NFL

Is Russell Wilson the NFL's best? How Seahawks QB's numbers compare with Mahomes, Jackson

By Sports Desk September 21, 2020

Two days after asserting he was "without a doubt" the NFL's best quarterback, Russell Wilson backed up his big words with a big primetime performance.

The New England Patriots could not prevent 'Mr Unlimited' from throwing a quintet of touchdown passes, to five different receivers, before a goal-line stand from the Seattle Seahawks defense at the death earned Pete Carroll's team a 35-30 victory.

Pats head coach Bill Belichick, who doesn't throw praise around lightly, had suggested in the build-up that Wilson - a man who has never had an MVP vote in his eight-and-a-bit-year career - was the league's finest QB, but do the numbers back that up? 

Using Stats Perform data, we took a look at how Wilson's regular season and postseason numbers compare to the NFL's other leading passers since Week 11 of 2018, when reigning MVP Lamar Jackson made his first start.

 

PASSER RATING - 111.0 (1st)

Only seven QBs have posted a combined passer rating above 100 in this time frame and Wilson leads a septet of Ryan Tannehill, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Jackson, Jimmy Garoppolo and Dak Prescott. Wilson has played 28 games - the most of that group - but has attempted fewer throws (847) than both Prescott (1,000) and Mahomes (982). 

PASSING YARDAGE - 7,036 (7th)

Before the Seahawks caved in to the 'Let Russ Cook' movement in 2020, a rush-orientated offense meant he was simply not afforded as many opportunities to shine as his peers. Wilson is 10th in attempts - 198 behind leader Tom Brady (1,045), though they have played the same amount of games. It is therefore impressive that he ranks seventh in yardage, even if he is well behind leader Prescott (8,065 yards).

YARDS-PER-ATTEMPT - 8.31 (1st)

What Wilson does with those throws is a far better reflection of his talent. There is no better deep-ball thrower in the NFL than Wilson - though Mahomes' Sunday touchdown bomb to Tyreek Hill might give his case some credence - and it is no surprise to see Wilson top the yards-per-attempt list.

PASSING PLAYS OF 25-PLUS YARDS - 66 (3rd)

That big arm naturally leads to big plays - and Wilson has had 66 completions of at least 25 yards in this time frame. Only Mahomes (71) and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (68) - the very epitome of boom or bust - have more such plays.

TOUCHDOWNS - 57 (2nd) and TOUCHDOWN PERCENTAGE - 6.7% (3rd)

Mahomes (63) and Wilson are way ahead of the rest in touchdown passes thrown but the Seahawks QB shades the 2018 MVP when it comes to how many of their attempts end with TDs (6.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent). Wilson trails the uber-efficient Tannehill (7.5 per cent) and Jackson (6.9 per cent) in that category.

INTERCEPTION PERCENTAGE - 0.9% (2nd)

Not turning the ball over is another important part of being a QB and Wilson is as safe as they come on that front. Only Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers - arguably the best ever when it comes to taking care of the football - has a better interception percentage (0.7 per cent), with Wilson tossing just eight picks on 847 attempts.

COMPLETION PERCENTAGE - 66.9% (10th)

A quick look at those above Wilson here - Derek Carr, Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater - shows this stat is not as important when it comes to determining who is the NFL's best. What is more illuminating is that, again, he has a better figure than Mahomes (64.9 per cent) and Jackson (63.2 per cent).

Consider too that only Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans has had more sacks (98) than Wilson (82), and you realise that the Seattle superstar has been doing all this without a stout offensive line.

Belichick isn't often wrong, and he was probably right when he said of Wilson "I don't really see anyone better than this player".

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