Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) carries the ball for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Just How Good Was Russell Wilson in 2012?

In case you couldn’t tell from my crazy-long thesis on Breno Giacomini a couple days ago, I’m a data driven individual. Even when I’m not working on an article for 12thMR, I still find myself looking over NFL and Seahawks related data just for the fun of it.

Yesterday, I started looking at some Russell Wilson stats, and then comparing those to the other NFL QBs and discovered something interesting: The numbers show that he played as well last season as it seemed he did.  That isn’t always the case, but it definitely is here.

So lets take a look at some of the stats that are out for evaluating QBs. Data comes from Pro Football Focus, STATS LLC, and ESPN.

Overall QB Rating

Before we break it down into some of the individual pieces that make up QB play, lets start by looking at a few of the different meta-stats that measure QB play.

QB Rating: 100.0 – 5th Best in the NFL

PFF QB Rating: 98.32 – 4th Best in the NFL

PFF Performance Ratings: + 39.4 – 5th Best in the NFL

Total QBR: 69.6 – 8th Best in the NFL

Accuracy

Completion percentage the common metric for gaging accuracy, but it doesn’t account for things like spiked passes, balls thrown away, dropped balls, etc.. That  makes it an incomplete measure of how true QB accuracy.

Adjusting for these factors, Wilson’s accuracy percentage from 2012 comes out to be 77.1%, which was the 4th best in the NFL.

The numbers also look good when you look just at deep passes (pass where the target is at least 20 yards downfield). In Those cases, his accuracy percent is 48.4%, which was 5th best in the NFL

Under Pressure

Only one QB in the NFL (Mike Vick) was under pressure often often than Wilson when dropping back to pass. Wilson was under pressure on 39.2% of his pass attempts. This had as much to do with his holding onto the ball too long as it did the offensive line, but more on that in a minute.

NFL QBs have to be able to handle pressure and still perform. Wilson had no problem in this area. When under pressure, his accuracy percentage was still 66.0%, which was 5th best in the NFL.

Red Zone

To be truly successful in the NFL, a QB can’t just be able to complete passes between the 20′s. He must be able to also do so inside the redzone where the defenses get more compact and the passing windows get smaller. Failure to do so means getting FGs instead of TDs, which usually translates to winning less games.

Inside the 20, Wilson’s QB Rating was 107.5, which was 3rd best then NFL. Inside the 10 yard line it drops down a little to 100.0, which is still 6th best in the NFL.

4th Quarter

I’m not really into 4th quarter come backs as a measure for QBs. There’s too many examples of players who don’t play well early in the game, forcing the 4th quarter situation. I don’t think we should give people credit for surviving a situation that they created by playing poorly. I also know that many people don’t agree with me. So lets take a look anyways.

Wilson’s 4th quarter QB Rating was 102.7, which was 5th best in the NFL. I really wish that PFF and total QBR splits like this were available, but they aren’t at this time.

Conclusion

All you have to do is look at all the bolded phases where his stats are compared to his NFL peers and you’ll know what I’m going to write here. We all knew Wilson was good last season, but has it really sunk in just how well he played? I’m not sure it has.

Also keep in mind that the first 3 and half games were fairly brutal. Wilson showed flashes of what was to come, but he also showed that he was a rookie and the numbers were pretty bad. I remember looking at PFF’s performance ratings after 3 games and seeing Wilson sitting at 31st in the league, just above Blaine Gabbert.

This is significant because it shows that over the final 12 games, he played better than any of the stats listed above. The stats from those final 12 games are being “weighted down” by the first 4, and yet his final numbers are still among the league’s best. If only the stats were available over just the final 8 or 12 games, I’m guessing Wilson would be even higher in the rankings in every category.

Russell Wilson is very good. You heard it here first.

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