Seattle Seahawks Analysis: Why Andrew Luck is better than Russell Wilson… for now


Well, I guess many of you took major offense to my ranking of Andrew Luck over Russell Wilson in my recent quarterback rankings from the 2012 draft class.

Let me make it very clear: in no way am I saying Russell Wilson is a bad quarterback; I did not intend the rankings to look that way. If it did look that way, as a fellow Seahawks fan, I apologize.

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But, I feel that I should take the time to explain why I ranked Luck over Wilson in a little more detail than 300 words.

I don’t think there are many quarterbacks who can perform the turnaround Luck performed in his first two seasons in the league.

Russell is obviously an extremely-gifted player if he can win a Super Bowl in just his second year in the NFL. I was able to watch Wilson at North Carolina State long before he was on the map, and loved his poise, accuracy and mobility. When it was Matt Flynn or Russell Wilson for the starting quarterback spot I wanted Wilson.

I have also watched virtually every single game Andrew Luck has played both in the NFL and during his time at Stanford, and I was impressed with him just as I was with Wilson.

Andrew Luck was far from perfect last season, but Russell Wilson wasn’t perfect either. Luck threw for less than 200 yards four times; Wilson did that same thing six times.

Does Wilson have a better completion percentage than Luck?

Yes he does, but take this into account: Luck has thrown the ball exactly 397 more times than Wilson. Due to this, Luck’s career completion percentage is bound to be lower than Wilson. And apparently Luck’s passing yards are meaningless and inflated so I shouldn’t have to address that.

Does Wilson have a better yards per attempt average than Luck?

Yes, but Pep Hamilton’s third down offense consisted of the Colts’ below-average receivers running behind the first down marker. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this Bleacher Report article.

Does Wilson have a worse offensive line than Luck?

Nope. Although Luck was sacked 32 times against Wilson’s 44, Luck took a total of 237 hits to Wilson’s 163 (via Football Outsiders Almanac), exactly 74 more hits than Wilson. Poor offensive scheme and poor line play forced Luck to hold on to the ball and absorb more hits last season. If Seattle’s offensive line was the worst pass-blocking offensive line in the NFL, shouldn’t Wilson have taken more hits than Luck?

And then of course, there’s the more-with-less argument.

Luck inherited a 2011 Colts offense that ranked 28th in points, 30th in yards, 31st in first downs and 26th in rushing yards. He inherited a 2011 Colts defense ranking 28th in points allowed, 25th in yards allowed, 30th in forced turnovers and 29th in rushing yards allowed.

He took that squad that went 2-14 and in one year, with virtually the same roster, single-handedly led the Colts to an 11-5 record in the AFC South. The great Peyton Manning couldn’t even do that (he went 3-13 in his rookie season and threw 28 picks).

And Luck did it again last year without Dwayne Allen, the team’s number one tight end the season previous, and Reggie Wayne for the final nine games of the season. He led to Colts to the playoffs again with Hilton and a group of young, unproven receivers: Coby Fleener, Griff Whalen, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Lavonn Brazill.

He had no running game to support him after the Colts traded their 2014 first round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Trent Richardson the Friendly Ghost and veteran Ahmad Bradshaw got hurt. He also played behind a porous defense that gave up 20-plus points 10 times in 18 games (the defense gave up more than 40 points in both playoff games).

Luck is the Colts. The Colts are Luck. He has to win games by himself; no running game, no defense and a young group of wide receivers.

“Russell Wilson is getting closer and closer to Andrew Luck with each stellar performance.” – Thomas Oide

Wilson, on the other hand, came into the league with a lethal running game and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

In 2013, Wilson had Golden Tate, the incredibly reliable Doug Baldwin, and one of the best running backs in the NFL in Marshawn Lynch.

Oh and what’s that defense called? The Legion of Boom? The best defense in the NFL featuring Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, Malcolm Smith, Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett?

Right, he had those guys too. And with a defense like that, essentially a lead of any size is safe.

I cannot deny that Wilson has had better postseasons than Andrew; Wilson has made the playoffs twice and won a Super Bowl in his first two seasons.

Andrew has thrown eight interceptions in his three postseason appearances, but three of them occurred in the miraculous 45-44 comeback win over the Chiefs and another one was in garbage time against the Patriots in the divisional round.

In his rookie year, he lost to the future Super Bowl champions in the Baltimore Ravens.

Can his playoff performances be classified as laughable? Sure. But he is only 1-2 in the playoffs, and at least he can win a postseason game (*cough cough* Tony Romo).

But again, Luck’s surrounding cast in the last two season is pretty laughable as well.

And what wins championships and guarantees success in the postseason? DEFENSE. Seattle, Baltimore, New York Giants, Green Bay, and New Orleans. Last time I checked, Indy doesn’t have a defense like Seattle.

And in the regular season, he’s been nothing short of fantastic. I took that into account in my rankings just as much as postseason performance. Luck’s success in the regular season and lackluster performances in the postseason reminds me of Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.


And I mean that. Russell Wilson is a wildly talented player with an unlimited ceiling; he could easily overtake Luck in my personal rankings this year. Seeing Wilson’s performances in the preseason, it’s looking like he is primed for a massive season.

This year, I can no longer make the more-with-less argument for Luck. Reggie Wayne is back and better than ever, Fleener and Hilton are looking much improved, Hakeem Nicks looks ready for a bounce-back season, and the defense should be at least a little bit improved.

Anything less than an AFC South championship and an AFC Divisonal appearance from Luck would warrant Russell Wilson becoming the top QB from the 2012 Draft.

For now, at least before the 2014 NFL season, Andrew Luck is king. But Russell Wilson is his right hand man, and he his lurking in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to rise to the throne.

Notes: I am thinking of doing a rankings between Wilson and his fellow 2012 quarterbacks every week based on their performances, let me know in the comments section if you would like to see that. And again, apologies to Seahawk Nation for taking my rankings the wrong way.