wilson’s effort was finally getting Seattle above the .500 mark for the first time this season and keeping the Seahawks in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt.
”It’s kind of an unorthodox way to play and win the football game, but that’s what we had to do today,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle won for the first time in Wilson’s career when the opponent scored more than 24 points and the Seahawks needed every point with how Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger picked apart Seattle’s defense.
Visiting Seattle for the first time in his career, Roethlisberger ignored the noise of the ”12th Man” and put together the best passing performance ever against the Seahawks. He threw for 456 yards, topping the 455 of Philip Rivers in 2010, but that wasn’t enough for Pittsburgh (6-5), which had its two-game win streak snapped.
Roethlisberger was pulled with 2 minutes left and taken to the locker room for concussion protocol. Coach Mike Tomlin provided no update after the game.
Roethlisberger was intercepted twice, including Richard Sherman’s first of the season, and Landry Jones’ attempt at a late rally ended on Chancellor’s pick at the Seattle 6 with 1:37 left.
Antonio Brown was hounded by Sherman most of the game so Markus Wheaton became the beneficiary with nine catches for 201 yards, just the second wide receiver to top 200 yards receiving against the Seahawks.
Brown finished with six catches for 51 yards, but the Steelers couldn’t overcome four turnovers.
”We were going to take what they gave us,” Tomlin said. ”Obviously we had some success throwing the football.”
The downside for Seattle was the loss of tight end Jimmy Graham for the season to a patellar tendon injury in his right knee that will require surgery.
Graham landed awkwardly as he attempted to reach behind him and catch a pass from Wilson in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Graham immediately signaled for trainers and was in significant discomfort on the ground. Trainers placed an air cast on Graham’s right leg and he was taken off the field on a cart.
But Seattle’s offense didn’t miss a beat. Wilson hit on his final six pass attempts of the game, three of them for touchdowns.
”It’s about finishing the game and we did that today,” Kearse said.
NOTES: Seattle CB Cary Williams was a healthy scratch and replaced in the starting lineup by DeShawn Shead. Williams was benched in the second half last week and had started 81 straight games. … Wheaton had never had a 100-yard receiving game in his career. … Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier, Seattle DL Demarcus Dobbs and FB Will Tukuafu all left the game with concussions.
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