Russell Wilson said last week that he is “just getting started.”
Well if Week 1 is anything to judge by he has begun an MVP campaign like even dedicated Seattle Seahawk fans have not seen.
Wilson just played his best opening game of his career by traditional passer rating and QBR. Last year was his second best in passer rating. Those two years both shattered anything Wilson did in Week 1 before then, and Wilson is not only razor-sharp at launch but is in all-time NFL company along the way.
He came out with 11 completions in a row, setting his own personal record to open a game, then finished 31/35 for one of the best games in NFL history.
In today's win, @Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) completed 31 of 35 passes for an 88.6 completion percentage, tied for the third-highest mark in a single game in @NFL history, minimum 35 attempts. pic.twitter.com/si18z8xU48— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 13, 2020
It’s Russell Wilson’s best game one, which is utterly phenomenal because it was the Seahawks dumbest first ever play from scrimmage. Wilson took a nine-yard sack to start the game and I thought surely the first half was a lost cause.
But not only did Wilson turn this into an elite performance, I would argue it was the best Week 1 of the Russell Wilson era in Seattle. Here’s a quick runthrough of the nine openers of Wilson’s career, a total record of 5-4 for the Seahawks.
Week 1 Results
Opponent: Atlanta Falcons
Result: W, 38-25
Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
Result: W, 21-20
Opponent: Denver Broncos
Result: L, 24-27
Opponent: Green Bay Packers
Result: L, 9-17
Opponent: Miami Dolphins
Result: W, 12-10
Opponent: St. Louis Rams
Result: L, 31-34
Opponent: Green Bay Packers
Result: W, 36-16
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Result: W, 12-7 (remember those days?)
Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
Result: L, 16-20
Is this new?
Wilson’s 143.1 rating was stellar; one of his better games regardless of time. He’d only had a rating above 100 in three of the previous Week 1 games. Four touchdowns was obviously the most yet, and surprisingly he’d only been interception-free four other times.
Now, before we crown the Cook Crew for getting this done through sheer power of online peer pressure, take note of Wilson’s passing attempts over his career to start the season.
2012 - 34
2013 - 33
2014 - 28
2015 - 41
2016 - 43
2017 - 27
2018 - 33
2019 - 20
2020 - 35
It turns out Mr. Unlimited is simply Mr. Consistent. What a spread. He’d had two games with more attempts than Sunday, and three others within two passes. The media - I won’t say their bad at their jobs; they just have bad job descriptions sometimes - is wrong. Russell Wilson did not suddenly cook things this week in a way he had not before.
He’s just a much better quarterback.
Now, do the Falcons suck? Maybe. A DE left, a DE arrived, but Keanu Neal is back and their first-round draft pick is a cornerback who played the whole game, so we’re not talking about the Miami Dolphins here.
Also, forget your defense and your shiny cornerbacks.
Best out of the blocks
This was not just the best first game for Wilson; I think it was for this team as well. Jamal Adams is an absolute insane person, but this is not an Adams piece. Needless to say, Russell plus either of his receivers, and Adams plus Bobby Wagner could beat this year’s Cleveland Browns and I’ll not be told otherwise.
The matchup against Atlanta was only the second double-digit victory for Seattle in their first game. Only the win over Green Bay had a bigger point differential at 20. But the late touchdown to Calvin Ridley (when Adams was so excited about football he tackled Shaquill Griffin) did not matter. A 13-point win is the second biggest opening win in the last nine years, and that score is not as big a gap as this game was. It’s a bizarre feeling; I didn’t even know entirely how to watch a game with a comfortable Seattle lead.
The point differential on the road against last year’s third highest passing attack - with Todd Gurley - is an impressive day for a defense with a significant amount of personnel turnover. Yes, they’ve done things like hold the 2013 Panthers to seven points, but this was not the shaky defensive performance that easily could have beset us.
The six tackles for loss was fourth most out of these nine games, but as the defensive line has been the unending question mark of this team it’s a very impressive mark. Twice to start the season Seattle got none.
They had an interception, a fumble recovery, and two sacks. They’re already ahead of last year’s pace, and that Benson Mayowa Superman sack was just a thing of beauty.
450 passing yards given up is a really big number. But the Seahawks have an odd habit of winning those games, and again a lot of it came in garbage time. You can’t even be mad at Julio Jones making plays - I, at least, am never mad - he’s simply a living reminder that gravity is a social construct. Seattle did their whole bend-but-not break thing and showed that this team has multiple athletes capable of making big plays when they need it.
It was exactly the start this team needed. The defense is at the very least not a liability, and the offense is going to continue to be one of the most fun to watch that the Seahawks have ever assembled.