Wilson was under duress all game, but he spun, slithered and scampered away from so many would-be tacklers that Seattle was able to score enough points to win. He infuriated the Rams, invigorated the Seahawks and reminded everyone why he is the ideal quarterback for this team.
LOS ANGELES — Russell Wilson should sue the stat sheet for defamation of character. The raw numbers from Sunday are tantamount to a smear campaign.
Passing wise, he was 24 of 37 for 198 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rushing wise, he gained 16 yards on five carries.
Casual fans who didn’t watch the Seahawks’ 16-10 win over the Rams on Sunday would see that line and shrug. They’d struggle to call his performance “average,” because convention says Wilson stunk.
But anyone who tuned in would know that wasn’t the case. The Seahawks’ defense dominated the headlines Sunday, but it was Russell who saved the game.
“He’s one of the best players in this league, and it’s because of that ability to extend plays with his feet, keep his eyes down the field and make some off-schedule throws,” Rams coach Sean McVay said Sunday, likely a few hours before Wilson-related nightmares jarred him awake in a cold sweat. “But he can also create with his legs as a runner. I think that’s one of the things that makes him special.”
Translation: Russell Wilson is the defibrillator of the NFL — he brings dead plays back to life.
Wilson was under duress all game Sunday, but he spun, slithered and scampered away from so many would-be tacklers that Seattle was able to score enough points to win. Sure, he took three sacks, but the average quarterback might have taken 30.
If Russell were wearing a Fitbit, my guess is it would say he ran the equivalent to a 10K. He infuriated the Rams, invigorated the Seahawks and reminded everyone why he is the ideal quarterback for this team.
“Obviously, it’s not always about stats. It’s about finding a way,” Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett said in response to a question about Wilson’s ability to keep plays alive. “Even though it might not have been as many yards as he had last week, the biggest thing about it was we converted some third downs that we needed to keep the drive going.”
So many times Sunday, Wilson turned a sure 5-yard loss into a 4-yard gain. Time after time, he’d be just elusive enough throw the ball out of bounds, or dump it to a running back, or sprint past the first-down marker.
He averaged just 5.3 yards per pass with a long of 21. His passer rating was 76.2, which, if he posted every week, would rank him 30th in the NFL.
But like he so frequently does, Wilson kept his team in the game in a way that few — if any — quarterbacks in this league can. But numbers rarely will reflect that.
It’s not like Seattle could have just turned to the run game. Despite facing the NFL’s worst rushing defense at the time, the Seahawks gained only 62 yards on 25 carries. Subtract Wilson’s contributions, and it’s 46 yards on 20 carries.
Plus, it’s well-documented how tenuous Seattle’s offensive line is, meaning if Wilson weren’t the escape artist he is, the Seahawks might have been shut out.
That might sound like hyperbole, but it’s not intended to be. It’s hard to appreciate how valuable No. 3 is unless you watch him in person.
Numbers don’t lie, but they do spin the truth sometimes. And aside from that 46-18 shellacking of the Colts, the Seahawks don’t have any Ws without Wilson behind center.
After the game Sunday, I asked Wilson how much pride he takes in his ability to extend plays.
“I take a lot of pride in being able to keep the play alive — trying to be smart while doing it, but also being aggressive and kind of trying to just give my guys a chance,” he said.
That last part said it all, because it’s the simple truth.
He gives his guys a chance.