Russell Wilson has a way of making himself “Mr. Relevant”. When he came to Wisconsin looking for another year of college football after trying minor league baseball following his junior year at NC State, within 2 weeks he was the starter and elected captain of the team. In the early days of spring training with the Seahawks the wet behind the ears round 3 rookie so impressed Pete Carroll with his play that he earned himself the right to be part of the Quarterback competition with Tavaras Jackson and newly acquired veteran free agent Matt Flynn. Wilson went on to impress the coaching staff enough in his backup roll in his first two preseason games he was able to earn a start in game three vs. Kansas City. He went on to dismantle the Chiefs with his aggressive running and passing style and proved he could do it against the first team defense. That performance earned him the starting job with the Seahawks.
Wilson’s early regular season starts were not impressive, but he did take care of the ball and managed games pretty well as he learned to read defenses and got used to the speed of the NFL. His mistakes were few and not too serious. Carroll insisted this slow start was by design. Still, fans were not convinced. They wanted more from the QB position and Flynn supporters were making themselves heard. It was obvious Wilson was improving with every start but didn’t quite have it all figured out through the first 7 weeks of the season. Carroll kept his fledgling QB on a short leash for the first half of the season. Most games Wilson threw fewer than 25 passes but people were asking for more. There was never a loss you could really pin on Wilson, yet the clamor for Flynn continued.
Around week 8 it seemed like Carroll let out a little more rope on his new QB. He allowed Wilson to have more influence on the game with his passing and Russell responded. Wilson went 25 for 35 for 236 yards and 2 TDs against the Lions. That game was a loss, but it was a loss the defense got the blame for. For Wilson it was a breakout performance. Since then the Hawks have gone 3 for 4, with the Bears vaunted defense being the latest and most significant victim of an increasingly relevant Russell Wilson.
A quick look at the stats shows Wilson ahead of Luck and RGIII in passer rating for the months of October (90), November (128), and thus far in December (104). Wilson has 19 touchdowns (more than Luck and Griffen), and has winning drives in the last possession of the game in three games. With Wilson at the helm the Seahawks have also beaten NFL top rung QBs like Arron Rogers, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler. Wilson’s performance against the Bears has caught the attention of all the major sports media including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, SportsNation, Yahoo Sports and others. Those stories will start showing up in Fridays’ sports pages. Oh, and one other thing; Russell Wilson won player of the week in a week when he, RGIII, and Andrew Luck drove their teams to last minute victories. Why? Because Russell did it twice in the same game.
You can make a good argument Offensive Rookie of the Year honors will go to either Luck or RGIII using a number of the various rating categories, but you can’t ignore Wilson. His numbers are similar, his contribution to his team is just as large, and his leadership is unquestioned. He’s in the conversation now, kind of like when he got himself into Seattle’s QB competition during spring training. Expect “Mr. Relevant” to be in position to step up should either RGIII or Luck falter.