To see the full list of the 20 best Seahawks in 2012, click here.
At first glance, ranking Russell Wilson as the 4th-best Seahawk of 2012 seems a little low. He’s the new face of the franchise! He’s the Quarterback of the Future! He plays the most important position in all of professional sports! He led this team, as a rookie 3rd round pick, to a 4-win improvement over the previous season, then into the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs!
Look, I hear all that – mostly because it’s coming from my own head – and I understand there will be those who disagree with my ranking. But, you know what? Don’t be a rookie and stink it up the first month of the season. Don’t go to the brink where the team and everyone in Seattle is looking to second-guess you and the head coach. Don’t get to the point where everyone is seriously considering putting in Matt Flynn.
After four games, Russell Wilson was 2-2. He was THIS close to being 1-3, but thankfully the replacement refs got the call right in the Green Bay game and we were spared such an indignity. But, the Seahawks were both 0-2 on the road and 0-2 within the division. Against the likes of the Cardinals and the Rams, the dregs of the NFC West. Granted, they were road games, but those were two games the Seahawks SHOULD have won. Especially Arizona. We HAD them. Now, I won’t exactly blame Wilson for that loss, but I can’t sit here and say he did everything he could do; mostly because the coaching staff wouldn’t LET him do everything he could do. Same goes for St. Louis. Though, after the Rams game – the game that put us at that 2-2 mark, at the crossroads of our 2012 season – you could very well make the case that Russell Wilson was actively COSTING us games. His performance against those Rams was a real stinker. 0 TDs, 3 interceptions, 160 yards passing (his 4th consecutive game under 200 yards passing).
That game put Wilson securely on the hot seat, with a follow-up road game in Carolina. Pete Carroll gave him the start, but if he didn’t start improving on some things, everyone in Seattle wondered who would be our quarterback the next week at home against New England.
Wilson was far from outstanding against the Panthers, but he got the job done. He was accurate, he was better on 3rd down, he seemed to be more in control of the offense. That was the game that changed everything. A game that ended with a 16-12 Seahawks victory.
Many will look to the next week, against the Patriots, as the turning point, but if he didn’t do what he did against Carolina, who knows if there even would have been a Russell Wilson game against the Patriots?! We might be looking at a Matt Flynn-led team that took the Seahawks to the playoffs; you never know. But, yeah, against the Patriots we saw a big step forward in Wilson’s play. That’s when I really remember the long ball being an effective tool against defenses. Yeah, the Patriots’ defense was terrible, but Wilson was still the guy out there making the throws. The fact that we were able to overcome a 13-point deficit in the 4th quarter against a Super Bowl contender showed everyone that this kid is for real. The Seahawks were off and running after that (even though they would go on to lose their next two games to fall back to 4-4 on the season).
The offense consistently improved from that Carolina game onward (except for that lone blip in San Francisco where a few receivers suffered from a huge case of the drops). It’s no coincidence that the offense started improving just as Russell Wilson started improving (just as the coaching staff finally took off his leash). From Week 5 onward, this was Russell Wilson’s team, and he showed brilliant flashes of what he’s capable of going forward.
You could even make the case that from Week 5 onward Russell Wilson was the best Seahawks player. Sure, I’ll buy that I guess. But, a season isn’t 12 weeks; it’s 16. And for the full 16 weeks, Russell Wilson was NOT consistently the best player on this team. Though, I bet it won’t be very long AT ALL (like, 2013) before he IS the best player on this team.
This certainly won’t be the last time I masturbatorily gush about Russell Wilson this offseason, so consider this a little taste of what’s surely to come.