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Sunday night wrap-up: Wilson showing his maturity

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Playing professional baseball is not a guaranteed predictor of success for NFL quarterbacks, or Chris Weinke would have been to many Pro Bowls.

But there’s something about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson that make it obvious that he learned from baseball, even if he didn’t succeed at it.

He was a hit on the football field Sunday night, leading an efficient 42-13 thrashing of the 49ers to clinch a playoff berth. Wilson completed 15-of-21 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception.

To watch him, you’d wonder if he had ever been bad at anything. But he had plenty of experience during his time on the diamond.

In his final year in the minors, he struck out 82 times in 236 plate appearances, hitting a meager .228. But there’s a quality about his game now that shows he learned the lesson from baseball, namely the perpetual quality of the game. You swing, you miss, you come back the next day, you take another hack.

Wilson’s not being asked to do the things other quarterbacks are doing. But over the course of this season, you can tell Wilson is learning more and more, getting better in small increments.

That sounds obvious, but it’s a process that takes incredible maturity in a sport where quarterbacks are conditioned to success, and often not used to ever having failed when they get to the NFL.

Wilson has struggled. He’s pushed through. And the Seahawks are enjoying the lessons learned now.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. There are folks who prefer head coaches with a defensive background, because at a philosophical level, defensive coaches are problem solvers while offensive coaches are problem creators.

In the case of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, the former quarterback made things more difficult on himself than they had to be.

Running back Frank Gore had five carries for 10 yards in the first half. The first number is far more important than the second. Any plan built to play the Seahawks defense in the rain in their own stadium that only features five attempts by one of the league’s top backs was a bad plan.

It’s just football. It doesn’t have to be that hard.

2. That said, it’s getting harder and harder for defensive players to know what they’re supposed to do.

Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver on the play that knocked 49ers tight end Vernon Davis out of the game with a concussion.

Chancellor hit Davis in the chest. With his shoulder pads. Hard.

The flag is doubtless a result of an “err on the side of caution,” approach by the refs, which they’ve been told to employ in the name of player safety.

But those rules were incorrectly applied this time, and Chancellor was flagged because his hit was too good, and sounded too big.

3. There are more exciting open-field running backs than Marshawn Lynch.

But I am not sure how many I’d prefer if I had to have a short-yardage conversion.

Lynch is one of the most efficient backs in the league, because he truly believes the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Whether there are opponents in that path matters not.

4. Overreacting to the 49ers loss this week will be as wrong as overreacting to last week’s win over the Patriots.

Though they were thrashed soundly, they’re still a dangerous team. But last week’s win, after which many were ready to crown them, featured many troubling signs (like quarterback Colin Kaepernick playing a little loose with the ball, and not fielding snaps cleanly).

The injuries to Davis and wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee) limited and could continue to limit their offense, and for a quarterback who is still learning on the fly, and doesn’t have much to draw on, it’s a hard spot to be in.

5. Any suggestion that 49ers pass-rusher Aldon Smith (19.5 sacks this season, none this week) should have been considered for defensive player of the year honors went out the window the moment defensive tackle Justin Smith left the field last week with an elbow injury, and was confirmed against the Seahawks.

They ran straight at him, and the vacancy Justin Smith left.

Aldon Smith is still very talented, and has to be game-planned for. But without his bodyguard, he’s not nearly as effective.

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60 Responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: Wilson showing his maturity”
  1. oaktown49er says: Dec 23, 2012 11:33 PM

    I give credit to the Hawks tonight. The Niners were flat (they have been every 3rd game this year). I never thought this would be an easy game. I hope J.Smith and V. Davis are good to go for the playoffs because they are a big part of what the Niners do. 49ers and Seahawks split the season series and next week will decide the division. Props to the Hawks they played great tonight. Win or horrible loss I always bleed red and look forward to watching both these teams in the playoffs.

  2. belgaron says: Dec 23, 2012 11:36 PM

    Seahawks win and the nation cheers.

  3. bayafan says: Dec 23, 2012 11:38 PM

    At least the niners are playing consistent. Win two then put up a stinker.

  4. seacab1972 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:38 PM

    Guess who is going to have the Rookie TD record next week. That is right #3 Wilson.

