After a big win, I need to talk about the Hawks. I mean, don't put me in a box and expect me to ask slyly as a fox in a pair of quiet, black socks as I walk softly on the docks of Seattle. I want to talk about the Hawks as much as the Salk's and the Brock's, drawing softly with the chalk on the play-calls and the blocks. C***'s.
And so here I must write swiftly on something pertinent to my (and yours, hopefully) interests. When you woke up this morning, you had a smile on your face. Perhaps the Seahawks win over the Bears was not the first thing you thought of, not consciously, but subconsciously that's why you woke up in a good mood today. Your wife looked at you and said, "Well, you're in a good mood today" and you replied, "Everything's going to be okay, Honey. Everything's going to be just fine."
You won't argue in front of the kids tonight.
All because the Seahawks kept the season more-than-alive with an upset win over the Chicago Bears. It wasn't just a win, it wasn't just better positioning in the playoff races, it wasn't just because you did not expect them to be sitting at 7-5 after a loss to the Miami Dolphins. No, you might actually be happier because you actually have a firmer belief that this team is better. A real hope that they're actually now good enough. Goonies never say die.
A significant reason that you might be right in that respect is the improved play of Russell Wilson, because without his improved play, Seattle is likely sitting anywhere from 5-7 to something much, much worse. If you combined some of the defenses lapses in the run game and losing accountability to certain coverage in the passing game that nearly allowed the Chicago Bears to mount an unbelievable, hope-crushing comeback in the final seconds, this would not be a very good team without a quarterback as good as Wilson. In fact, it would not be a very good team if you combined that with the Wilson that we saw in the first five games.
The Russell Wilson we see today however, is really damn good. He's so damn good, that I don't know how many quarterbacks in the league that I'd rather build a team around right now, I don't know how many quarterbacks there are in the league that I'd rather start under center this week than Russell Wilson. He's gotten that much better, going from a player that was easily in the bottom-third of the NFL in Week 1, to making his case as a top eight quarterback right now. These things... they just don't happen. Until they do. Gives credence to my belief that the Zombie Apocalypse is just around the corner.
When people criticized Wilson earlier in the year for being too raw, not ready, not the answer for today even if he is the answer for tomorrow, maybe they were right. Wilson was not that productive during his first five games and the quarterback position was a liability at times. It's difficult in this league to win without a good quarterback. Not impossible, but difficult. Wilson was the "game manager", reigned in with few yards per attempt and threw 5 TD and 6 INT over the first five games. However, I think that the quality of what he brings to the table has always shown, from Week 1, and now we're seeing more of the results that we wanted.
- Russell Wilson was faced with an 80-yard field against the Arizona Cardinals, down 20-16 with 4:58 left in the game. Seattle managed to get 76 yards and a 1st and goal from the Cardinals 6 with :38 left. The coaches opted to run it on first down and then there were missed opportunities to convert a game-winning score. If they had, he would have had his first game-winning touchdown during his first game and I think that the results don't necessarily represent the quality and process that Wilson went through on that drive.
- Week 3 and the Packers come in on Monday night. Down 12-7 with 8:44 remaining, Wilson (while saved on a bad decision to start the drive by a roughing the passer penalty) actually drove Seattle from their own 20 to the Packers 7 before coming up short. Then from the Packers 46 to the end zone in :46.
- Week 5 at the Rams, Wilson gets the ball at his own 20 with 3:09 left and down 19-13. Seattle is driving and gets to the Rams 35 before Anthony McCoy falls over and the pass is intercepted, ending the game with 1:08 left.
- The Patriots. From his own 17 to the end zone in five plays. From his own 43 to the end zone in four plays. I can name that tune in three plays, syke, only Russell Wilson can name that tune in three plays.
- The 49ers game. Despite the unlikelihood of mounting a comeback, I believe he converted 4th-and-17 legitimately. Even when he lost at Wisconsin, he gave the Badgers a ridiculous chance to win games that seemed un-winnable.
