Wilson Would Make the Pass, But Should He?
This week, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson phoned in on the Rich Eisen Show. They discussed the upcoming divisional matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Wilson’s nightly rehab on his injured ankle and knee, and even who the initial target was for the last touchdown in their wildcard game against the Detroit Lions (it was Jermaine Kearse). But things got real when Rich Eisen threw a curveball.
“Super Bowl 51, there you are, less than a minute to go. You’re at the one yard line, you need a touchdown to win. The play that comes in is a run play, but you see the defense sets up for a pass. Do you go ahead and audible for that pass, Russell Wilson?”
“Yeah, of course. I have no fear. I don’t play with fear I do what it takes to win.”
As much as anyone loves to hear their quarterback respond with such confidence, it’s hard to believe that, if put in the exact situation, Wilson would execute and score. There is no doubt in my mind that Wilson would pass if he felt that it was possible to win the game, even if put in the same Super Bowl scenario, but it’s not about his willingness to do so, but rather his ability to.
This season in the redzone, Seattle has a scoring percentage of 48.33% (TDs only) with an average of 3.5 visits per game. Individually, Wilson has a completion percentage of 43.21%, the worst of all quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs. (Stats via Team Rankings and Pro Football Reference)
If the Super Bowl XLIX loss still bothers him, it showed.
But the Super Bowl loss doesn’t just dwell on Russell Wilson. Offensive Coordinator, Darrell Bevell once told ESPN.com that he “learned from it and moved on, but it will always be there.” Maybe it still bothers Bevell because his play calling has been equally as bad and his conservative tendencies have contributed to the Seahawks’ red-zone decline and it’s fair to say that both he and Wilson can be to blame for the lack of production.
This past weekend’s wildcard game against the Lions, however, was completely opposite of what we’re used to seeing in their red-zone trips. The Seahawks visited the red-zone 4 times, with a completion percentage of 75% (3 TDs) and Wilson completed 5/7 passes and 2 touchdowns.
The Seahawks have always maintained the characteristic of starting slow and finishing strong and their playoff run may be another instance of that but the real question is not ‘will they learn to run and not throw?’, but rather, can they score in the red-zone when the game is on the line?