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Russell Wilson at the quarter-pole: Someone’s cooked a statistical feast

He’s good. Gooder than good

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
something very good for Seattle and very bad for Dallas is about to happen
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

How well is Russell Wilson playing quarterback right now? Pick your adjective, adverb, or turn of phrase.

Otherworldly. Superhuman. Perfect. Awe-inspiring. Elite. MVP-level. Seriously, pick any one, since they’re all true. Even after throwing an ill-timed pick and “only” two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 31-23 victory over the Dolphins in Week 4, he’s still lapping the league.

By traditional statistical measures, Wilson is having not only his best year, but also the best year of everyone. The following stats are primitive but familiar. And fun. So fun.

RW after four weeks

Stat Eye-popping number NFL rank On pace for NFL record?
Stat Eye-popping number NFL rank On pace for NFL record?
Passer rating 136.7 1 Y (122.5)
Touchdowns 16 1 Y (64>55)
Yards/attempt 9.4 2 N (9.9)
ANY/A (Y/A + sacks) 9.74 1 N (9.78)

All this on one legitimate interception and another fluke pick. He’s made about eight bad tosses all season, or about as many Carson Wentz throws in a half.

A glance at the more advanced statistical metrics confirms our priors. Russell Wilson’s 2020 is unmatched. He’s first in DYAR (425), first in EPA/play (.456), first in CPOE (13.9), and first in individual DVOA (45.2). Follow the links to Football Outsiders and Ben Baldwin’s public stats computation page for proof, or to discover more about the nontraditional stats.

In graph form, it’s even prettier.

(All the advanced numbers are through three games only; you can count on each of them dipping a little after the Miami game, but not substantially.)

Wilson’s also on pace to shattersmash all of his career highs in the basic categories.

Wilson vs. Previous Wilson

Stat 2020 pace Previous career high
Stat 2020 pace Previous career high
Yards 5,140 4,219 (2016)
TDs 64 34 (2017)
Y/A 9.4 8.3 (2015)
ANY/A 9.74 7.73 (2015)

Wilson’s 16th TD pass of the season tied him with Peyton Manning for most-ever in the first quarter of a campaign. It also kept him well on track to challenge everyone in history for the most scoring passes through nine seasons. Yes, everyone in history.

Can you win the MVP in the first quarter? Well, probably not. A season isn’t a football game, after all. But... in year nine (impossibly, he’s been in a Seahawks uniform for parts of NINE seasons now), Russell Wilson is as good as he’s ever been, and right now, as good as anyone has ever been. Even if his performance dips a little, which it must, eventually, he’ll still be considered by some as the top quarterback in the game, any by almost every serious observer as one of the top three.

Given Wilson’s consistency, toughness, stamina and mental makeup, it’s not unrealistic to foresee the next nine seasons blessing us with more of the same. In which case, it will be impossible to escape mentioning his name with the all-time greats.

Not bad, for a 5-foot-10 minor league second baseman.