The numbers don’t do Russell Wilson’s Super Bowl performance justice. In today’s passing NFL they look ordinary at best. Playing quarterback isn’t simply about throwing for 300+ yards or connecting on 3-4 touchdowns. That is always impressive, but that is still more fantasy.
I am not going to reduce this to, “playing quarterback is about winning,” because although that sounds nice, it’s far too simple. Both of the ends of the spectrum count for something, the big stats and the winning.
It’s what is in-between those things that I want to talk about. Russell Wilson was spectacular because he played the quarterback position almost perfectly Sunday night.
Playing quarterback is leadership, decision-making, and execution. He excelled in all phases.
Nothing stood out more than 3rd down passing situations.
Wilson went 7/8 for 72 yards on 3rd down in the Super Bowl.
His lone incompletion was the ball he threw right on Jermaine Kearse’s hands in the endzone on 3rd and goal and was masterfully broken up by Broncos LB Nate Irving.
He also attempted one other pass on 3rd down that resulted in the pass interference in the endzone giving Seattle a first and goal at the one yard line.
So in 9 different third down passing situations he converted 7 first downs. He made the right decision with the football and delivered an accurate pass all 9 times. That is the definition of excellent.
For the game Wilson completed 18/25 passes for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The 7 incompletions were: 2 drops (Willson 10 yard hook on outside and Harvin wide-receiver screen), 2 throw-aways (Tate was closest in the right flat and Willson on failed flea flicker where Wilson scrambled away from a sack), 1 great pass break-up already discussed, and 2 errant throws (the first high throw of the game to Miller and his final attempt of the game on 4th and 1 trying to avoid pressure and complete it to a well-covered Robert Turbin slipping out into the flat).
My point is simply this: Wilson threw 25 passes and made one bad throw and zero bad decisions. He made many spectacular throws gunning passes into traffic or hitting receivers in stride on crossing patterns. He scrambled to pass twice, and scrambled to run three times (one 22 yard run was called back on a holding penalty). In fact, that may have been his only bad play the entire game because he had Golden Tate open deep for a touchdown and didn’t pull the trigger on the pass.
I can’t speak to all the line checks or run/pass checks or audibles. Only the Seahawks and Wilson would know that information.
But based on what I could grade watching the game, not once, but twice, Wilson was terrific the first time I watched and nearly flawless after watching it again.
Clearly he wasn’t alone in producing the Seahawks Super Bowl win. The defense carried the day, and the season for them. The offensive line didn’t let the Denver defenders get close to Wilson. The receivers, ridiculed by many, all played amazing games in the Super Bowl capitalizing on their opportunities. Many players in Seattle were responsible for them getting to this point. I just felt like Wilson deserved some recognition for his play which could easily get lost in the shuffle.
Bigger picture, Wilson has more wins (28) in his first two seasons than any quarterback ever. He has a 58-20 TD-INT ratio. He has a QB-rating of over 100 in both seasons. And now he has a Super Bowl victory.
Amazing a quarterback might not be getting enough attention, but in era of super stats, the guy who isn’t known for them, reminds us there is more about playing quarterback than just the raw numbers.