  5. bangithard says: Dec 23, 2012 11:38 PM

    They are who we thought they are

  6. scouter2012 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:40 PM

    And this rivalry just gets better! Seahawks are very dangerous right now.

  7. dkrauss93 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:40 PM

    People have to start treating the Seahawks as Super Bowl contenders. There is no weak spots on this team and I am pulling for them and Washington.

  8. dabears212 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:42 PM

    I knew russell wilson was good, but the only game i’ve seen him in was in the less-than-impressive packers game.

    So i figured, hey, what’s the hype about him.

    Well, I found out today.

  9. rlr79 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:43 PM

    Wow, Seattle might have both offensive (Wilson) and defensive (Wagner) POY, and could have the best team right now. Every one criticized Seattle for getting PC, but like him or hate him he knows how to find and maximize talent.

  10. football4youth says: Dec 23, 2012 11:43 PM

    Nice job by Seahawks, Wilson played well.49ers still in first. Learning experience for Kap. Hawks tough at home but won’t play any playoffs there.Niners still have chance for first round bye.We still need a big play receiver to be true Super Bowl contender

  11. mulehead70 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:43 PM

    What now, haters? They played a “real team” and not only won, but scored 42 points in the process.

    Are the Seahawks still just an “average” team? LOL

    Wait, wait…let me guess, Pete Carroll cheated somehow! LMFAO!

    Go ‘Hawks!!!

  12. daknight93 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:44 PM

    Congrats to seahawks, 49ers just hit a mild speed bump tonite and I do expect them to bounce back and be ready for playoffs.

  13. themackstrong says: Dec 23, 2012 11:47 PM

    Great article, Kam Chancellor was getting fined for big hits last year. They were clean hit just monsterous collisions, without doubt hardest hitting player in NFL. I do hope Davis is OK. Richard Sherman is the best CB in football and Earl Thomas is top 3 with Troy & Ed. Legion of Boom baby. Wilson hit everybody for 3rd down conversations and TD’s. He is money in the Red Zone and with that defense I only expect good things from this team as they grow. RW Rookie of The Year. Go Hawks

  14. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 23, 2012 11:47 PM

    49ers are FRAUDS I tell ya.
    Ole Kaep will lose the big game for them and Hardblow will have no one but the guy in the mirror to blame.

    Add the injuries to Manningham and Davis as well as numerous defensive player injuries and it’s beginning to look-a-lot-like-Christmas! ;)

  15. number1hawkfan says: Dec 23, 2012 11:48 PM

    I won’t overreact to what happened tonight but a couple things that are true. The Seahawks are young and exciting to watch. The bad call against Green Bay wasn’t their fault… If anyone in Green Bay has any thoughts of welcoming a redemption game against Seattle in the playoffs, beware of what you wish for. Anyone who draws the hawks in the playoffs will have to be a little scared.

  16. leroysbutler says: Dec 23, 2012 11:48 PM

    Wilson is a winner. He’s special.

  17. savannahrose44 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:51 PM

    “Chancellor hit Davis in the chest. With his shoulder pads. Hard.”

    If they fine Chancellor for that hit they might as well shut down the NFL altogether. That was a perfect hit according to the guidelines of the NFL.

  18. jeffesky says: Dec 23, 2012 11:52 PM

    Kap got rattled where smith has won here. concerning going into the platoffs. hawks are gona be around a while and wilson is dangerous.

  19. snargi01 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:53 PM

    It’s tough to get a run game started when you’re down by 14 half way through the 1st quarter.

  20. beastmode5150 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:55 PM

    Happy hawks fan here who respects the HELL out of the niners, except your dbag coach. That being said, the hawks are a better team, and the niners want nothing to do with them in the playoffs.

  21. trollhammer20 says: Dec 24, 2012 12:03 AM

    Long-time ‘Hawk fan here, since the days of Patera, Zorn, and Largent.

    When this year started, I thought that this team would contend for a playoff spot, but I thought that they were a year away.

    I was wrong.

    The naysayers will say that we can’t win on the road. The same people who said we couldn’t beat the Patriots (especially when down 13 with 10 minutes to play), couldn’t win in Chicago, and that Harbaugh owns Carroll.

    Anyone.

    Anywhere.

    Anytime.

    This team is ready.

