Seahawks come up big in NFC blowout

HONOLULU — Throughout his ascent to Pro Bowl quarterback, Seattle’s Russell Wilson has had to answer questions at every level about his height.

Teammate Earl Thomas, who at 5-foot-10 is listed as an inch smaller than Wilson, had his own take on the matter.

“Me and him got the advantage because we’re short,” said Thomas, playing in his second Pro Bowl on Sunday.

“I just creep and get low and they kind of lose me and I get the interception and with him he’ll duck under people and receivers will run open and boom, touchdown.”

The two combined for a monster third quarter that left the AFC in the rear-view mirror in a 62-35 victory for the NFC at Aloha Stadium.

Thomas intercepted a Matt Schaub pass on the second play of the half and Wilson threw touchdown passes on the NFC’s first three drives to build a 52-21 lead.

Wilson played the entire second half and spent most of the fourth quarter either handing the ball off or taking a knee as he finished 8-for-10 for 98 yards and the game-high three TD passes.

“He’s a beast,” said Thomas, one of six Seahawks in the game. “That’s all you can say.”

All six made an impact on the game, beginning with Max Unger and Russell Okung, who started on the offensive line for an NFC team that racked up 478 yards of total offense.

Return specialist Leon Washington had a 92-yard kickoff return that led to a Wilson touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald, and running back Marshawn Lynch scored on a 1-yard TD run late in the first half.

The NFC scored 14 points in the final 1:41 of the first half that led to the eventual blowout.

“Marshawn and I were talking about how hard Earl goes and how hard he competes all of the time,” said Wilson, one of two rookie quarterbacks who played. “All of us Seahawks compete pretty hard and that’s Coach (Pete) Carroll and what he instills in us.”

Wilson used his feet on each of his first two touchdown passes, eluding two defensive linemen as he rolled out to his left before finding Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin for a 28-yard touchdown.

After a 13-yard run set up fourth down, Wilson ducked under an oncoming rusher and bought himself time to allow Larry Fitzgerald to get wide open in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard score.

Unger, who started all 16 games at center for the Seahawks, said it mirrored a regular season in which Wilson threw for 26 touchdowns and ran for four more, finishing with a QB rating of 100.0.

“Hey man, he keeps making plays and I guess my standards aren’t supposed to be lowered one bit just because we’re playing against the best,” Unger said.

The first local high school alumnus selected to the Pro Bowl since Olin Kreutz in 2007, the Hawaii Preparatory Academy grad from Hawaii island said he wanted no part in any trick plays involving him holding a football.

“Not going to happen, buddy,” Unger said.

He’ll leave that to his quarterback.