RENTON, Wash. -- Late in the third quarter of last Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks called a bootleg with Russell Wilson that called for him to execute a play-fake and roll to his right.
If a receiver was open, Wilson could've pulled the trigger. But given the coverage, his best option was to take off.
Wilson started to accelerate just as linebacker Carl Bradford was closing in, and he couldn't escape. Bradford caught him from behind as Wilson threw the ball away.
Under normal circumstances, Wilson would have likely been able to turn the corner and pick up positive yards. The circumstances this season have been anything but normal, though. Wilson suffered three different injuries in the Seahawks' first six games. While the worst is behind him, it's clear that the sprained MCL (left knee) from Week 3 is still an issue.
"I don't know if he's 100 percent," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "He's probably not running 4.4 like he did when he was coming out of the combine, but obviously he still runs well enough to be able to do the things we need him to do."
Wilson has been playing with a knee brace since suffering the injury but said he's considering ditching it for Saturday's game against the Detroit Lions.
"I don't have to keep wearing it," Wilson said. "I'm contemplating what we're going to do here."
Asked what the Seahawks' medical staff has advised, Wilson added, "My leg is good. I think it's just more a safety thing. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad or necessarily have to or anything like that."
The Seahawks had never finished worse than seventh in rushing efficiency during Wilson's first four years in the league. This season, they were 23rd, and Wilson ran for a career-low 259 yards.
He has made fewer improvisational plays, and the bootlegs and play-action passes that require movement have been less effective.
Even with all that, the Seahawks know that their best chance to go on a run is if Wilson gets hot and picks opponents apart from the pocket.
"I think it's really been amazing how he's played," Bevell said. "He's done such a good job in terms of the things he's had to fight through. There's probably been more adversity for him this year than any other year. Early, with the ankle, then boom, he gets the knee. Then there's that whole period in there where he's really toughing it out and becoming a different player.
"His style had to be different, so he really had to change the way he played, and we changed around him to help him. Then he's starting to become himself again. I think he's done a great job of making those adjustments, of fighting through the things and learning."
Wilson completed 64.7 percent of his passes and averaged 7.73 yards per attempt during the regular season while throwing 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The Seahawks talk often about controlling what they can control. And Wilson has done everything he can to stay on the field this season. He has still never missed a game in his career.
Wilson was asked if he ever thinks about his knee when he's on the field.
"Not at all, never," he said. "I wouldn't be out there if I thought that way. I never play scared, that's just now how I think."
This team enters the postseason as a flawed unit. Earl Thomas has been sorely missed on the defense. The offensive line remains a question mark, and the run game has been inconsistent.
Even though he's not fully healthy, Wilson remains the Seahawks' best hope for making some noise in the postseason.
"The way I always think about the playoffs, it's the same game. Just a lot more flashing lights," Wilson said.
"We look forward to these moments."