SEATTLE — Another week, another record for Russell Wilson.
And thanks to his five touchdown passes Sunday to overcome a near collapse by his defense, another nail-biting win for the 3-0 Seattle Seahawks, who beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-31 at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle prevailed when defensive back Ryan Neal — elevated from the practice squad Saturday — picked off Dak Prescott in the end zone with six seconds left.
Wilson now has 14 touchdown passes this season, breaking the record Patrick Mahomes set in 2018 for the most in NFL history through a team’s first three games. He also became the fifth player in league history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three straight games, joining Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Mahomes and Drew Brees.
|— ESPN Stats & Information|
“He’s just on it,” coach Pete Carroll said. “You’re watching a great football player do what he does best. I’m just really excited about what happens next time we go out.”
With how poor the Seahawks’ pass defense has been this season — and with All-Pro safety Jamal Adams joining a growing list of injured starters on that side of the ball — the team might need Wilson to keep up that scorching pace.
Seattle allowed Dallas to storm back from a 30-15 deficit early in the third quarter and take a 31-30 lead with just over four minutes left. Wilson then capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive by hitting DK Metcalf for his fifth touchdown of the game.
That extended Wilson’s NFL lead in game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, giving him 33 (including playoffs) since he entered the league in 2012.
Entering Sunday, Wilson’s 82.5% completion rate was the highest through two games of a season in NFL history for a quarterback who has attempted at least 40 passes, according to Elias Sports Bureau data. He finished 27-of-40 for 315 yards and no interceptions against Dallas.
Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes to Tyler Lockett, one to Jacob Hollister in the third quarter and one to Metcalf, who would have had two had it not been for a gaffe early in the game. He beat Trevon Diggs for what was about to be a 63-yard touchdown but slowed up before crossing the goal line and casually held the ball untucked in his right hand, exposing it long enough for Diggs to poke it out for a touchback.
Carroll called it a “terrible play” by Metcalf and said he wasn’t surprised that the second-year receiver bounced back with the eventual game winner.
“There’s no excuse for it,” Wilson said. “He knows that. He wants to be the best in the world. And the good thing about him is he’ll never do it again and he’ll be ready the next opportunity that comes to him. He’s like a little brother to me. We’re so close. I told him, I said, ‘Listen, there’s another opportunity. When it comes your way, you’re going to make the play.’ Just speaking life into it; just knowing that something great’s going to happen.
“Sure enough, he makes the game-winning touchdown, which worked out for us.”
Metcalf finished with 110 yards on four catches and now has a touchdown in each of Seattle’s first three games. Lockett caught nine passes for 100 yards and now has four touchdown catches on the season. The biggest of Greg Olsen’s five catches was an 11-yarder to convert fourth-and-3 on Seattle’s final drive. Fellow tight end Hollister caught the 2-point try after Metcalf’s touchdown.
Seattle allowed the Cowboys to convert on 7 of 15 third-down tries on their way to 522 yards of total offense, with most of the damage coming through the air. Dallas got 472 passing yards from Prescott on 37 of 57 passing. All three of his touchdowns were deep strikes: 42 and 40 yards to Cedrick Wilson and 43 yards to Michael Gallup.
Shaquill Griffin had the first of Prescott’s two interceptions but was beat deep on one Dallas touchdown drive. Fellow cornerback Tre Flowers, starting opposite Griffin in place of Quinton Dunbar (knee), had a rough day of his own. He was in position to redeem himself but let a sure interception bounce off his chest in the fourth quarter, extending a drive that resulted in Dallas’ go-ahead field goal.
The Seahawks defense has allowed at least 450 yards in three straight games for the first time in franchise history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“It’s not something that I’m accustomed to,” a dejected Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said during a postgame news conference. “It’s not something that I’m going to be accustomed to. We’ll make the changes.”
To potentially make matters worse, Adams limped off the field in the fourth quarter after suffering what Carroll called a groin strain. Carroll said rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks and running back Chris Carson suffered knee sprains and rookie right guard Damien Lewis sprained his ankle. Carroll said X-rays on Lewis’ ankle were negative. Center Ethan Pocic and left guard Mike Iupati both finished the game despite knee injuries.
Brooks, Seattle’s first-round pick, made his first career start Sunday because Bruce Irvin suffered a season-ending ACL injury last week against the New England Patriots. Seattle also lost nickelback Marquise Blair to the same injury in that game, which the Seahawks won when they stopped Cam Newton at the 1-yard line on the final play.
White-knuckle victories like the ones the Seahawks have pulled off in their past two games are becoming their norm. Ten of their 11 regular-season wins last year were by eight points or fewer, which tied the NFL record for most one-score wins in a season, according to Elias.
“What’s great about our club in that situation is the mentality,” Carroll said. “And it starts with me, but it filters through all of the coaches and the players and fortunately Russell is on our team, and Russell’s brain just will not accept anything but coming through and finishing a win, and finding a way to do that. It’s all in there. It’s kind of almost embedded in us now, that we just keep on hanging, and keep clawing and scratching and trying to do things right longer than the other guys and finish these games. I know it’s terrible for the fans, they’re all tearing their hair out and all that, but I always tell you, you got to suck it up. That’s the way it is. This is the way we do it. I know this sounds kind of sick, but I kind of like it like that.”
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