SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks were trailing the Indianapolis Colts 15-10 in the third quarter Sunday night when Russell Wilson dropped back to pass, pulled the ball down and raced 23 yards to the end zone. He took a hard hit before crossing the goal line for what eventually would be ruled the go-ahead touchdown.
The mobility and toughness he showed on that play were vintage Wilson.
The celebration that followed was not.
Wilson sprang up off the turf and gave an emphatic, running fist pump before slapping several teammates' helmets. It was a rare display of emotion for the usually stoic quarterback, and it didn't even matter that officials initially had ruled him down shy of the goal line. Wilson was too fired up to care.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin, a heart-on-his-sleeve type of player, approved.
"That’s the Russell that we like," Baldwin said. "Don’t get me wrong: He’s always cool, calm and collected. But guys want to see that passion from him."
Officials awarded Wilson a touchdown after a challenge by coach Pete Carroll. Wilson and Baldwin then hooked up for a two-point conversion that gave the Seahawks a three-point lead. The Colts tied the game with a field goal later in the third quarter, but Seattle pulled away with 28 unanswered points.
Baldwin didn't hesitate when asked if he could remember the last time Wilson got as animated as he did on that touchdown run.
"Yup. Rams game, I think it was three years ago at St. Louis. It was another long run on the sideline," Baldwin said, referring to a 52-yard Wilson run in Week 7 of that season. "He got up and was energetic and excited about it. That was the last time I’ve seen him like that."
That Baldwin could so easily recall that moment illustrates how rare it is for Wilson to show that type of emotion.
So what brought it out of him again Sunday night?
Maybe it was how Seattle's offense had struggled to that point, scoring only three points and giving away two via a safety. Perhaps it was the hard hit that Wilson took to his midsection from Colts cornerback Darius Butler before diving toward the goal line with the ball in his outstretched right arm.
"He’s a tough competitor," Carroll said. "He likes to be able to show that. He doesn’t get many chances to do that. He’s always running out of bounds and taking care of himself. That one, he went for it at the right time, and he did it beautifully.”
Said Wilson: “I think that as a competitor there’s moments where certain things get you going and also get the team going as well. The line did a great job. I was able to scamper out and get up the field and really hit it and get north. When you see the end zone, sometimes you have to find a way to get in there and the guys made some crucial blocks and everything.
“Then it was kind of one-on-one and I had to find a way to get in there and be physical and try to stretch out for it. I knew I was in. I felt like I kept my legs up above the ground and got the ball in there. That energy is what we need."
Wilson threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts in addition to his rushing score, his first since November of last season. He was picked off twice, both on throws intended for Jimmy Graham, including one that went through the tight end's hands. Carroll said Graham could have done more to prevent the other interception.
For the most part, Wilson was sharper than he has been in recent games while completing 21 of 26 passes for an 80.8 percent completion rate that was tied for the second best of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"I really liked his play," Carroll said. "I thought he was really decisive and on it. I thought from start to finish, he was much more connected than he was the last couple of weeks, or two of the last three weeks. His starts weren’t quite as efficient. I thought he was much better in this one, even though it didn’t show. I liked the way he was playing.”
And Baldwin liked Wilson's uncharacteristic show of emotion.
"I really think if you asked me what was the spark, him taking off on that long run and then getting up and celebrating the way he did," Baldwin said, "that gave a lot of juice to the rest of the team."