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.
Talked through this enough on today's regression podcast, but here's a friendly reminder that TD rate (TD/attempts) regresses. This shows all 200+ attempt QBs who've had a 7%+ TD rate since 2011. None of them improved on that rate year over year. pic.twitter.com/2qXfv77kxS— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) June 25, 2019
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
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.