  22. chawk12thman says: Dec 24, 2012 12:34 AM

    If SF and GB Lose and Hawks win next week; Seattle has #2 seed and bye week………Likely won’t happen, but it would be sweet.

    Go Hawks!

  23. niners4life says: Dec 24, 2012 12:34 AM

    I see the Hawks going to Green Bay and getting stomped! You won’t have your aderall addicted corners to help you.

  24. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Dec 24, 2012 12:34 AM

    Dear Seattle. Beat a solid team on the road in the playoffs. Until then – you’re a little boy whistling in the dark

  25. mrobinson14 says: Dec 24, 2012 12:41 AM

    So the browns picked a baseball player… Just the wrong one…

  26. mrlynch33 says: Dec 24, 2012 12:44 AM

    Give credit to the ‘Hawks…they straight up dominated. As a Niners fan I’m happy to see the NFC West be relevant again. I am still one of the ones who thinks Alex should be starting and Kaep should start next year….but what do I know I’m just a fan. Niners really need to get Walker the ball more the dude could take soooo much pressure off Davis. More two TE sets and throw the ball Walker’s way eventually the D will have to compensate.

  27. skins23 says: Dec 24, 2012 12:44 AM

    Wilson would be a deserving ROTY winner. He’s a great player and has led that team.

    I think if the Skins win next week it may go to RG3, but either guy would be deserving.

    Luck should not be in the conversation.

  28. bert1913 says: Dec 24, 2012 12:50 AM

    Russell Wilson is getting better every week. If you get a chance, listen to him give an interview. He sounds like a 5 year vet when he speaks, this translates to the way he plays the game.

  29. 49ersgiants4life says: Dec 24, 2012 12:54 AM

    Such a hard game to watch for me the 49ers just got beat down by the hottest team in football right now I don’t think anybody could of beat the Seahawks tonight those guys were balling I love the way their team plays defense is my favorite part of the game and the Seahawks have a hard hitting physical defense that I love if Kam chanchler gets fined I won’t know what to think about the NFL that hit was beautiful

  30. badintent says: Dec 24, 2012 12:54 AM

    Dree Brees wants an explanation

  31. edge661 says: Dec 24, 2012 1:00 AM

    I give sea credit, but there a different team on the road

  32. jerjaxon says: Dec 24, 2012 1:03 AM

    …On Sports Center…

    “Seahawks destroy the nationaly recognized #1 SF 49ers. And now, stay tuned for sh*tty east coast teams highlights”

  33. 1sportschica says: Dec 24, 2012 1:08 AM

    I enjoyed every minute of Harbaugh’s discomfort.

  34. 4thqtrsaint says: Dec 24, 2012 1:13 AM

    I may have been the only non Seahawks fan to pick them to win their division before preseason. I’m proud of that fact, even if they don’t win it.

    But, I’m also the homer that predicted 12-4 for the Saints, so I’m obviously not related to Nostradamus.

  35. commonsensedude says: Dec 24, 2012 1:13 AM

    I’m a ‘Skins fan and have been critical of the Seahawks due to their win over Green Bay at the hands of the fake refs. But, I have to give credit where credit is due. Wilson looks and plays like a maniac. Looking at him play, you would never even think there was a possibility that he’s a rookie. Seattle is a dangerous team and I don’t think any other team in the league is looking forward to playing them – and especially not playing them in Seattle. Respect.

  36. kingcrusher says: Dec 24, 2012 1:22 AM

    I love my 9ers, but hate our coach. I’m glad to see this happen to him after his wonderful QB decision.
    Can’t wait for him to lose in the first round of the playoffs, and then see Alex succeed somewhere else. I like Kap, but it’s just not his time. Everyone’s so high on him for all the wrong reasons. He’s mobile and has a rocket arm. But I would have much rather had Smith in there. I felt safe with Smith. Kap increases the need for the D to step up even further.
    Fantastic game by the Hawks tonight, seeing our coach get destroyed brought a smile to my face.

  37. bigtganks says: Dec 24, 2012 1:25 AM

    Take note Cam Newton… This is how you act.

  38. redstar504 says: Dec 24, 2012 1:29 AM

    Congrats to the Hawks for yet another impressive win but even more so congratulations to the NFC West. People have been dogging that division for years (wrongly) for being one of the worst in sports. It isn’t and never really was.

