BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 01/29/2014

Bevell confident SB isn’t too big for Wilson

Russell Wilson of the Seahawks was somewhat rattled in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game against San Francisco and now takes his game to football’s biggest stage.

Russell Wilson, handing off to Marshawn Lynch in the NFC title game, has a chance to become the third-youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Russell Wilson’s two-year tenure as quarterback of the Seahawks is the unflappable manner in which he has gone about his business. While Wilson has said often that he refuses to let his emotions get the better of him, regardless of circumstance, he seemed to get the jitters in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game.

Seattle’s offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, confirmed that was the case prior to the Seahawks’ departure for New York/New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. Asked if Wilson finally displayed “nerves,” Bevell, in a roundabout way, said yes.

“There was definitely something,” Bevell said. “When you look at him or you talk to him, I don’t know if it was nerves, but obviously we didn’t function well in those situations. We fumbled on fourth-and one, and then we fumbled another snap, then we came out the wrong way.

“There were a number of things late in the last 10-15 plays where we didn’t function as well as we needed to. I’m not putting it all on him because there were other things going on, but we’re still talking about a second-year player and that’s the first time he has been in that situation.”

Wilson controlled his emotions enough that he was able to thread a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse that provided the Seahawks with the winning points in a 23-17 victory over the 49ers.

The question is whether Wilson can avoid the creeps when he assumes football’s largest stage. As Bevell said, Wilson has done a lot of remarkable things, but he’s still a second-year player who will be 25 years, 65 days old on Super Sunday. No telling how he’ll react to the pressure. But if Wilson wins, he will become the third-youngest starting quarterback to claim an NFL title.

Year SB Quarterback Team Age SB Result
2005 XL Ben Roethlisberger Pitt 23 yrs, 240 days Def. Seattle 21-10
2001 XXXVI Tom Brady NE 24 yrs, 184 days Def. St. Louis 20-17
1968 III Joe Namath NYJ 25 yrs, 226 days Def. Baltimore 16-7
1981 XVI Joe Montama SF 25 yrs, 227 days Def. Cincinnati 26-21

Of the four, only Namath, winner of Super Bowl III, did not go on to claim multiple Super Bowl titles, Montana ultimately quarterbacking four, Brady three and Roethlisberger two, the first (following the 2005 season) at Seattle’s expense. Montana and Namath are already in the Hall of Fame and Brady and Roethlisberger will be one day.

On Sunday, Wilson becomes the sixth member of an elite club of quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl in his first or second year in the NFL. Three of the five who did it came away Super Bowl winners while two, Dan Marino following the 1984 season and Colin Kaepernick last year, did not.

Year SB Quarterback W/L Performance
1984 XIX Dan Marino L 318 yards, 2 INTs in 38-16 loss to 49ers
1999 XXXIV Kurt Warner W 414 yards, 2 TDs in 23-16 win over Titans
2001 XXXVI Tom Brady W 145 yards, 1 TD in 20-17 win over Rams
2005 XL Ben Roethlisberger W Ran for TD in 21-10 win over Seahawks
2012 XLVII Colin Kaepernick L 302 yards, 1 TD in 34-31 loss to Ravens
2013 XLVIII Russell Wilson TBD 26 TDs, 101.2 rating in second season

The question was put to Bevell: “Is there a game that’s too big for Russell Wilson?” Bevell’s response marked the first time that hesitation crept into an answer from a Seattle coach about the Seahawks quarterback.

“I think we need to keep that in mind,” he said. “We’re working with a second-year player. He’s fabulous in everything that we’ve asked him to do. He does a great job of managing all of the situations, and he’s come up big in just about every one of those for us.

“We don’t want to push the limit and push it over and ask him to do too much and have that show up in his play or anything. We haven’t done that. I don’t know if you could do that to him because he is so well prepared and he puts so much pressure on himself to do the right things all of the time. But he’s showed up big in all of the situations for us.”

But make no mistake: The next situation is different.

 


YourThoughts

  • Huskydwj

    This is a fair question to ask but Russell will be fine. I predict that he’s going to continue to make plays, exploit weaknesses in Denver’s defense and may be the more talked about QB after the game. Last year he surprised everyone and this year teams have adjusted, attempting to contain him. I think the containment from teams that were more capable threw him off a bit. But now that he’s seen it, he’s more prepared. Remember, he goes through all sorts of scenarios in his preparation. I believe he’ll be ready to play one hell of a game. GO RUSSELL and GO HAWKS!!!

  • oldfan

    Wilson is the least of my worries going into this game. His confidence and determination has been apparent since his first preseason game.
    Great as his win/loss record is, I’m more impressed with the fact that the Hawks have never been out of a game with him in command. Their worst loss was by seven. Even when he’s not played well he’s found a way to make plays to get us back into the ballgame.
    He carried this team when the O-line was beat up in the middle of the season, he lead them without his top two receivers in the second half.
    No matter what happens early, if he’s healthy we’ll be in it a the end.

  • RadioGuy

    I agree with oldfan. Russ has had TWO weeks to prepare for an (at best) mediocre Denver defense. While he’s not an open-heart surgeon on the field like Peyton Manning, you know he’s in the film room so much he should have his mail forwarded there. This is a guy who comes prepared for the team he’ll be seeing across the line. The Broncos will try to contain him in the pocket because that’s been a fairly effective strategy the second half of the season, but Russ usually doesn’t try to play outside himself. He’ll be fine.

  • jafabian

    What I love about this team is that they’ve been ready for since the moment they lost to the Falcons. I agree with what Sherman said about that game: the Seahawks won that game, the score simply didn’t reflect it. This team has been incredibly focused I don’t believe Denver can overcome it. This is the matchup that should have been in the Superbowl last season.

    With Wilson, Lynch, Harvin and a healthy defense I have no worries. Except for maybe do I have enough bleu chese dip for the buffalo wings on Sunday?

    • oldfan

      Got to agree. This team’s been planning and working to be here since five minute after the Atlanta game. All I see is a confident and loose bunch of guys.
      It must be infectious because I feel the same way.