After his big games the last two weeks, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is on pace for one of the best passing seasons in team history.
A couple of weeks ago, it was the in thing to wonder what was wrong with Russell Wilson. If the big contract signed right as training camp began or his relationship with Ciara was distracting him. Or if maybe opponents had simply figured out how best to defend Wilson and the Seattle offense.
Suddenly, after two bounce-back games — the second even better than the first — Wilson is on track for one of the best passing seasons in team history. Maybe the best depending on how you view things.
Consider that Wilson is now on pace for a career-high 3,961 yards. That would rank second in team history behind the 3,966 of Matt Hasselbeck in 2007. Hasselbeck is also second on the list with 3,841 in 2003. Third is Warren Moon with 3,678 in 1997.
Wilson, though, is on pace to do it in 89 fewer attempts than did Hasselbeck in 2007 — 473 compared to Hasselbeck’s 562.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Analysis: Where the QB battle stands and four other thoughts after the Seahawks' preseason opener
- Quarterback play a mixed bag as Seahawks lose to Steelers to open preseason play
- Rookies Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant start at cornerback for Seahawks, learn a few lessons
- Tobin Heath brings experience, leadership to OL Reign as she settles in with new club
- Sloppy play opens door for Rangers to snap nine-game losing streak vs. Mariners
Wilson is also completing 67.7 percent of his passes which would shatter the Seattle single-season record of 65.61 by Dave Krieg in 1991.
Krieg, though, threw fewer passes that season in one of Chuck Knox’s more conservative offensive years than Wilson already has – Krieg was 187-285 that year while Wilson is 220-325.
The second-highest completion percentage was Hasselbeck’s 65.48 in 2005, a year that might be, all things considered, the best passing season in Seattle history so far. Hasselbeck completed 294-449 passes as the Seahawks advanced to their first Super Bowl. Wilson is on track to go 320-473.
Wilson is also now averaging 8.4 (actually, 8.38 to be exact) yards per pass. That would be a career high and second in team history behind the 8.80 of Krieg in 1983 (a year when, somewhat oddly, Seattle’s longest pass play was just 50 yards).
Wilson also has upped his passer rating to 102.9 with the games of the past two weeks (138.5, 147.9) in which he combined to throw eight touchdowns and no interceptions and throwing for a combined 605 yards, including a career-high 345 against the Steelers Sunday. That would break a team record he already holds of 101.2 in 2013.
Wilson’s interception rate is now 2.2 percent. That won’t set a team record (which is held by Seneca Wallace at 1.24 in 2008 when he had three picks in 242 attempts and figures to be hard to ever break) but it would be right in line with what was Wilson’s career mark coming into the season at 2.07, which is a team record.
Wilson is also on pace for 26 touchdown passes, which would tie his career highs of 2012 and 2013 and is one off what are the top three seasons in Seattle history — Krieg’s 32 in 1984, Hasselbeck’s 28 in 2007 and Krieg’s 27 in 1985.
Krieg, though, also threw a combined 44 interceptions in those two seasons.
Obviously, all stats have to be considered in the context that the game continues to evolve where passing is king.
Wilson’s current 2,723 yards ranks just 14th in the NFL — Hasselbeck’s 3,966 in 2007 ranked eighth and Moon’s 3,678 in 1997 ranked fifth.
Still, Wilson also continues to work within the framework of an offense that features the run first — Seattle’s 334 rushing attempts is second in the NFL behind the 379 of Carolina.
So what changed the last two weeks?
Coach Pete Carroll mentioned two specific things during his Monday press conference, that the Seahawks used the time during the bye week following the win over Dallas and the loss at Arizona to reconfigure the passing attack somewhat to feature more quick-hitting plays and that the offensive line has continued to improve in pass protection.
“I think we’ve just come a long ways, and I think the pocket being so consistently solid for him makes a huge difference,’’ Carroll said. “The rhythm, since the break we had, we’ve really tried to feature a fast rhythm and making sure he’s really got a chance to get the ball out fast to keep the pressure off of the guys up front. All of that has happened with more earnest because of how the start was. I think it’s a combination, but I really think the guys up front are really improving and that’s what’s made the difference for us. We’re playing off of that.”