    I enjoy watching the Seattle/San Francisco rivalry just as much as watching my Saints take on the Falcons.

    The NFC West, even when wins were scarce, has always been a hard hitting buckle your chinstrap type division. Even the Rams and Cards feature good defenses.

    That said I am blown away by Seattle’s ability to bring the wood on defense and at the same time rack up the points they have. I truly think the Seahawks are the team to fear right now coming out of the NFC.

    I know my team will miss out this year thanks to Lord Minister Imperial Emperor Roger Godell but I truly hope one of you be it the 49ers or Seahawks make it here to New Orleans. Just do me this favor on your way here please thrash the Falcons for me! I can’t stomach the idea of them getting to play for a championship in the Superdome.

  39. bnwpnw says: Dec 24, 2012 2:09 AM

    Do not adjust your set. It was in fact that loud at CenturyLink tonight. No other NFL game day experience even comes close.

  40. seahawkfan4evr says: Dec 24, 2012 2:22 AM

    All I want for Christmas is a Seattle vs Green Bay playoff game
    GOSEAHAWKS!!!

  41. 617mrbean says: Dec 24, 2012 2:30 AM

    We’ll see what happens to the Seahawks when Richard Sherman get suspended during their playoff run

  42. seahawksbmx says: Dec 24, 2012 2:33 AM

    3elieve.

  43. norcalseahawkfan says: Dec 24, 2012 3:18 AM

    arrogant niners owned

  44. dstep24 says: Dec 24, 2012 3:30 AM

    The better Quarterback won.
    The better Running Back won.
    The better Cornerback won.
    The better Defense won.
    The better TEAM won.

    Get used to it Niner fans.

    And please….please don’t infer that Alex Smith would’ve won you this game.

    Your QB was exposed, having finally played against an elite secondary.

  45. osoviejo says: Dec 24, 2012 4:49 AM

    All week long, the snarky pundits and fanboys repeatedly sneered “Well, the Seahawks sure aren’t going to hang 50 on the Niners.”

    As it turns out, the snarky pundits and fanboys were right.

  46. superseahawk says: Dec 24, 2012 5:09 AM

    oaktown49er

    It’s nice to hear a fan of a rival team have a good sense decorum. I’m starting to read less and less of the comments on this site because of the childishness and hatred people exhibit here. There needs to be more people like you. A good community makes a website infinitely better and the chuckleheads here are starting to ruin it.

  47. jsab99 says: Dec 24, 2012 5:49 AM

    I feel that Russell Wilson is just as good as RG3,Luck and any other QB drafted in 2012. I also believe that the 49ers can be beaten on any given Sunday and will not make it into the Superbowl.

  48. sactown9er916 says: Dec 24, 2012 6:04 AM

    Listen,

    I love the 9ers. I’ve loved em since ’88 at the age of 9. I’ve always rolled with em. My dudes know I was bangin fools on Madden with Tim Rattay, Kevin Barlow n tha truck stick…I aint no bandwagoner n I always rep S.F… Im jus sayin, I feel like im qualified to say….

    We got banged on. Pure and simple. Wilson looks great. They’re D was pumped. 11/12 in 3rd dwn conv. Fa real? He was like a lil Mighty Mouse out there. My boys comin off playin 90+ snaps last week was not gonna catch em. Good stuff Seattle hope ta see you again… Except at the ‘Stick!!

  49. rangersleadtheway says: Dec 24, 2012 6:55 AM

    Once again, 7pints is strangely quiet. See you in full force when the 9ers win another game…

  50. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 24, 2012 8:30 AM

    Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth spent a lot of time during the game talking about that Fail Mary game way back on September 24. I think that will forever taint the Seahawks 2012 season.

  51. 6thsense79 says: Dec 24, 2012 8:55 AM

    I really think the league should incur fines every time an official wrongly calls a penalty because he was instructed to err on the side of caution. It seems the only people with any skin in the game are the defensive players. Offensive players aren’t penalized for lowering there heads and causing helmet to helmet collisions, officials aren’t penalizes for wrongly calling a penalty, and the league incurs no penalty at all for instructing officials to basically hand out unjust penalties if they’re not sure of the call. I think the league should be fined heavily for violating the integrity of the game every time an official makes a wrong call. In essence the league is saying defensive players should be able to make split second decisions to avoid head to head hits that officiala can’t even accurately judge in real time. If it’s so cut and dry why are they telling officials to err on caution?

