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Carroll: We've come to count on Russell Wilson's magic

For the second January in a row, the Seattle Seahawks relied upon serendipity and Russell Wilson's improvisational skills to advance in a playoff game they had no business winning.

If Blair Walsh's missed field goal mirrored Brandon Bostick's muffed onside kick as the decisive play, Wilson's ability to turn a botched snap into Seattle's biggest offensive play in Sunday's victory was reminiscent of the 11-yard dropback and heave to Luke Willson for an unlikely two-point conversion in last year's fate-altering NFC Championship Game.

Where skeptics see charmed pixie dust and an avalanche of fluky plays trailing Seattle's postseason runs over the past three years, coach Pete Carroll cites Wilson's unflappability and creativity in the face of adversity.

"We've seen so often the magic that comes out of him sometimes," Carroll said after Sunday's come-from-behind victory. "He had a number of plays today that he was in trouble and he got out of it right away.

"It's a rare play but he does stuff like that and we have come to count on it and it's been a factor for us when we've needed it. Just in that little sequence in that touchdown drive, there's some real magic in there."

Have the Seahawks been extraordinarily fortunate? They needed at least eight different sequences to break their way versus the Packers last January. They needed Walsh to miss a chip-shot field goal for the first time this season on Sunday.

But this Seahawks nucleus with six playoff wins in three years also deserves credit for displaying the mental toughness of champions.

"The elements made it as challenging as a game could be," Carroll said of the effects of the third-coldest game in NFL history.

Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman has lauded Wilson as a "mental giant." Patriots coach Bill Belichick has compared Wilson to Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach for an undefinable, uncanny, uncoachable "sense of awareness of what's around him -- good or bad."

"It's just an awareness that all great players have it," Belichick explained last January. "I think he just has it at a higher level. It's really impressive."

Wilson's Houdini act isn't luck. It's a unique, borderline-bankable skill dovetailing the best of his mental and physical traits.

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