Russell Wilson’s Season Is The Best Ever For A Seahawks Quarterback
It’s no secret that Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson is having an outstanding season. He has led the Seahawks to 9-5 despite facing one of the league’s toughest schedules; Wilson has faced the Packers, Patriots, Bears, Vikings, and Cowboys. One also can’t forget that while the Cardinals are a bad team, they do have the 3rd ranked defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders (Football Outsiders is down, so this is a cache website). Wilson’s statistics are almost all second-best among rookie QBs, but while he may not win the offensive rookie of the year, what Wilson is doing may just qualify as the best season ever for a Seahawks quarterback.
Wilson is competing against Matt Hasselbeck’s 2005 and 2007 for the honor of having the best season ever for a Seahawks quarterback. Here’s a quick comparison of those three seasons:
|Player (Year)||Comp.||Att.||Comp. %||Yards||TD||INT||Rate||Rushes||Rush Yards||Rush TD|
Right now, as a passer, Wilson’s numbers seem to fit between Hasselbeck’s 2005 and 2007 seasons. If there’s one thing that can be agreed upon here, it’s that these are definitely the three best statistical seasons for a passer in Seahawks history. Hasselbeck’s 2005 is certainly the most efficient, while he was asked to do much much more in 2007. Wilson has certainly been asked to do the least, though he has probably encountered the most difficult schedule.
Hasselbeck faced four playoff teams in the 2005 season: the Giants, Redskins, Colts, and Jaguars, going 2-2 in those games. The losses came against the Jaguars and the Redskins, the latter of which the Seahawks defeated in the first round of the playoffs. This was the second easiest of these three schedules, but this Seahawks team was clearly the most dominant of the three. Hasselbeck had the benefit of the 7th best defense in the NFL and the game’s best running back behind the game’s best offensive line. Because of that, Hasselbeck was asked to do less.
In 2007, Hasselbeck faced off against just two playoff teams, the Buccaneers and the Steelers, finishing with a 1-1 record. This Seahawks team asked much more of Hasselbeck; in this season, coach Mike Holmgren publicly announced that he’d be putting the offense on Hasselbeck’s arm at about the mid-season point, and made good on his promise. Behind a mediocre defense, and having the ghost of Shaun Alexander’s career in the backfield meant that Hasselbeck had to do almost all of the heavy lifting by himself. With a better running game, this season would likely be the statistical best of Hasselbeck’s career. Having watched both, I’d say this season is Hasselbeck’s best, even if he was the most efficient in 2005.
That brings us to 2011, a year that has seen Russell Wilson face off against three teams that are definitely in the playoffs (San Francisco, Green Bay, and New England) and four more that might make the playoffs (Minnesota, Chicago, St. Louis, and Dallas). Of those teams, four of them (Chicago #1, San Francisco #2, Green Bay #8, St. Louis #9) are in the top 10 in defensive DVOA. Even some of the Seahawks’ weaker opponents, Carolina and Miami, are ranked 11th and 12th in defensive DVOA respectively. Not to mention Wilson has to play San Francisco, likely the best of those teams, twice. This season is definitely the most difficult of the three seasons in consideration. Wilson’s success could partially be because he is also a rushing threat; Wilson has already set the franchise’s record for rushing yards by a QB, and gotten many crucial first downs with his legs. He’s also shown an incredible knack for reading defenses, as evidenced by the zone read, a play that sees Wilson make the decision to keep or hand off after the snap. Tougher defenses? No problem for Russell Wilson.
Hasselbeck’s two best seasons are absolutely elite, and yet, Wilson is blowing both of them out of the water. Wilson’s efficiency is second only to Hasselbeck’s 2005 season, and has come against much better teams than Hasselbeck faced. Adding in the threat of the run, allowing Wilson to extend drives in a way Hasselbeck never could have, pushes him over the top. Hasselbeck is the the best quarterback in franchise history, but Russell Wilson, barring a collapse over the last two games, will be able to lay claim to the best season out of the quarterback position in franchise history. Seeing as Wilson is doing this as a rookie, I’d say Hasselbeck’s title as the greatest quarterback in franchise history is definitely in danger.