NFL Football News- The Rise Of Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson
Pop Quiz: do you know which NFC quarterback currently averages the most passing yards per game, as we round the halfway point of the 2017 NFL season?
For as brilliantly as he’s played this season, it’s not Carson Wentz. Despite leading the conference in passing yards for 11 consecutive seasons, it’s not Drew Brees. It’s not Kirk Cousins (playing in a pass-happy offense in Washington) or Jameis Winston (in the midst of a highly disappointing season) either.
No, it’s actually Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
Overlooked in yet another chapter of Deshaun Watson’s sensational rookie season (which took place last Sunday when his Houston Texans played the Seattle Seahawks) was just how magnificent Wilson himself played in that game. While Watson put up 402 yards passing and four touchdowns (albeit with three interceptions as well), Wilson one-upped him with 452-yard, four-touchdown performance of his own, including leading Seattle to the game-winning touchdown. In four games in the month of October, Wilson has thrown 10 touchdown passes, and averages over 319 yards passing per game. With the injury to Aaron Rodgers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Wilson is battling Carson Wentz for the title of “best quarterback in the NFC.”
Entering the 2017 season, Wilson was an intriguing darkhorse pick to win the league’s MVP award. After carrying around more weight and bodyfat than he would’ve preferred last year, Wilson came into training camp in the best shape of his life. He spent the offseason working with celebrity nutritionist Dr. Philip Goglia — who has helped several movie stars build film-ready bodies — and lost 10lbs of weight, while dropping his bodyfat percentage down to a chiseled 6%.
While the Seahawks thought they could piecemeal the position together with a cabal of guys, hoping that one of them would eventually emerge and take the starting job outright, the Seahawks’ running game has been something of a disaster this season. They’ve handed out carries to Green Bay Packers castoff Eddie Lacy, incumbent Thomas Rawls, 2016 draft pick C.J. Prosise, 2017 draft pick Chris Carson, and 2017 undrafted free agent J.D. McKissoc. Seattle’s running backs average 3.16 yards gained after defenders close within a yard of them, ranking 29th in the NFL. In fairness, all of them have done a select few good things, but all of them have been far from spectacular; Carson was the best of the group, but he was lost early in the year to a season-ending injury.
Point being: this offense really belongs to Wilson. It’s much more about him running the show, throwing the football to Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett (especially as he gets healthier), Paul Richardson (a potential fantasy football sleeper), and tight end Jimmy Graham (whenever he manages to hold on to the football). In October, Wilson had a 89.2 passer rating when throwing into tight windows (the NFL average is 54.0), which was good enough for second among all starting quarterbacks. His elevation of Seattle’s offense, despite a hopeless ground game, has helped him ascend to that “elite” echelon of NFL quarterbacks.