December 5, 2012

The Legend of Russell Wilson (12 Games In)

It becomes clearer with each passing week that my early-season posts demanding Matt Flynn start at QB are going to live forever in online infamy. A dose of humility is good for any writer once in a while, and it's also important to occasionally get a reminder that I'd utterly destroy the team I love if I was ever put in charge of it. How did we get here? How'd I go from complete, unrestrained, pants-shitting panic to asking Santa for my very own Russell Wilson jersey?

The memories already paint a vivid picture: Last-second triumphs over Green Bay, New England and Chicago snared by Russell Wilson's sniper-cannon-arm... A 7-5 record and a team that appears primed for a deep playoff run. All of that would be enough to justify the growing Cult of Dangeruss, but the WolfBadger has done far more in his rookie season than just string together a few memorable finishes. The kid might be having one of the greatest seasons for any quarterback in Seahawks history... Not just the best season for a rookie QB. His baseline for comparison isn't 1976 Jim Zorn or 1993 Rick Mirer. It's 1984 Dave Krieg or 2005 Matt Hasselbeck. Let's take a look at the numbers, shall we?

If you extrapolate Wilson's numbers from 12 games over a 16 game season, you get this stat-line:

268 completions in 423 attempts (63.3%) for 3125 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions (with a rating of 94.5). Plus 398 yards rushing. 

How would these numbers stack up against the great single-season QB performances in Seahawks history? "Wilson (x 1.333)" would be

- 4th all time in Passer Rating (behind '05 Hasselbeck at 98.2, '83 Dave Krieg at 95.0 and '88 Krieg at 94.6)
-5th in passing TDs (behind '84 Krieg, '03 Hasselbeck, '85 Krieg and '07 Hasselbeck, tied with '97 Moon)
-4th in completion percentage (behind '91 Krieg, '05 Hasselbeck and '02 Hasselbeck)

It's important to note that these are probably conservative estimates of Wilson's final 2012 statistics. With the Seattle defense weakened by the loss of Brandon Browner (and possibly Richard Sherman as well), Wilson will likely be asked to deliver even greater offensive production over the season's final month. In addition, his performance has been improving sharply over the past month, so it's extremely plausible that he'll end up producing one of the top two or three quarterbacking seasons in franchise history- As a rookie. We've simply never seen anything like this in the 37-year history of Seahawks football, and it's pretty effing awesome.

What about team performance? The only quarterbacks to lead Seattle to 10-win seasons are Dave Krieg (1984, 1986) and Matt Hasselbeck (2003, 2005, 2007). Wilson will join this club with three more wins over the final month of 2012. He's already tied '97 Warren Moon for the 2nd most wins (7) for any first-year full-time starter in team history- More than Zorn in '76 (2), Krieg in '83 (5), Mirer in '93 (6), or Hasselbeck in '01 (5). Jon Kitna had 8 wins in his first year as the full-time starter in 1999, but Wilson should catch and pass him over the next two weeks. Again, we're in uncharted territory with Russell Wilson this season.

If you switch the basis of comparison from Seahawks history to the NFL here in 2012, Wilson still stacks up extremely well- He's 7th in passer rating, 12th in completion percentage, 11th in touchdown passes, and 13th in yards per attempt. Wilson is being blatantly ignored in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, despite the fact that his performance has been clearly better than Andrew Luck's and comparable or better than Robert Griffin III's. In fact, Wilson deserves serious consideration for a QB slot on the NFC Pro Bowl squad.

Fuck. Can you believe we were watching CHARLIE WHITEHURST run our offense just over a year ago? The arrow is pointing WAY up, Twelves. Huzzah!

What do you think, sirs?


dave crockett said...

I love Luck, and for what it's worth Wilson's name is now firmly entrenched in the ROY talk from the national guys following the CHI win.

Here's what I don't get re: Luck. He's getting "points" merely for being asked to do more than RW. But you don't reward risk profile. You should reward payoff. Wilson looks like he's pretty much just as productive on a ypa basis.

Zem said...

I'm with you, I was dead wrong about this kid. I've seen his pocket presence improve more over the course of one year than some qbs have in a career. Stoked to see what the future brings with this season, hopefully a playoff run and a Super Bowl ring this year or the near future.