They're back. Wounded from disrespect and with something to prove - the Seattle Seahawks are back. They're back to being an offense led by a surgical pocket passer, and have a defense returning to the ferocious nature that has the NFL on its heels. The team that everyone in the NFL has feared the past two years is back.
In an early 10 AM start, the Seahawks marched into Minnesota on Sunday to face the then NFC North leading Vikings. And let's give credit where credit is due - the Vikings are no joke this year. They have a similar identity to that of the Seahawks -- they're led by a stingy defense, a young quarterback, and one of the most prolific running backs in NFL history. You can't dismiss the Vikings on any given day. However, yesterday was Russell Wilson's day.
Against a strong Minnesota defense, Wilson was decisive, accurate, and ruthless. Wilson continued to display his progression as a pocket-passer -- making numerous surgical throws while standing tall in the pocket.
Russell Wilson made every type of throw vs Minnesota. Tight window-- not a problem. https://t.co/HKjNs97h1U— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) December 7, 2015
By the end of the day, Wilson completed 21 passes on 27 attempts for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns at nearly an 80% completion rate. However, as we all know - Wilson is a multi-threat quarterback - and on Sunday, he showed it. He continued his dominant day by adding 9 rushes for 51 yards and a touchdown. We saw what kind of threat he is to run on the long touchdown run that was called back on a hold. Either way, ridiculous.
What we've witnessed from Russell Wilson over this past three games is nothing short of multiple MVP-caliber performances. The defense has failed at times - but Wilson has not. Wilson is proving his progression and abilities as a pocket passer, despite the media narratives telling otherwise.
Per Sheil Kapadia, from the pocket on Sunday:
Russell Wilson was 19-for-21 (90.5%) for 256 yards (12.19 YPA), two touchdowns, and zero interceptions - good enough for a 149.2 passer rating. Think about that - a 90% completion rate from the pocket averaging 12.19 YPA against a tough defense on the road. Mind-blowing stats. Those are the characteristics of an elite NFL pocket-passer.
However, this wasn't just one random game of luck. Per Mike Sando, Russell Wilson has been surgical in the pocket over his last three games.
Here is @DangeRussWilson from inside pocket last 3 games: 59-69 (85.5%) for 810 yards (11.7 YPA) with 10 TDs, 0 INTs, 98.6 QBR, 155.2 rating— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) December 7, 2015
Noticeable too is the fact that Wilson is getting the ball out quicker than ever, putting less pressure on the line to hold up longer in pass coverage. When analyzing great NFL quarterbacks, many experts look for the ability to make his receivers better. And Russell is doing just that. When targeting Baldwin over the last three games, Russell is 17-of-19 for 299 yards and five touchdowns. It's clear that Russell's play -- his accuracy, his timing, his distribution of the football -- is putting the entire offense in the position to play better. As a result, over the last four games, the Hawks' offense is averaging over 34 points a game.
No one is playing better than Russell Wilson right now -- not even one of the MVP favorites in Cam Newton. Per Jacson Bevens, here is how Russell stacks up against the rest of the league's quarterbacks over the last three games.
Russell Wilson, last 3 games (NFL rank) 66-86 (76.7%, 1st) 879 yards (10.2 Y/A, 1st) 11 TDs (12.8 TD%, 1st) 0 INTs (1st) 148.2 rating (1st)— ❄️Jac Frost❄️ (@JacsonBevens) December 6, 2015
On top of that -- over the last three games (and to add to the fun list of wild stats), Wilson has 11 touchdown passes and only 20 incompletions. It's clear that Wilson is proving his ability to be a deadly pocket-passing quarterback, despite his less-than-typical body size.
Remember when many people said paying Wilson $22M a year was a bad idea and would cripple the Seahawks? Yeah me too. Throw Wilson's name into the MVP race - because he's playing like it.