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The Play: Russell Wilson’s ‘Houdini act’ helps bury Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles as Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) and outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) pursue during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Has anyone checked to see if Russell Wilson is actually human?

Really.

Every team facing the Seattle Seahawks knows of Wilson’s propensity to extend plays with his legs, and either running for big chunks of yardage or buying enough time to find an open receiver who has slithered away from his defender while he’s dodging pressure.

While the Cardinals did a pretty good job of keeping Wilson in check for most of the game, the sixth-year veteran pulled out a play for the ages in a 22-16 win Thursday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Leading 15-10 and facing a 2nd-and-22 from his own 44-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Seattle dialed up a pass play where the quarterback would take a designed roll out to his left. As Wilson looked downfield, Arizona defenders Chandler Jones and Tyrann Mathieu pursued.

Wilson spun not once, but twice away from pressure, retreated back to the 27-yard line (17 yards behind the line of scrimmage) and threw a pass near the sideline that looked like it may have been an attempt to throw the ball away. Instead, Doug Baldwin made a leaping catch over Antoine Bethea, who fell down on the play. Undaunted, the wide receiver took off down the sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Cardinals’ 2-yard line by Budda Baker.

The Seahawks scored on the next play when Wilson hit tight end Jimmy Graham on a 2-yard touchdown pass to make it a 12-point lead, which may as well have been 100 points for the offensively-challenged Cardinals to come back from.

“Obviously, Russell Wilson made a great play when he was trying to throw it out of bounds, and that was probably the deciding factor in the game,” Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said.

At one point during the play, on which Wilson scrambled for over nine seconds, NBC play-by-play broadcaster Mike Tirico said “cue the circus music.”

While the Cardinals were obviously frustrated by the play that went a long way toward beating them, it was hard not to be impressed.

“We put him right in the position we wanted him and he just made a great play,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “You can’t draw that one up. That, right there, was just a great play.

“You can’t do nothing else — nothing. You just have to get him on the ground — that’s it. And we weren’t able to get him on the ground in that moment, and he made a play that will probably go down in history.”

It was just the latest in an ever-growing highlight reel for the former third-round pick.

“That’s what makes him special,” defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said. “You can’t take anything away from him on that play and what he did. That’s what Russell does and that’s why he’s one of the best in the game and we’ve got to make a play on him. We tried our best and that was the result.”

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