Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Braylon Edwards (17) dives for the ball while covered by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Jalil Brown (30) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. Officials ruled an incomplete pass on the play. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There was no comparison in Seattle’s quarterback competition this week.
At least not in the game Friday as Russell Wilson stood out for the Seahawks while Matt Flynn did not play because of soreness in his elbow.
The exhibition game against Kansas City turned out to be a no contest, as well, with Seattle winning 44-14 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Russell, the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback, looked as good against the opponent’s starters as he had the previous two weeks when he was facing reserves.
“He didn’t do anything he hadn’t been doing,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He just continues to show poise and the composure of a guy well beyond three games old.”
Wilson threw downfield, completing a 32-yard pass to Braylon Edwards in the first half and a 40-yarder to Terrell Owens in the second. He ran downfield, gaining 58 yards on his only two rushes of the game. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, rendering the Chiefs into little more than a speed bump.
Seattle is three-quarters of the way through its exhibition schedule, and the question is no longer whether Carroll would really start a rookie chosen in the third round, but how he wouldn’t choose Wilson as his starter.
So how about it coach, is it time to say that this is Wilson’s job to lose?
“Nope,” Carroll said. “You can try, but we’ll go to next week and figure it out. I’ll let you know later.”
Wilson was hardly the only highlight of this game.
Free safety Earl Thomas returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter as the Seahawks’ first-string defense scored for the second time this month, which equals the number of touchdowns it has allowed. Golden Tate returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown later in the period, giving Seattle the most points in any exhibition game since 1997.
But the biggest question in this game was how Wilson would measure up when facing an opponent’s starters. His quarterback rating of 134.8 spoke for itself.
“He’s just very impressive,” Edwards said. “You never want to use the term surprising because I didn’t know necessarily what to expect, but he’s just very impressive to watch. He’s a rookie, but he conducts the offense like a veteran.”
The rookie even showed a little bit of moxie, hurrying up the offense in the second quarter, and calling a quick snap on a play-action pass to a wide-open Kellen Winslow for Seattle’s first touchdown.
Flynn had started the first two exhibition games, but Carroll announced Tuesday his intention to start Wilson. Flynn was expected to play in the second half, but after sitting out practice Wednesday, his elbow remained sore when he warmed up before the game Friday, and he couldn’t play.
Wilson played into the third quarter before being replaced by Tarvaris Jackson. Josh Portis finished the game for Seattle at quarterback.
Wilson has led 12 scoring drives in the 18 possessions he has played in Seattle’s three exhibition games. He has thrown for five touchdowns, run for another, and he is responsible for three of Seattle’s four longest runs from scrimmage.
The most impressive thing about Wilson’s start was just how similar it looked to the way he played the past two weeks while facing reserves.
“It didn’t feel any different,” Wilson said. “One hundred yards is a hundred yards. It’s kind of one of those things where you just get out there and play ball, and just trust in what you’ve been preparing to do.”