Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett saw their game-changing play coming

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Russell Wilson dropped back, slid to his left to buy time and threw deep down the right side of the field to Tyler Lockett, who had gotten open behind the defense.

Just like the Seattle Seahawks drew it up?

Not exactly.

But the 43-yard Wilson-to-Baldwin hookup that set up their game-winning field goal Sunday against the Carolina Panthers didn't come entirely out of nowhere. It was during a walk-through earlier in the week that Lockett went off-script in a similar way, a moment Wilson revealed after the Seahawks' 30-27 victory.

"The funny thing is, in walk-through, I'm trying to be on the details and there was a play where he was out there on the right and he kind of did that same kind of thing," Wilson said. "He kind of stuttered and went, but it wasn't necessarily the play. He said, 'Hey, I'm just kind of working on something in case we need it.' Funny thing is, we needed it and it worked."

Lockett ran a 10-yard curl, then turned back upfield when he noticed that no deep defender was there. The play took Seattle from its own 47 to Carolina's 10. Two kneel-downs and a spike later, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 31-yarder to give the Seahawks their most impressive win of the season.

It's another example of the familiarity that Wilson and Lockett have developed in their fourth season together. Any quarterback and receiver need that, of course, but it's different with the Seahawks because of Wilson's propensity to scramble and extend plays. They need to be on the same page not just for when things go as planned but also for all those times when they don't.

It's among the reasons why Lockett is having his best season. He had a team-high 107 receiving yards Sunday and another touchdown to give him a career-best eight in 11 games. It's been needed production with No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin nursing one injury after another, including a sore groin that had his status questionable heading into this game.

"He's been spectacular all year," Wilson said of Lockett. "It's been fun playing with him."

That propensity of Wilson's to extend plays is something of a dual-edged sword. The same thing that has led to so many big gains can also lead to some costly losses, like the handful of bad sacks that Wilson has taken this season after trying to keep things alive for longer than they could be kept alive. A few from defeats to the Bears and Chargers come to mind.

"It's something that you win with and you lose with," Lockett said. "You just take chances, and we trust that Russell is going to go out there and make the best plays possible as long as he keeps it alive. As long as he keeps it alive, we understand how hard it is for defenders to continue to try and guard somebody over five seconds. So if it's longer than four or five seconds, it puts us in a better position to be able to get open."

In other words, you've got to take some bad with all the good when it comes to Wilson extending plays. He didn't become the winningest quarterback in franchise history as of Sunday's victory -- No. 71 in the regular season in his career -- by standing still in the pocket. The one that set up Seattle's game-winning field goal Sunday was another example of the good.

"We talked during the week [that] there is going to be a big scramble, extended play -- not necessarily a scramble run-around -- but there is going to be a time where the play is extended a little bit and we are going to need it," Wilson said. "And sure enough, Tyler pulled that one down."