Russell Wilson may not get the publicity or hype of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but his skill and production is closer to them than you may realize.
The Seahawks' rookie signal-caller has flown under the radar for much of the season. Seattle's passing offense ranks a lowly 30th in the NFL, averaging just 187 yards per game. However, it is not deficiencies in Wilson's game that lead to low numbers, but a commitment to offensive balance.
Wilson is often overshadowed on his own team because running back Marshawn Lynch is such a dominant force. Lynch has gained 1,138 yards on the ground this season and helped ease Wilson into the role of starting quarterback.
What Wilson has done well is make the most of opportunities when they arise and he rarely makes mistakes that cost Seattle games. He has 19 touchdowns compared to just eight interceptions on the season. In other words: He has more touchdown passes than both Luck and RG3, while throwing half the interceptions of Luck.
Look at this comparison of common opponents between Wilson and Luck from Robert Littal of BlkSportsOnline:
Andrew Luck vs Russell Wilson stats against common opponents That's TD-INT ratio opened my eyes twitter.com/BlkSportsOnlin…
— Robert Littal (@BlkSportsOnline) December 9, 2012
Yes, RG3 has had more moments of sheer athletic brilliance and the story of Luck and the Colts getting into playoff contention is remarkable, but it is fair to argue that Wilson has been both more consistent and reliable than either player.
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At 7-5, the Seahawks are currently seated as a wild-card team in the NFC. Wilson has thrown just two interceptions in the last seven weeks and has passed for two or more touchdowns in each of the last five.
Luck has thrown eight interceptions the last four weeks and RG3 has thrown for 215 yards or less in four of the last five weeks. The point of these statistics is to illustrate just how close Wilson's play has been to these two quarterbacks without nearly the same acclaim.
Luck's late-game magic has been closely followed all season. He has been great in the fourth quarter and led five game-winning drives, but look at this stat about Wilson courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info:
#Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: 3rd game-winning drive this season that came in final 2 min of 4th quarter or in overtime
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 2, 2012
There is something to be said for the way Wilson has quietly kept the Seahawks relevant, and his overtime drive to win the game against Chicago in Week 13 has put the entire league on notice.
This rookie quarterback class may be highlighted by the stars at the top, but there is plenty of talent beyond just Luck and RG3.