- Against the Lions, down 21-17, Wilson drives from his own 13 to the end zone to give Seattle a lead with 5:34 left that they should have held. It would have been yet another fourth quarter comeback.
- Wilson did not mount a game-winning drive against the Miami Dolphins (though we're not going to blame him for the loss) but the offense gave the team the field position necessary for what should have sent the game to overtime, if not getting the ball back with one last chance to win in regulation.
- Did you guys see the Bears game yesterday? Wilson and the offense went 97 yards at the end of regulation and 80 yards in overtime, to not even give Chicago a chance.
When you watch Wilson on the Jon Gruden QB camp, what I loved about it (besides any time Gruden opens his mouth) was seeing them go over the losses at Wisconsin. You never feel like you're out of a game with Wilson and even though he did everything right at the end of those games, he also took responsibility and accountability that if the team doesn't win that falls on his shoulders. The Seahawks early-season losses probably did take a toll on Wilson and that accountability, games that he probably felt he should have finished off. Now that the losses aren't falling on Wilson anymore, it's the defenses turn to take accountability. Because Wilson has been remarkable and his improvement from the first part of the season to now is staggering:
There were concerns that Wilson was so much better at home than he is on the road: Wilson has 6 TD and 1 INT in his last three road games. In fact, he's just not making mistakes period. The last time he threw an interception, Obama hadn't even been re-elected yet, and wouldn't be for another eight days! There was also speculation and wonder if he was just succeeding against soft pass defenses and he answered both the road and defense questions yesterday by beating the NFL's top defense on the road.
I stand by my assertion yesterday on Twitter that there are only two quarterbacks in the NFC that a team might rather have than Wilson, all things considered, and that's Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III. Wilson is young, he's ridiculously inexpensive, he's good, and he's winning. The only thing more I could ask from him is to be my date to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.
Other fun facts:
- Wilson has 11 TD and 1 INT over his last five games, 14 TD and 2 INT over his last seven games.
- Wilson (via Davis Hsu on Twitter via Sando, I believe) has the best QBR in the NFL since Week 5.
- Wilson has a QB rating over 100 in four straight games.
- Against the AFC, he has 7 TD and 0 INT and a rating of 130.2. At home, 11 TD and 0 INT with a rating of 122.
- Against the NFC North, 9 TD and 1 INT. He's still waiting for his chance (starting this week) to improve an awful record and statistical performance within the division.
- Wilson became the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw a game-winning touchdown as time expired when he did it against the Packers. Andrew Luck became the fourth QB to do that, yesterday... and then Wilson ended his second game of the season. He became the first Seahawks QB to win a game in overtime with a touchdown pass.
- He has four touchdown passes of 30+ yards this season, one more than Tom Brady.
- 14 of his 19 touchdown passes have either tied a game, untied a game, or given the Seahawks the lead. In fact, seven of his touchdowns have brought Seattle from trailing to leading.
Calling blocking calls from Tarvaris Jackson: Wilson has three 4th quarter comebacks already in his career. In those games, against the Packers, Patriots, and Bears, Wilson has 7 TD and 0 INT. Holy shit, Wilson has already beat the Packers, Patriots and Bears.
- Among qualified players, Wilson is 7th in the NFL in QB Rating, but one of those players is Alex Smith so see ya wouldn't wanna be ya. (JK - I would be very happy being Alex Smith.) He has a better QB rating than Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Drew Brees, and Josh Freeman.
- Hey, remember Matt Flynn?!?! Seriously, do you?? Sometimes I think about Matt Flynn. Sometimes I'm hungry. I'm actually hungry a lot.
I could go on for a very long time but did you know this is my second post today and it's getting late? If I was Russell Wilson, I would end this article perfectly. I would dominate it and write a paragraph and set of sentences that would make you wet your Dockers and then you'd have to go buy new Dockers and I'd be like "Wow people wear Dockers still? I mean, I'm just not a Dockers guy, don't mean to judge. Is Dockers like Eddie Bauer?" That's how good it would be if I was the writing version of Wilson. Except I'm not so.....