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January 11, 2014 at 8:04 PM

Russell Wilson: “We knew that was going to be a tough battle”

Here’s some of what Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had to say after 23-15 NFC Divisional Playoff win over the Saints today:

(On how the Saints defense was different from the previous game… )  That was a big game for us, and how we showed up and made plays when we needed to.  Marshawn Lynch had a tremendous game rushing the football.  Their defense made some plays.  Coming south, coming this direction toward our locker room, it was tough throwing the ball, so we knew we had to run the football and make some plays in that way.  Marshawn Lynch did a great job all day, the offensive line did a tremendous job.  Tight ends and receivers blocking for them.  That third down conversion, going toward the Hawks Nest to Doug Baldwin was unbelievable.  They brought Cover-Zero, we knew that they’d bring Cover-Zero in a big situation, probably.  We got max protected, checked to it, and Doug Baldwin had an unbelievable route and made a great catch on the sideline.

(On whether it was a similar play adjustment to the previous Saints game…)  Somewhat similar.  Different route, but same check, and we got max protected.  We planned for that just in case, got to it.  Told Marshawn to make sure he had his route, and then the receivers did a tremendous job of getting open and made a big-time play, man.  That third down was huge for us, and then Marshawn Lynch runs the ball in on that last run.  He scampers out to the left side and gets into the end zone.

(On their comfort with that particular route to Baldwin…)  We run multiple different routes in terms of that situation.  But, that was something that we had planned would be tough for them to defend, especially in that coverage, and Doug Baldwin did a tremendous job of getting outside release and making a big-time catch down the sideline

(On how the victory felt…)  It was a huge win for us.  We knew that was going to be a tough battle.  We knew that with the circumstances with the rain, how it was coming down, and the wind, more importantly, really, we knew that it was going to be a physical game.  We knew that it was going to be a battle to the very, very end.  We also knew they had a great coaching staff and a great quarterback in Drew Brees.  We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  The fashion that we won was pretty spectacular, and the fans were awesome once again.  The fact that we came down to the very, very end of the game is always exciting for us.  We look forward to the next opportunity.  It’s still a 1 and 0 mentality; we’re right there, right at the edge.  I think that to fine tune everything is the most important thing.  I thought we did a tremendous job today with the circumstances, but to fine tune how we can get better and how we capitalize that much more, whether we play the 49ers or the  Panthers, we’re excited about that opportunity.

(On the adjustments New Orleans made when Percy Harvin was on the field…)  When Percy Harvin was out on the field he was electric.  He made some awesome plays today.  His speed is unbelievable, you notice that.  They were trying to find ways to stop him, they were struggling with that.  He got knocked out (of the game), or whatever, on that last play.  Hopefully he’ll be all right, I’m sure he will.  In the second half, it was just one of those things.  In the third quarter, we were going against the win.  So, it was kind of tough, so we kind of played it conservative, kind of played it smart.  We had the lead, we wanted to make sure that we got to the fourth quarter without taking any huge risk.  In the fourth quarter, we knew that we would have to make a play and Doug Baldwin made that play for us.

(On the influence of the wind on the passing game…)  Wind is probably the worst factor you can have in terms of the throwing game.  You can probably see that with their game, too, until the fourth quarter.  Near the end of the game, the winds kind of started dying down a little bit.  But, we can’t make that an excuse. It’s one of those things that you look forward to it, and we know that we have to adjust to the situation that you have at hand.  That’s what great football teams do.  We were able to run the ball effectively, make big time plays through the running game.  Then, when we really needed a big pass, we made it, and we completed it, and we got the conversion.

(On whether this game showed the effectiveness of Seattle’s running game…)   You want to have a physical running game, you want to have a physical attack.  It all starts with the offensive line first of all.  They did a tremendous job of fitting up on their blocks, and Marshawn Lynch, just finding his holes and Robert Turbin had a great day today, too.  That one big run he had, if it didn’t get called back, that would have been huge for us.  You think about all of the things that we’re able to do.  I knew that this type of situation, this type of weather, it was going to be one of those days where I might have to run the ball a couple of times too, as well, and take advantage of that opportunity too.

(On what it’s like to have 2:40 left and the Saints get two offensive series…)  You know that you have a Hall of Fame quarterback on the other side and with 2 minutes and 40 seconds, it’s going to be tough sledding, and so the game’s never over.  It’s one of those things that the defense kept doing a great job of stopping and stopping.  Then, it was fourth down and five or whatever it was, and they make a big throw and make a big-time catch and they kick the onside kick, and they’re still down 8 points.  It’s one of those things that you hope it all works out and you trust what your defense has done all year and all game and they did a tremendous job of shutting it down.

(On the 24 yard reception to Baldwin, do you have the choice of making the check…)  That’s when you have the choice to make the check, and make sure that we get protected first.  We know it’s going to be one on one, and somebody has to make a play.  That third down situation, it was one of those things that I knew how the game was going that it was going to come down to that.  I knew it was going to come down to a big-time throw.  It was one of those things; I wasn’t my best all day.  I knew it was probably going to be that circumstances throughout the day.  I knew that I was going to have to make a big time throw and somebody was going to have to make a great catch, and Doug Baldwin was that guy making that great catch today.

