One of the most dangerous weapons that an NFL football team can possess on offense is a mobile quarterback. On Monday against the Seattle Seahawks, the Washington Redskins certainly felt the effect of such a threat.
Capable of making an impact by both running and passing the football, Russell Wilson sstole the spotlight in front of a national television audience in Landover, Md., on Monday night., leading the Seattle Seahawks to a 27-17 victory.
Wilson finished his night with 11 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go along with 201 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-24 passing.
"Russell is a hell of a player," head coach Jay Gruden said after the game. "He kept a lot of plays alive. He's won a lot of games for them because that. He's a heck of a player."
Throughout the night, Seattle made it a point to keep in the ball hands of their signal caller. Rolling him out either side on a bootleg or letting him make a decision on the read option, play after play relied on the eyes and mind of Wilson.
"That is a difficult thing," Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "You are trying to read the mess and you really can't tell who has the ball. He did a good job -- it was almost like he wasn't even reading, it was almost like it was designed keeps the way he was hitting the edges."
By the end of the first quarter, Seattle's quarterback repeatedly had burned the Redskins with his feet. On five carries, he had gained 80 yards and added a touchdown in the second quarter as the defending Super Bowl champs took a 17-7 lead into the half.
Coming out of the break, however, the Redskins defense responded. By making adjustments at halftime, the home steak stuck around, shutting down Wilson and Seattle's potentially-explosive offense.
"We just kind of just tried to play the bootlegs a little bit better," said Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who finished Monday's game with five tackles and a sack. "I mean, that is where he was really effective early in the game was on those keepers."
Holding Wilson to just 33 yards rushing on five attempts and 70 yards passing in the second half, the Redskins defense rebounded in the second half to keep the game close.
But while the defense held Wilson in check for much of the second half, he showed he had just one more trick up his sleeve with 2:33 left in the game.
With a seven-point lead and staring down a 3rd and 4 Wilson made the play of the game to all but seal Washington's fate. After rolling to his left, pressure by Kerrigan forced him to back peddle before sliding back to his right. As Redskins' defenders closed in, Wilson flipped a pass into the arms of Marhsawn Lynch, who took it 30 yards to set up Steven Hauschka's game-sealing field goal.
For Seattle, it was repeated plays like that from their quarterback that proved to be the difference Monday night.
"He just did a good job at making plays," Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker said. "Russell just did a hell of a job keeping the ball instead of handing the ball and he just made plays. At the end of the day, he just made plays. He made more plays than we did."
As the Redskins prepared for their Monday Night Football opponent, much of the focus and chatter was on Lynch and the challenge that he posed. After limiting the powerful runner to just 72 yards on 17 carries, it's clear that Wilson was the driving force behind the Seahawks' victory.
While the Redskins' defense was able to make the adjustments to limit Wilson in the second half, he did just enough to come out with the win.
"He was a special player tonight," Kerrigan said. "I don't think it was anything we were really doing poorly, I mean the guy is just a football player and was making some really great plays."