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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Russell Wilson stays steady, avoids mistakes in helping lead Seahawks to title

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As he basked in winning his first Super Bowl title, Russell Wilson thought back to all the times he was overlooked.

Whether it was when Wilson was coming out of high school, when he was told he didn't have a place anymore at North Carolina State or when he was entering the NFL and was deemed too short, all those times of being slighted came rushing back.

"For me I wanted to go against the odds," Wilson said.

It made it that much sweeter for Wilson to play as well as he did in Seattle's 43-8 win over Denver on Sunday night. Wilson was the undercard all week to the attention being placed on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. He was even overlooked on his own team with the focus so much on cornerback Richard Sherman and running back Marshawn Lynch.

But Wilson was the one who came out ahead on Sunday. His numbers weren't flashy but he did exactly what Pete Carroll asked. He was efficient. He didn't make mistakes. And he led Seattle to its first title.

"The team was totally focused on getting this done and it played out the way we wanted it to play," Carroll said. "All phases contributed. It was not really even a question in their mind that we wouldn't perform like this. We didn't ask them to do things that we don't always do and they trusted that."

Wilson completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another 26 yards. Wilson missed on his first pass of the game, airmailing wide open tight end Zach Miller. But that was the only point where it appeared Wilson was caught up in the experience.

He played with poise and confidence. Wilson had three offensive possessions in the first half and led Seattle to points on all three. Seattle punted only one time in the game and did all that with Marshawn Lynch running for only 39 yards.

The lack of a run game didn't matter with how Wilson played.

"He's a baller. He had two weeks to prepare for these guys," Seattle receiver Golden Tate said. "His surrounding cast is awesome. His offensive line did their job. Marshawn ran the ball. (Robert) Turin ran the ball. Receivers came up big."

Wilson was aggressive throwing downfield after struggling with that aspect of the pass game late in the regular season and in the playoffs. Wilson had four completions of more than 19 yards, includling a 37-yard throw to Doug Baldwin in the first quarter and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse.

"For everybody who said we were mediocre, not the main dish, we came up big," Tate said. "Three of our four (receivers) scored touchdowns. Eat your words because we balled."

In the immediate aftermath, Wilson thought back to a players' meeting before the season when he presented the question, why couldn't this version of the Seahawks be the first in franchise history to win the Super Bowl? It was never a stated goal, but it fit with Carroll's championship mantra.

"It's emotional to think about all the guys, the great players that have played before us," Wilson said. "That was our thing. We wanted to say, 'Why not us?' We believed that. It was real for us.

"I knew that we were here for a reason."

____

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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