SEATTLE — After just 2½ quarters, Russell Wilson traded his helmet for a baseball cap. The Seattle Seahawks’ domination of Jacksonville went as everyone expected.
Wilson matched his career high with four touchdown passes — two each to Sidney Rice and Zach Miller — and the Seahawks overwhelmed the Jaguars 45-17 on Sunday. Seattle improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, beginning a stretch of four straight games against the AFC South.
The Seahawks came in as 19-point favorites and never gave Jacksonville (0-3) a chance. Seattle jumped ahead 17-0 early in the second quarter. Wilson connected with Miller twice in the first 16 minutes on TDs of 1 and 4 yards. He hit Rice for an 11-yard TD late in the first half and found him again on a 23-yarder early in the third quarter.
Wilson checked out with 3:54 left in the third and finished 14 of 21 for 202 yards. The four TD passes matched his performance last December in a win over San Francisco.
For the first time this season, the offense showed the potency that made the Seahawks so dangerous at the end of 2012. It was a concern for coach Pete Carroll this week to clean up penalties and find some rhythm.
Wilson wasn’t perfect. He was sacked by Johnathan Cyprien and fumbled in the first half and made the mistake of throwing across his body and was intercepted at his 11 in the third quarter. But it was a far better performance overall by Seattle’s offense than in the first two weeks.
And Seattle’s defense remains arguably the best in the league.
The Seahawks forced Jacksonville into three turnovers. They sacked Jacksonville Chad Henne four times, and Maurice Jones-Drew, playing with an injured ankle, was limited to 43 yards on 19 carries.
Jacksonville spent the first quarter in negative total yardage and didn’t crack the 100-yard mark until 8:30 left in the third quarter. Until Paul Posluszny’s interception in the third quarter, the Jaguars highlight was Bryan Anger’s punt that went out at the Seattle 2. The Jaguars found the end zone for the second time this season when Jones-Drew scored on a 2-yard run following Posluszny’s interception. Josh Scobee also hit a 33-yard field goal as Jacksonville reached double figures for the first time this season.
Henne finished 18 of 38 for 235 yards.
Miller’s first TD came on Seattle’s second possession when Wilson duped the entire stadium with a perfect play-action fake for the 1-yard TD. Wilson found Miller early in the second quarter when he pirouetted away from the pass rush for a 14-0 lead.
Jacksonville ran its first offensive play on Seattle’s half of the field after Wilson fumbled. Jacksonville took over at the Seattle 44 and got down to the 18. That’s when Henne’s underneath pass for Jones-Drew deflected off the helmet of center Brad Meester and Bobby Wagner made a juggling, diving interception with 44 seconds left in the half.
Instead of sitting on the lead Wilson found Golden Tate twice, hit Rice for 23 yards and scrambled for another 10. Wilson then capped the half with a dart to Rice for an 11-yard TD, finishing off a drive that covered 79 yards in just 34 seconds.
Seattle pushed the lead to 31-0 early when Wilson scrambled and threw for Rice, who made a quick adjustment to haul in the 23-yard TD. It was Rice’s second two-TD game with Seattle.