The Offensive Rookie of the Year chase in the National Football League is essentially a two-horse race between the top two picks in last April's NFL draft, but after another strong performance by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, not only should he be firmly in the debate but the argument can be made that the former Wisconsin and North Carolina State standout should be the clubhouse leader.
Granted, Wilson's numbers in Week 14 were far from eye-popping. He completed 7-of-13 passes for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception while adding 12 more yards on the ground. However, it's also hard to read too much into those numbers in and of themselves, as Sunday's game with the Arizona Cardinals was over almost before it started and Wilson was pulled in the second half.
One thing that is for certain is that Wilson has been playing lights-out football as of late. Sunday's interception was Wilson's first since Week 8, and over that stretch Wilson has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
It's gone largely unnoticed by most outside the Pacific Northwest, but Wilson has posted numbers this season that compare very favorably with Robert Griffin of the Washington Redskins and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, the presumptive one-two in the Rookie of the Year voting this year.
Wilson's 20 touchdown passes lead all rookie signal-callers this year, and while Wilson trails Griffin in most other statistical categories, he has a higher quarterback rating and completion percentage than Luck with far fewer interceptions.
Wilson's stellar rookie season may be flying under the radar with the fans and media, but it certainly hasn't with his teammates, and as fullback (and former college quarterback) Michael Robinson recently told KOMO-News, he and the Seahawks are well aware of what they have in Wilson:
"You see when rookies come in, you just watch them and he was a guy, he didn't try too hard to fit in. He just worked and kept working and kept working and before you knew it he was our starting quarterback," Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. "You turn around and now he's making plays and just growing and improving every week. It's a quarterback-driven league and I'm glad we've got a good one."
Frankly, unless Robert Griffin's knee injury is serious (and I pray that it isn't), there's very little chance that Wilson will finish higher than third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He's fighting an uphill battle against the pre-draft hype surrounding Griffin and Luck, the media glare of the nation's capital and the drama of the "Chuckstrong" story in Indianapolis.
With that said, just because Russell Wilson won't win doesn't mean he shouldn't, and perhaps a deep playoff run will serve as a consolation prize of sorts.
Something tells me Russell Wilson would take that.