(On how he throws the ball in the wind…)   Going that direction, we had the wind behind us, and I didn’t want to throw it too far or too hard, because I knew the wind was going to take the ball.  I just wanted to give him a chance to make the catch.  It ended up being right in the right spot, he made a great catch getting his knee down and getting a huge first down for us.

(On the troubles completing the slant passes…)  Just on me.  That’s something I can fix.  I’m not worried about it.  I’m looking forward to it next week.

(On Marshawn Lynch’s 31 yard touchdown run at the end…)  His vision, his footwork, his patience right there, that’s what you have to have, especially on that particular play.  To get the first down and then accelerate to the end zone.  That’s what makes him one of the best, if not the best, running back in the National Football League.

(On whether the Saints blitzed less often than the previous game…)  They didn’t do it as much this game.  The last game they brought tons of Cover-Zero and tons of blitzes.  This game, they knew, with the wind, they wanted to play it smart and conservative too, and just be smart with their defense, which I thought was a good decision.  I knew at the end of the game, that they were going to bring everybody.  It was one of those things, it’s just that’s the right call.  If I was a defensive coordinator, I’d make that call, too.  It put pressure on their defense, and they have to make a play.  Sure enough, we got protected.  We did everything we could to make sure that we snapped the ball on time and give the ball to Doug Baldwin and like I keep saying, he made a great catch.

(On whether the Saints’ Cover-Zeros were to stop the run…)  That last call, on their part, Cover-Zero, it’s one of those things where it’s to stop the run, but it’s also to put pressure on the quarterback and the receivers to make a play.  It’s going to be one on one.  With the circumstances, especially with the weather and all that, it’s going to be tough sledding.  Sure enough, we were able to complete it.  We had worked on that all week.  Coach Bevell and I had talked about it all week and all game, and it was like, hey, if we get a chance, let’s try to get to this.  We kept communicating.  That’s the biggest thing, the relationship that Coach Bevell and I have together, it’s something that we’ve really grown in that fashion.  Sure enough, that opportunity came up, and we capitalized on it.

(On whether the conditions prevented him from taking certain chances…)  There’s definitely certain circumstances where I have to be conservative throwing the football and making sure that I’m not taking any shots down the field, because it’s tough to throw it when the wind’s blowing that bad.  I’m never really worried about the rain, or anything like that, but when the wind is that severe, you have to be smart.  I thought we did a good job of being conservative in that fashion, but when we needed one and we had the wind to our backs, that really helped us, and we got a huge conversion.

(On the leaping catch for a first down by Percy Harvin…)  That was a big time catch.  Just giving him a shot, he beat his guy, he got over the top of his guy.  He just went up and attacked the football.  That’s the thing that he does, he’s been showing it all week; he’s been showing, when he’s been able to practice, all year, the things that he can do.  He’s so explosive.  It’s hard to keep up with a guy who can run that fast and is that quick and has that much ability.  You think about Percy Harvin, he was arguably an MVP candidate, if not the best player in the National Football League at one point.  We’re just trying to get him back.  He’s doing a great job.  He’s done a tremendous job in the locker room, he’s done a tremendous job in the locker room, everybody loves him.  We love what he’s all about, that hard work and everything.  Then, still spreading the ball out to everyone else.  Hopefully, we get him back next week.  We look forward to that if that’s the case.  He’s done a tremendous job, he did a great job in that first half for us.

(On playing in the NFC Championship game next week…)  To be in the NFC Championship game, it means a lot.  Obviously, it’s a testament of our hard work, the preparation as a whole.  With our defense, with our offense, with our special teams, with the coaching staff and the players.  All the things that we’ve done to prepare in the right way and the right fashion.  I think the thing for us is that we haven’t done anything yet.  That’s our goal, we have 60 minutes of football left.  I was talking to some of the guys in the locker room, I was talking to Coach Carroll, I was just kind of sitting there.  You have 60 minutes left of football, 60 minutes of your life, the best 60 minutes that you can possibly play, and then you play in the Super Bowl.  That’s pretty awesome to think about.  You have 120 until you win the  whole thing.  I think for us, we have to stay focused on that 60 minutes, and what we can do to get that opportunity and to play the best football that we can possibly play, come the NFC Championship game, whoever we play.

(On the sequence where the Seahawks were unable to score a touchdown from inside the 10 yard line…)   Down there tight, they made a couple of nice plays, made a couple nice tackles.  We weren’t able to get the ball in.  We almost had one on a scramble play, that would have been pretty sweet if we had caught that.  It’s just one of those things.  They made some great calls, and they made some good plays in terms of the run game.  We weren’t able to get it in there, but we were able to kick the field goal and make sure that we got those points.

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