SEATTLE — Once Peyton Manning had completed a frantic fourth-quarter rally to force overtime, Russell Wilson could admit to being a little selfish.
Wilson wanted the spotlight himself — to put together one final drive, keeping Manning sitting on the sideline as a spectator and making sure the Super Bowl rematch went in favor of the champions.
“I can’t wait for those moments, those big-time moments and have guys to continue to believe in what we do,” Wilson said. “That was a great experience tonight.”
Wilson kept Manning and the Denver Broncos from seeing the ball in overtime. He led Seattle on an 80-yard drive on the first possession of the extra session, capped by Marshawn Lynch’s 6-yard touchdown run for a 26-20 victory over the Broncos on Sunday.
The Super Bowl rematch lived up to the billing of what everyone expected in February and never transpired. The 43-8 blowout by Seattle (2-1) was replaced this time by Denver (2-1) rallying from a 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime by going 80 yards against the best defense in the NFL in the final minute of regulation.
And then Wilson upstaged Manning. After nearly getting sacked for a safety and throwing an interception in the fourth quarter, Wilson was brilliant in overtime rushing for 21 yards and completing four of six passes.
Lynch went the final 6 yards for the win.
“I don’t think anyone ever doubts Russell. He’s just too good,” Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. “If you think he’s struggling at all, you know he’s going to make plays like he did with his feet. He was so huge there in that second half and overtime. You always trust in him.”
After being hesitant to run in regulation, Wilson scrambled for first downs in overtime. His 7-yard pass to Percy Harvin was the precursor to Lynch’s TD run and a collective exhale after Manning’s dramatics in the fourth quarter.
Wilson finished 24 of 34 for 258 yards and touchdown passes of 39 yards to Ricardo Lockette and 5 yards to Lynch, both late in the first half. Wilson rushed for 40 yards, most coming in overtime, while Lynch added 88 yards rushing.
“That really was a championship game today,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle (2-1) blew a 17-3 fourth-quarter lead, watching Denver tie the game at 20 on Manning’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Tamme with 18 seconds left in regulation and his 2-point conversion pass to Demaryius Thomas.
Manning’s rally was helped by a number of Seahawks mistakes in the fourth quarter, including a safety and Wilson’s first interception of the season. Manning was 31 of 49 for 303 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw a costly fourth-quarter interception.
Denver appeared done after Kam Chancellor intercepted Manning at the Seattle 13 with 2:25 left, leading to Steven Hauschka’s 28-yard field goal with 59 seconds remaining. But Manning pulled Denver even with stunning precision, going 80 yards in just 41 seconds and without any timeouts capped by Tamme getting behind K.J. Wright in coverage for a touchdown with 18 seconds left. Thomas was able to drag both feet on the 2-point conversion to tie it at 20.
“Against this team, you can’t make mistakes like that, because it puts you in a hole that’s hard to overcome,” Manning said. “We almost overcame them, but didn’t quite do it today.”
Seattle was able to withstand Manning’s rally because of its defense earlier in the game. Between Brandon McManus’ field goal late in the first quarter and the start of the fourth, Denver ran one offensive play in Seattle territory. Seattle outgained Denver 237-84 in the second and third quarters combined.
But for a team that emphasizes their performance in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks failed Seattle to put the Broncos away. The first mistake was Wilson taking a sack at his 1 by DeMarcus Ware and barely avoiding a safety. Lynch was gang tackled in the end zone on the next play, cutting the deficit to 17-5 with 13:07 left.
Wilson was then intercepted with 11:02 left at the Seattle 32 by Chris Harris Jr., on a pass deflected by Aqib Talib. Harris returned it to the Seattle 19 and Manning got the Broncos in the end zone on a 2-yard shovel pass to Julius Thomas with 9:20 remaining to cut the deficit to 17-12.
And even when Chancellor seemed to solidify the win with Manning’s first interception in 173 regular-season attempts, the Seahawks couldn’t stop Denver in the final minute.
All those mistakes were forgotten thanks to Wilson.
“I knew once we received the ball (in overtime), it was over with,” Wright said.