For the Seahawks to beat the Panthers on Sunday, Russell Wilson needs to have his best game of 2018. Here is why.
I am not going to take up a lot of your time here. Sunday is gameday as the Seahawks play the Panthers and absolutely have to get a win to really have hopes of making the postseason. Seattle has been running the ball well this year. But against Carolina, Russell Wilson needs to be the best player on the field.
The raw statistics say a lot. Though Seattle can seemingly run the ball against any defense, the Panthers are going to load up to stop the run. And Carolina has the personnel, like linebacker Luke Kuechly, to be successful in limiting what Seattle wants to do with Chris Carson and company.
Carolina has given up the seventh fewest rushing touchdowns in 2018 with seven. The Panthers have forced the fourth most fumbles this year too. And Carolina allows the seventh fewest rushing yards per game at 98.5 yards per game.
But Carolina is 22nd in opposing QBR with a rating allowed of 96.9. Carolina is also 24th in sacks with 23. Seattle, in comparison, is 14th with 28 and basically just have Frank Clark and Jarran Reed consistently getting to the quarterback.
Wilson hasn’t had to win games on his own this season like he has in the last few. Forget weeks one and two of this year. Seattle and Brian Schottenheimer had no real idea of what to do with what they had. Since week three, the Seahawks have been run heavy and had Wilson mostly be a director of the offense instead of the entire offense.
And Wilson has played inconsistently this season. Of course, his statistics say he is having a good year, and he is. But he has also thrown two terrible pick-sixes and taken sacks by holding on to the ball too long. Wilson at times still seems to be trying to understand his true place in Schottenheimer’s offense.
Against the Panthers, Schottenheimer needs to adjust a bit and let Wilson fly his freak-flag. 12s all know Wilson plays differently than other quarterbacks. He can run well and throws on the run well. And Seattle should use the Panthers badly wanting to stop the run against them.
Schottenheimer could also go with more no huddle sets. Wilson is fantastic at improvising, of course. But he is thinking about what he is doing more this year than in previous seasons. There is no way to show this in a statistic, really, but 12s can simply see Wilson acting instead of reacting a lot of times. The first half against the Packers, Wilson threw late several times simply because you could see him holding on to the ball too long when he must have been wondering, “Do I throw it now?”
Seattle will still need to run the ball a lot against Carolina. This is the team Seattle is. But I would like to see a lot of Wilson being Russell Wilson and watching him create more instead of directing. For Seattle to improve to 6-5 with a win, Schottenheimer will just need to trust Wilson completely. And Wilson needs to have his best game of the season.