Russell Wilson's five-TD performance lifts Seahawks over Steelers

SEATTLE -- On his 27th birthday, Russell Wilson put the Seattle Seahawks on his back and helped carry them to a 39-30 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was clear early the team's defense was going to have a tough time slowing down Ben Roethlisberger, Wilson answered the call, completing 21 of 30 passes for 345 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

With the Seahawks facing a key third down late, Wilson dropped back and found wide receiver Doug Baldwin on a crossing route. Baldwin broke a tackle, delivered a stiff arm and raced 80 yards to the end zone to put the game away.

Wilson has been under the microscope all season, but he entered Sunday's game as the only quarterback in the NFL to rank in the top five in completion percentage and yards per attempt. With running back Marshawn Lynch sidelined and tight end Jimmy Graham leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, Wilson delivered time and again in one of his best performances as a pro.

Roethlisberger was brilliant, completing 36 of 55 passes for 456 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. But Wilson led the Seahawks to touchdowns on three straight drives to put the game away. According to the TV broadcast, it was the first time in his career that Seattle won a game when the opponent scored 25 points or more.

Wilson has caught fire in the past two games, completing 41 of 55 passes for 466 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Seahawks are now 6-5 and in position to make a playoff run. The identity of the team is different than in years past. Lynch will be out for a few more weeks, and the defense is more vulnerable to high-powered passing attacks.

But if Wilson plays like he did against the Steelers, the Seahawks have a chance to make some noise.

What were they thinking: This one goes to the Steelers for their decision to have Landry Jones try a trick play on fourth-and-2 in the first half. Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane intercepted the pass and set up a Seahawks touchdown.

One reason to get excited: There's no doubt that Wilson is going to be asked to do more than ever down the stretch, but he looks capable of rising to the occasion. The Seahawks have a tough matchup next week at Minnesota, but they have winnable games against the Ravens, Browns and Rams still on the schedule.

One reason to panic: The defense looks vulnerable against high-powered passing attacks. Roethlisberger picked them apart for big plays all game long. The good news for the Seahawks is they don't face a top-level quarterback until the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. But the defense has plenty to tighten up.

Fantasy watch: Running back Thomas Rawls did not have a monster game, but he was productive, carrying 21 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. Rawls will carry the load in the coming weeks and should continue to be a weapon down the stretch.

Injuries: Graham suffered a right knee injury in the fourth quarter. It was later announced Graham suffered a torn patellar tendon. He is out for the season. Fullback Will Tukuafu and defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs left the game with concussions. Cornerback Marcus Burley departed with an ankle injury.

Did you notice: That cornerback Cary Williams was a healthy scratch? Williams had started the first 10 games of the season, but he was benched during last week's win over the San Francisco 49ers. Things got even worse this week with Williams not even dressing. DeShawn Shead started in his place on the outside, and it's fair to wonder what Williams' future holds with the Seahawks.