Russell Wilson finally stopped turning the ball over, and it made for one of the less stressful games of the season for the Seattle Seahawks. As hot of a start Wilson was on, it’s only the third time this year he’s gone without a turnover.
From Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams to Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals, the biggest difference in Wilson’s game was how and when he ran.
Wilson’s most egregious forced throw this season came last week against the Rams. Not only did he have a first down on the ground but probably could have landed within 10 yards of the end zone. Instead of either, we saw one of the dumbest interceptions of his career.
Russell Wilson hasn't been having the best game so far against the Rams. He throws an interception here.pic.twitter.com/W8ZJvDraSm— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 15, 2020
Wilson was questioned for this in the media all week, and it was clearly a point of emphasis against the Cardinals. It was such a point of emphasis that the Seahawks ended up with more run attempts than pass attempts, thoroughly confusing the fanbase into thinking 2013 is back.
But that included 10 rushes from the QB that weren’t designed. Fear not, cooking people. This team tried to go pass heavy, to the tune of 38-21.
Instead, Russell Wilson made the MVP play every time. Which is to say, the smart play. Because air yards are not more valuable than winning, and hopes-and-prayers are not more valuable than beating blitzes.
On the first drive of the game, Wilson made Arizona remember he can move.
Wilson wisely and decisively left the pocket on 2nd-and-long on the first drive.— Tyler Alsin (@TylerjAlsin) November 20, 2020
Two plays later, running at the line of scrimmage, Wilson hit Metcalf for the TD.
His mobility remains one of his most important weapons. pic.twitter.com/GvlUC25LYS
Two plays later, it had direct impact on the game’s first touchdown.
Let the scoring begin: Russell Wilson keeps his vision downfield and hits DK Metcalf for a TD.pic.twitter.com/06f3zakHU3— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) November 20, 2020
In just ten games this year, Wilson has 367 rushing yards. That’s already more than 2016 or 2019 in their entirety. In fact, his 36.7 yards per game is the second highest mark of his career.
Let’s be perfectly clear: thought Russell Wilson is not as fast as nine years ago, this is a good thing. Wilson’s best strength is his deep ball. His deep ball is made better when he moves around, as new lanes open up, defenses lose focus, linebackers come up.
Highest PFF Grade by depth of target:— PFF (@PFF) November 12, 2020
Behind LOS: Daniel Jones - 85.5
1-9 yards: Aaron Rodgers - 89.6
10-19 yards: Aaron Rodgers - 94.7
20+ yards: Russell Wilson - 99.7 pic.twitter.com/Ut7GuUnAyE
Wilson’s just a tick short of being on pace for a 600 rushing yard season. The value to Seattle is entirely different than that of Lamar Jackson or freshly-defeated Kyler Murray. Wilson’s eight yard games are best when they are simply the result of him making the best decision and being above-average athletically.
It’s all about timing. Wilson’s troubles this season have overwhelmingly been his own doing. But a Russell Wilson making the right decision at the right time is not a thing the NFL has been able to stop this year.