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Russell Wilson leaves offseason drama in the offseason with brilliant Sunday

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Well, at least one quarterback with offseason drama had a decent day Sunday.

If there’s lingering resentment between Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, both sides kept it well concealed on Sunday in a thorough 28-16 dismantling of the Colts.

Wilson finished the day with 254 yards passing and four touchdowns, the most spectacular of which was a backbreaker of a bomb to Tyler Lockett, a 69-yard pass just before halftime that put Seattle ahead 21-10 and effectively squelched the Colts’ hopes.

After the game, a beaming Wilson paid particular tribute to Shane Waldron, his new offensive coordinator, a sign that maybe, just maybe, bygones are bygones.

“The chemistry between Shane and I was great,” he said. “It’s been great all offseason. We spent a lot of time working on the game and working on what we want to do … We’re all working together. It’s a beautiful thing.”

It’s quite the turnaround from earlier this year, when Wilson and the Seahawks spent weeks with blades out. After the way the first couple months of this year ran, the fact that Wilson is in a Seattle uniform at all is a mild shock; the fact that he’s all nothing-but-love with his leadership is a bigger one.

Between the twin sagas of Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers, the Wilson story faded into the background of the offseason. But it wasn’t all that long ago — like, March — that Wilson and the Seahawks appeared headed toward an ugly public spat, if not an outright divorce. Disputes over the direction of the offense and the weight of Wilson’s voice reportedly boiled over in Week 11 last year, and the spat turned outright ugly after the season ended with a first-round playoff exit.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks seem much happier with each other than they were just a few months ago. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks seem much happier with each other than they were just a few months ago. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Wilson apparently spent time at the Super Bowl seething about how much protection Tom Brady got in the pocket, and carried his frustration with his offensive line protection through to the media the next day.

“That’s a big thing that we gotta fix, that’s gotta be fixed,” he told the Dan Patrick Show. Later in the day on a media conference call, he added, “I’m frustrated with getting hit too much.” For the normally buttoned-down, cliche-dealing Wilson, this was the equivalent of standing on the roof of his car during Mardi Gras.

The Seahawks responded by “accidentally” leaving Wilson out of their single-spaced, six-paragraph letter to season ticket holders, and leaked that they were taking calls on Wilson’s availability. Teams like the Raiders, Saints, Dolphins and Jets could have used Wilson, though the terms of Wilson’s contract would have crippled the Seahawks for a season or more.

Everybody calmed the hell down after that, recognizing that they were stuck with one another. The Rodgers leakfest and the Watson legal proceedings captured the rest of the offseason QB headlines, and Wilson and the Seahawks smiled for the cameras.

The heart of the issue between Wilson and the team is a difference in offensive philosophy. Wilson, understandably, is of the “Let Russ cook” school — turn him loose and let him create, the way he always seems to whenever the pocket breaks down. Pete Carroll, on the other hand, has increased the run half of the pass:run ratio, in part because of Wilson’s tendency toward turnovers — 13 interceptions last year, most of his career, as well as four lost fumbles.

The Seahawks were dead last in league-wide passing attempts in 2018 and second in rush attempts, a balance that’s only slightly tilted more toward the pass in the last two seasons. Last year, Seattle was 17th in pass attempts and 19th in rush attempts.

Seattle’s play-calling mix in the Indianapolis game left the Seahawks 28th in the league in pass attempts and 12th in rushing attempts, but that’s deceptive on both counts. Wilson hit on 18 of his 23 attempts, including four touchdowns, and his 152.3 passer rating is second only to Matthew Stafford so far. The Seahawks also spent more than half the game at least two possessions ahead of Indianapolis, so clock management played a role.

"Russell played fantastic football [Sunday]," Carroll said. "He got terrific help from the guys catching the football, and the pass protection was really solid as well." 

Carroll also praised Waldron ... and stepped on a rhetorical rake along the way. "He and Russ were just cooking," he said, then paused, realizing what he just said. "Sorry I said that. Can you scratch that? Doggone it ... I don't think I said that one time last year."

Wilson suffered two sacks for a total of eight yards and seven hurries, but still made sure to throw a little love to his oft-maligned line — “It all starts with the offensive line,” he said, “and they did a great job tonight.”

Seattle’s first-half schedule leaves no room for breathing: against Tennessee, at Minnesota, at San Francisco, a Thursday night game at home against the Rams, at Pittsburgh, and against New Orleans before Jacksonville comes to town. That’s rough, and Green Bay and a second tour of the NFC West lurk in the second half of the season.

It’s one game, yes, but there’s much for Wilson and the Seahawks to appreciate, both in the past and the present.

“We’ve done a lot of great things,” Wilson said. “We can’t take that for granted. We’ve done some really really special things over the years.”

The Seahawks are now set up to add a few more “special things” to the Wilson legacy. That’s quite the turnaround from earlier this year.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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