It's kind of amazing how we can be inundated with one news story for months and months and months, but when that story comes to an inevitable conclusion, the overarching theme of that story and the subject it surrounds can kind of just disappear. We just move on to the next thing.
That is how I felt about the Russell Wilson contract situation. While plenty of nonsense pop culture stories came up for Wilson last summer, the only thing that really mattered from a football standpoint was whether or not he would sign a contract extension that would keep him with the Seahawks long term. Rumors persisted, most of them bullshit, and many discussed the merits of not only signing Wilson to a mega-deal that would ensure that he takes up a considerable portion of the salary cap for years, but the merits of signing any one player to that kind of contract.
I even went to the lengths of writing an article about Wilson every single day until he signed a new deal, even if it went on for years or decades. Eventually, Wilson signed a four-year contract extension, and while he might have cited money, family, or football as the reason he did so, the truth was that it was all because of me.
You're welcome ... Or are you?
In my opinion, you would have to be insane to not think that a four-year contract for a player of his caliber is nothing less than oppokapo. (Opposite of signing Colin Kaepernick to a contract extension.) Even if Wilson never improved upon his first three seasons in the league, he'd still be one of the NFL's best bargains. Especially when you consider that for his first three seasons in the league, Wilson was arguably the best bargain in NFL history.
However, the beginning of this season did not go so well. Wilson's numbers were down across the board and many fans cried "Contract!" as the reason for this. Even if he wasn't getting laid, at least he was getting paid. After three years of practically living like a homeless person on $1 million+ a year on salary and endorsements, Wilson stopped begging for change outside of CenturyLink on game day and instead must have been finding time 2 sleep now that he had bills 2 pay and a means to do so.
Sure, most people just blamed Ciara for Wilson's ho-hum numbers to start the season, but there's no question that he wasn't quite the same quarterback we had become accustomed to since 2012.
Through nine games of this season, Wilson had 10 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a passer rating of 91.7. It was continuing a downward trend in his passer rating, since he posted a career-high 101.2 in 2013, but just 95.0 in 2014. Even more concerning was that Wilson's greatest attribute might have been his ability to protect the football while unleashing explosive plays, but Wilson had thrown a pick in six of his first nine games this year, and a total of 12 over his previous 11 games dating back to the postseason.
All of a sudden I was starting to feel like I was delivering facts about Wilson in the same way that I used to (and still do) deliver facts about Andrew Luck. Pointing out that he wasn't as perfect as people thought he was, or in this case, that he was clearly losing some sort of edge.
Then two more games happened.
Over the last two weeks, Wilson has had perhaps the best two-game stretch of his career. Against the 49ers and Steelers, Wilson has thrown for 605 yards, eight touchdowns, no interceptions, 76.27% completions, 10.25 Y/A, 12.97 AY/A, and had a rating of 148.0. This week against Pittsburgh, Wilson had his first five touchdown game, and his 14.83 AY/A was the second-highest of his regular season career. He also had a 14.91 against the Panthers in the playoffs last year.
In just two weeks, Wilson has raised his passer rating on the season to 102.9, the highest of his career. His completion percentage is 67.7, which is the highest of his career. His 8.4 Y/A is also a new career-high, if he can maintain or improve upon it. A few weeks ago, I tweeted something about Wilson having the worst season of his career, and now here we are and it looks like he could be on the verge of posting his most impressive numbers yet while playing behind the worst offensive line he's ever had.
Here are some more notes on what kind of season Wilson is having so far:
- Wilson is now fourth in passer rating behind Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, and Andy Dalton. His career passer rating of 99.5 is the second-highest of all-time among qualified QBs, behind Aaron Rodgers.
- Wilson's passer rating of 102.9 is the second-best ever for a Seahawks QB through 11 games. By the way, Wilson also has the best such passer rating in team history (105.1, 2013), third-best (93.9, 2014), and fourth-best (93.0, 2012.)
- Wilson is third in Y/A behind only Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger, who are each at 8.8. Since Week 4, Wilson is averaging 9.07 Y/A, which is the highest in the NFL over that period of time. His passer rating since Week 4 is 106.8, highest in the NFL over that period of time.
- His 8.0 career Y/A ranks fifth all-time behind three Hall of Famers (Otto Graham, Sid Luckman, Norm Van Brocklin) and Rodgers.
- By catching up in touchdown passes over the last two weeks, Wilson has raised his TD% to 5.5%, which ranks 10th in the NFL. He was at 4.4% last season.
- He is fourth in adjusted Y/A, seventh in net yards per attempt, and sixth in adjusted net yards per attempt.
- After fumbling 12 times in 2013 and 13 times in 2014, Wilson has fumbled just six times this season. He's on pace for between eight and nine fumbles.
- Wilson picked up his 12th career fourth quarter comeback, and second this season. He has more career 4QC than Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Aaron Rodgers.
Because it's never too late to turn something around. Even a season. Seems like he was worth it to me.