The Seattle Seahawks are 14-and-3 this season, have lost only one home game in the last two years, and are favored to beat the visiting San Francisco 49ers for the NFC crown this Sunday. Yet many Seattle fans are concerned about a struggling passing game, and more specifically Russell Wilson’s recent (un-Wilson-like) performances.
Wilson’s passer rating is second only to Peyton Manning since week 9 of the 2012 season. He’s now just one of four players in NFL history to pass for at least 20 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. Most important, his winning percentage is second only to Tom Brady among active quarterbacks in the league.
The cause for concern is Wilson’s recent struggles against top-flight defenses like Arizona and San Francisco over the past month. He also had a 9-for-18 day with a 67.6 rating against the Saints in last Saturday’s NFC Divisional Playoff victory. Wilson had some errant throws we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing him make on a routine basis.
“We’ve definitely played some really great defenses and they’ve made some plays. There’s definitely room for improvement, especially on my part,” said Wilson at Monday’s press conference. “I always think that I can get better every week. There’s tons of throws in there I know I can make, and I have no worry about that. I think the ultimate goal for us is to win football games.”
Winning the Seahawks’ way starts with playing to the strengths of the NFL’s top ranked defense, and field position with a sensational kicking game. It also hinges on the stout legs of Marshawn Lynch. While Russell Wilson is not being asked to manage the offense, he is being trusted to value the football and keep making the smart decision.
“I never play scared. Never have, and never will,” chuckled Wilson. “I think for me in terms of decision-making, I always try to make the smart decision, whether I’m scrambling and looking for someone down field, or in the pocket and running down field, I try to make the smart decision and keep the play alive.”
Go back to week two of this season and see that Russell Wilson completed just 8 of 19 passes with one touchdown and one interception. His team dominated the San Francisco 49ers 29-3 at CenturyLink Field. His counterpart Colin Kaepernick was 13 of 28 with three crucial interceptions. Clearly Wilson made more of the smart, winning decisions in that game.
No question San Francisco’s defensive strategy this Saturday will be to shut down Marshawn Lynch, and jam Seattle’s receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Having Percy Harvin cleared of concussion tests and available to play could help the Seahawks’ passing game be more of a threat.
Bottom line; Russell Wilson needs to be instinctive and decisive Russell Wilson. We need him to don his magicians cape and top hat, escape the most dangerous traps, pull off unbelievable throws, and make the same winning plays which have Seattle on the cusp of their second Superbowl trip in franchise history.
-Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan
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