Seattle Seahawks (9-5) Quarterback Russell Wilson continued his exceptional play Sunday afternoon as he led the Seattle Seahawks to a playoff clinching 30 to 13 victory over the Cleveland Browns (3-11) in front of 69,002 fans at Century Link Field. Wilson threw three touchdown passes, two to Doug Baldwin for six and three yards in the first half and the third to Tyler Lockett for 27 yards in the fourth to complete the record setting performance. Wilson completed 21 of 30 passes for 249 yards and became the first quarterback with three of more TD passes and no interceptions in five straight games in NFL history.
Baldwins two TD catches earned him a place in the NFL record book as he joined Jerry Rice as the only other wider receiver to have 10 touchdowns catches in a four-game span in the same season. While Rice caught his ten TD passes from both Joe Montana and Steve Young during the 1987 season, Baldwins ten were from Russell Wilson. Baldwins season tally of 13 TD catches ties him with Daryl Turner(1985) for most TD catches in a season.
The superb performance by Wilson overshadowed the play of Cleveland Rookie Quarterback Johnn Manziel who started the game by leading the Browns to a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ended with 7-yard TD pass to TE Gary Barnidge. After the wake up call, the Seattle defense held Manziel and the Browns offense to just two field goals the rest of the afternoon. Manziel completed 9 of 32 for 161 yards and was intercepted by Marcus Burley.
For Seattle the win showed that the team can run the ball despite the loss of starting running backs, Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. Lynch had abdominal surgery on Nov 25th and is expected to return sometime before the season ends, while Rawls is done for the season after suffering a broken left ankle in last weeks 35 to 6 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Seattle finished Sundays game with 182 rushing yards with Christine Michael leading the pack with 84 yards on 16 carries. Seahawks head Coach Peter Carroll was pleased with his teams running game.
“I was hoping that it was going to look like that and that we would be able to do it,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said of his team’s day running the football. “Russell did a nice job with a couple carries to add to it, but all in all we were able to maintain the kind of rhythm that we want by having the running game.”
“I thought that Christine did a nice job and Bryce did a nice job pounding the football at it and it’s kind of like we’re starting over with the guys and we’ll just keep going and take it a day at a time and see what happens next week.”
The Seahawks will host the St. Louis Rams (6-8) on December 27th then travel to Arizona(12-2) to close out the regular season. Arizona clinched the NFC West title with Sunday nights 40-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles (6-8). Seattle is assured one of the two wild-card playoff spots as the No. 5 or No. 6 seed. This will be the fourth consecutive year the Seahawks have reached the postseason and fifth appearance in six season under head coach Pete Carroll.