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Shutdown Corner

Seahawks win, but will Russell Wilson ultimately hold them back?

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(Associated Press)

Russell Wilson led Seattle to one touchdown on Sunday. He also led Carolina to one touchdown, throwing an interception that was returned for a score.

Seattle won 16-12 at Carolina, but that was more because of a Herculean defensive effort than Wilson carrying the team to a victory.

Wilson has looked like most rookie quarterbacks not named Cam, RG3 or Luck. That shouldn't be a surprise, but coach Pete Carroll doesn't seem to mind. Carroll's stubbornness might end up keeping Seattle from reaching its vast potential.

[Also: Andrew Luck perseveres as Colts stun Packers]

That isn't a slight on Wilson, who should be a really good NFL quarterback someday. And he was effective in a relatively conservative game plan against Carolina, completing 19-of-25 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. Maybe that was a sign he's ready to become an above average option. But that performance came against a putrid Panthers defense (which was without two of its best defensive players in linebacker Jon Beason and cornerback Chris Gamble), and he still needs to progress from game manager to something a little more dynamic.

Seattle doesn't have any other glaring weaknesses. The defense is good against the run, can rush the quarterback very well and is fantastic on the perimeter. The Seahawks have a strong running game, with Marshawn Lynch proving his 2011 season wasn't a fluke. But there aren't many elite teams that have a quarterback learning as he goes. The Seahawks' win on Sunday to improve to 3-2 gives them a reason to put off having to critically evaluate if they're getting enough from Wilson. Before this week, Wilson had just four touchdowns to four interceptions and a 73.5 rating and his 5.9 yards per attempt was second worst among NFL starters to only Blaine Gabbert. Not good company to keep.

[Also: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III KO'd in loss to Falcons]

His mistake that Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned for a touchdown almost cost the Seahawks a game they dominated on defense:

Matt Flynn was signed in the offseason with the assumption he would be the starter. Flynn played very well in his two NFL starts with Green Bay. But he fell out of favor very quickly when Seattle's staff became enamored with its new toy.

If Seattle wants to be a Super Bowl team - and the Seahawks do have that upside - either Wilson needs to improve, or Carroll will have to look closely at his options, to allow his team its best shot at a special season.

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