Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could break the team season records for touchdown passes, passing yards and completion percentage.
RENTON — Whenever anyone has raised the topic of quarterback Russell Wilson throwing more, the Seahawks’ coaching staff has traditionally responded one of two ways.
The first was that doing so would deviate from their identity and thus be a betrayal. “To sit here and tell you we’re going to throw it 500 times — probably not gonna happen,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said at a town-hall meeting before last season. “That’s not the philosophy. That’s not how we’re built.”
The second was to politely ignore the questions altogether. “It’s been a good marriage,” quarterback coach Carl Smith said last year. “He likes to win games. We like to win games. And he’s doing what we ask him to do.”
Seahawks @ Arizona, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13
But now we’re entering 2016 and the final game of the regular season, and Wilson is on the verge of shattering franchise passing records. Of note:
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• Wilson needs one passing touchdown to tie Dave Krieg’s season record of 32 set in 1984 and two touchdowns to become the leader.
• He needs 140 yards to pass Matt Hasselbeck’s 2007 record for season passing yards and 173 yards to become the first quarterback in team history to throw for 4,000 yards.
• He needs to complete only four passes to pass Warren Moon and move into second place for most completions in a season.
• It would be almost impossible for him not to finish with the best season completion percentage in team history. He has completed 68.1 percent of his passes. The previous record was Krieg’s 65.6 in 1991.
• And if he somehow throws four touchdowns on Sunday, he would move into the franchise’s top three for career touchdown passes.
Wilson’s response to such milestones is what you’d expect.
“I’m honestly not a numbers guy,” he said. “I never have been.”
The Seahawks haven’t fundamentally changed. They are still third in the NFL in both rushing yards and attempts. But more has been asked of Wilson, not only because of his natural growth in his fourth year, but also because the Seahawks have trailed in games and needed to pass more.
Wilson has already attempted more passes (455) than last year (452). If he attempts 30 passes Sunday against the Cardinals, his season average, he would finish close to 500 passes for the year — the number Bevell once said the Seahawks probably wouldn’t touch.
Wilson has done this while still doing the thing coach Pete Carroll demands more than anything else: taking care of the ball. Wilson has thrown eight interceptions this season, which is in line with his first three years: 10 interceptions in 2012, nine in 2013 and seven in 2014.
For emphasis, here are Wilson’s interception rates:
• 2015: 57 passes per interception
• 2014: 64.5 passes per interception
• 2013: 45 passes per interception
• 2012: 30 passes per interception
He is throwing more and still being as efficient, if not more efficient, than he’s ever been. His interception rate is where it should be. His yards per attempt (8.4) are the highest of his career. He has never had more passing plays of at least 20 yards.
“I think we’ve seen him continue to improve,” Carroll said. “I think that his attitude and ability to attack the challenges and to keep going at it and working hard to get better is demonstrated.
“He’s really put together probably his most productive season.”