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Is regression coming for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson?

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports

In 2018 Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a phenomenally efficient season, posting career highs in several categories, including touchdown passes. Wilson’s 35 scoring tosses were good for fourth in the NFL, and helped him throw for a score on 8.2% of his pass attempts during the season. That is a phenomenal touchdown rate, and easily bested his prior career best of 7.0% from 2015.

While many Hawks fans are hoping that 2018 was just the tip of the iceberg, and that with a second season in the offense of Brian Schottenheimer that Wilson and the offense will further improve. However, as noted Fantasy Expert JJ Zachariason notes on Twitter, past history paints the likelihood of Wilson improving his touchdown rate as unlikely.

So, the only quarterback who has posted back to back seasons with a touchdown rate of 7.0% or higher since 2011 is Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers in 2011 and 2012. However, even in the case of Rodgers, his TD% rate slipped from 8.98% in 2011 to 7.07% in 2012.

John Fraley authored two fantastic pieces here for Field Gulls on areas which are potentially ripe for regression for the Seahawks recently. The first looked at the team’s turnover luck in 2018 and wondered if that same luck will continue into the 2019 season, while the second looked at whether Tyler Lockett will be able to repeat the feat of having a perfect passer rating when targeted by Wilson.

As for Wilson potentially repeating a touchdown rate above 7% during the upcoming season, he wouldn’t be the first Seahawks quarterback to do so. Here is a table of every single quarterback in the NFL who has posted a touchdown rate about seven percent during a single season since 1979.

Quarterback seasons with 7%+ touchdown rates since 1979

Player Year Tm Att TD TD%
Player Year Tm Att TD TD%
Steve Young 1994 SFO 461 35 7.6
Russell Wilson 2015 SEA 483 34 7
Russell Wilson 2018 SEA 427 35 8.2
Carson Wentz 2017 PHI 440 33 7.5
Deshaun Watson 2017 HOU 204 19 9.3
Kurt Warner 1999 STL 499 41 8.2
Mark Rypien 1988 WAS 208 18 8.7
Matt Ryan 2016 ATL 534 38 7.1
Tony Romo 2014 DAL 435 34 7.8
Ben Roethlisberger 2007 PIT 404 32 7.9
Aaron Rodgers 2012 GNB 552 39 7.1
Aaron Rodgers 2011 GNB 502 45 9
Aaron Rodgers 2014 GNB 520 38 7.3
Philip Rivers 2008 SDG 478 34 7.1
Cam Newton 2015 CAR 495 35 7.1
Joe Montana 1987 SFO 398 31 7.8
Dan Marino 1986 MIA 623 44 7.1
Dan Marino 1984 MIA 564 48 8.5
Peyton Manning 2013 DEN 659 55 8.3
Peyton Manning 2004 IND 497 49 9.9
Patrick Mahomes 2018 KAN 580 50 8.6
Dave Krieg 1983 SEA 243 18 7.4
Dave Krieg 1987 SEA 294 23 7.8
Dave Krieg 1988 SEA 228 18 7.9
Nick Foles 2013 PHI 317 27 8.5
Vince Ferragamo 1980 RAM 404 30 7.4
Brett Favre 1996 GNB 543 39 7.2
Boomer Esiason 1988 CIN 388 28 7.2
Randall Cunningham 1998 MIN 425 34 8
Daunte Culpepper 2004 MIN 548 39 7.1
Chris Chandler 1998 ATL 327 25 7.6
Drew Brees 2011 NOR 657 46 7
Tom Brady 2010 NWE 492 36 7.3
Tom Brady 2007 NWE 578 50 8.7
Terry Bradshaw 1982 PIT 240 17 7.1

Obviously Dave Krieg had the benefit of getting to play part of the 1987 season against replacement players, but I’ll leave answering the question of whether that should qualify for an asterisk to fans and readers. In short, while Wilson certainly has the potential to better his 2018 touchdown rate during 2019, odds are against him doing so. That doesn’t mean he’ll have a poor season, as it simply means that 2018 was a phenomenal season for Wilson in this category, and even repeating what he did would be fantastic.