The one clear advantage that Jacksonville has is its menacing defensive line versus Seattle’s almost non-existent offensive line. But there is a problem with that — and his name is Russell Wilson.
Wilson is fun to watch. He’s one of my favorite players in the league, and he is performing at an extremely high level right now.
Despite his lack of protection, Wilson is having an MVP-caliber season. He is constantly escaping from pressure and making plays with both his feet and his arm. Just check out this play against the Arizona Cardinals.
Wilson rolls out to his left, evades one defender and then another, scrambles backward, and then still manages to throw up a catchable ball to Doug Baldwin. The play picked up 54 yards on second down and 21 yards to go. Was it a great decision to even put that ball in the air? Maybe not, but nonetheless, Wilson made an incredible play — because that is what he does.
Over his past four games, Wilson’s numbers in the passing game are as follows: 88-139 (63.3 percent), 951 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and a 100.3 combined quarterback rating. Rushing the football, Wilson has amassed an additional 161 yards on 25 attempts (6.4 yards per carry) and added two more scores during that time frame.
On the season overall, the former Wisconsin Badger has completed 276 of 442 attempts (64.3 percent) for 3,256 yards, 26 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a rating of 96.1. He’s rushed for 432 yards on 31 attempts for three touchdowns as well. Wilson averages 271.3 yards passing per game, as well as 36 yards rushing per game.
The most mind-boggling statistic of all, though — Seattle’s starting quarterback has accounted for 29 of Seattle’s 30 offensive touchdowns this season. That is nearly 97 percent of all touchdowns scored. He’s also responsible for about 86 percent of the team’s total offensive yardage. Simply put, he is absolutely incredible.
There is one peculiar thing about Wilson, though. He tends to get off to slow starts. His second half numbers are a lot better than his first half numbers. Check this out:
First half passing stats: 135-221 (61 percent), 1,467 yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions, 6.6 yards per play average, 81.3 rating
Second half passing stats: 141-221 (63.8 percent), 1,789 yards, 19 touchdowns, three interceptions, 8.1 yards per play average, 112 rating.
That’s not all. In the last two minutes of a half, Wilson has thrown for 561 yards with five touchdowns, zero picks and a rating of 115.1. Wilson does his best work when the pressure is on and seems to explode in the second half of games,
Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks are peaking at the right time heading into the last quarter of the season. Seattle was able to take down the rolling Philadelphia Eagles last week — correctly predicted by yours truly — to give the Eagles just its second loss of the season.
One thing is for sure — this week’s game is going to be a lot tougher than last week’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. However, I don’t think Wilson has had to deal with a defense or secondary quite like Jacksonville’s yet.
The key to this game is simple in theory, but not simple in practice. If the Jaguars can shut down Russell Wilson, they will be leaving EverBank Field with a 9-4 record. If not, it could be a long day.