FOXBOROUGH — With time winding down late in the first half and the Seahawks out of timeouts, Russell Wilson decided it was time to be Russell Wilson. He’d just completed a 12-yard pass down the middle of the field to running back C.J. Prosise, but instead of spiking the ball to stop the clock, Wilson took the snap and looked left. Sensing tight coverage, he spun around his right shoulder to avoid pressure before stepping up in the pocket. The quarterback then lofted a pass from across his body from the opposite hash to an open Doug Baldwin at the goal line.
In a game in which Wilson completed 25 of his 37 pass attempts for a season-high 348 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the Patriots, the touchdown pass wasn’t his prettiest throw. But it was one that Wilson, who has been dealing with a litany of lower body injuries all year, likely couldn’t have made earlier in the season.
“Russell looked really good tonight, he had a fantastic football game,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He moved around beautifully, and he looks like he’s just about back.”
The notoriously tough Wilson has played through a simultaneous ankle sprain and an MCL sprain for much of this season, limiting both his mobility and his arm power. On Sunday, though, he slung the ball all over the field. Seven Seahawks caught passes from Wilson, with five of those receivers averaging more than 12 yards per reception.
“It’s always good when your quarterback is starting to get healthy,” wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “We all know what he can do with his legs to extend plays, and that works out well for us.”
Wilson also completed 12 passes of 11 yards or more, including a 38-yard teardrop to Prosise down two early in the fourth quarter on third and 6. The pass, which split two Patriots defenders, couldn’t have been placed anywhere else.
“Our offense is so much more dangerous, because when he’s scrambling, he makes so many big throws when he’s outside the pocket,” Prosise said. “Moving forward, Russell being healthy is going to be huge for us.”
Wilson’s most important throw of the night came late in the fourth quarter. On third and 3 inside the red zone, Wilson lofted a rainbow over the shoulders of New England defensive backs Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan. The pass landed right in the hands of Baldwin for his third touchdown reception of the night, and the score proved to be the winning margin.
“Those were all huge plays that weren’t going to happen if he couldn’t move and throw and move,” Carroll said.
Sunday was just the second time this season that Wilson has thrown for more than 300 yards. In the past, he’s also been a threat to run, which hasn’t happened much in 2016. Wilson’s rookie season was the only year the fifth-year quarterback rushed for less than 500 yards.
But so far this season, he has ran for just 60 yards and is averaging less than 2 yards per carry. If his health continues to improve, Seattle’s offense will be rounding into form at just the right point in the season.
“From this point forward, we can loosen things up a little bit more with him,” Carroll said. “He just looks that much better, and he came out clean again today, we’re very fortunate for that. . . . We know how it works, it just hasn’t been the right package yet.”