    People may not remember this but when these fines fitsy started flags were getting thrown for clearly egregious helmet to helmet hits. Now it’s evolved to a point where any type of ticky tack helmet to helmet hits are flagged AND hits like last night where no helmet to helmet hit are flagged. This is pure silliness.

  52. droopyyydog1 says: Dec 24, 2012 9:08 AM

    Guess this means Mel Kiper will be retiring after he said Wilson would be a nice back up but not a starter in this league. It was the best part of the draft, with Gruden getting hot because he knew Kiper was full of it and he was / is a dope.

    Teams better fear the Hawk’s come playoff time, especially if they have to go to Seattle.

  53. censoredagain says: Dec 24, 2012 9:09 AM

    Sadly, when talk of ROTY comes up, Wilson’s name won’t get a second thought, even though he has outplayed the 2 hype machines, Luck and Bob, in some areas. Hype wins every time

  54. steelers4385 says: Dec 24, 2012 9:51 AM

    Packers are more than psst about that game earlier this year. If they meet in playoffs ill give the edge to packers only cause of how mad they would be.

  55. jeffesky says: Dec 24, 2012 10:07 AM

    even better hawk nation,,,STEELERS are out of the playoffs,,,,haha,,,MERRY XMAS 12TH MAN!!!!pete and john have done an amazing job!

  56. Christopher R. Mattix says: Dec 24, 2012 10:22 AM

    Seahawks are built for the long term. Most of their top players (Wilson, Lynch, Sherman, E. Thomas, Okung, Unger, Wagner, Irvin, etc.) are under 26 years old. PC is building the USC West, I guess.
    People need to start giving them credit this year, before they start efficiently destroying teams in the playoffs in January.
    Next year? Well, let’s wait for the next draft by John Schneider and then talk.
    Go Hawks!

  57. sixjak says: Dec 24, 2012 10:33 AM

    savannahrose44 says:
    Dec 23, 2012 11:51 PM
    “Chancellor hit Davis in the chest. With his shoulder pads. Hard.”

    If they fine Chancellor for that hit they might as well shut down the NFL altogether. That was a perfect hit according to the guidelines of the NFL.

    ________________

    Don’t hold your breath. They fined Goldson last week on his monster clean hit against Patriots’ TE last week.

    9erfan giving props to SEA who came to play last night. A word of advice though SEA fans: any given Sunday what happened last night to the 9ers is going to happen to SEA. They’ll enter the game nicked up have a few players go down, have an inopportune TO and suffer a blowout. I know, 3 great games in a row. The hawks are hot, no doubt and at the right time. Good luck and enjoy the win. A win against any team in the NFL is no small feat. Just ask the Giants and Texans.

  58. CKL says: Dec 24, 2012 11:37 AM

    Man I love watching great defense. Seattle beat my team when Seattle wasn’t even close to their peak either. There’s no doubt in my mind that the NFC’s best is better than the AFC’s best this year.

    Russell Wilson is the type of player I can’t help rooting for. He’s what I love about the NFL. Longshot type guy who has talent but “something wrong with him” that leads to his not being drafted high, and he proves everyone wrong. On top of that, he’s a high character guy. What’s not to love?

  59. jprcox says: Dec 24, 2012 11:43 AM

    Everyone that mentioned the GB/Sea game as if the 1 single call at the end was what defermined the game need to go look at the PI call on the last GB scoring drive – it didn’t exist, and it was 3rd and long. I am just saying that WHOLE game was ref’d bad – can’t just call 1 play since because it happened to be the last.

    I am so sick of hearing about that GB game – but glad so many people see Seattle is for real.

  60. pandapeep says: Dec 24, 2012 10:39 PM

    Thank you for mentioning this about Aldon Smith. As a Broncos fan I got so tired of hearing that Smith should have won the DROTY award last year and was flabbergasted he was in the DPOY conversation this year.

    He is a talented player, sure, but he does one thing well and that is it. J.J. Watt and Von Miller are complete football players who play at a high level on nearly every facet of defensive football.

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