As you probably know, Russell Wilson has never received a single NFL MVP vote, let alone come close to winning the award. And yes, NFL Recap agrees: that’s an utter travesty. But now that Wilson has started the 2020 season with 610 yards, a (gulp) 82.5% completion rate, nine TDs, and a pair of wins over the tough Patriots and the not-so-tough Falcons, it’s time to start revving up the Wilson MVP bandwagon.[sv slug=tanier]
Russell Wilson Recap vs. the New England Patriots
Sunday night’s 35-30 Seattle Seahawks victory over the New England Patriots began with a Wilson pick-6: a high throw glanced off tight end Greg Olsen’s fingertips and into the hand of defender Devin McCourty. Wilson caught fire soon after that, completing 21-of-28 passes and delivering touchdown strikes to five different receivers (Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, Freddie Swain, Chris Carson); there have been seasons in which Wilson didn’t even appear to have five different receivers.
Wilson needed every bit of the production, as the Patriots scored 13 fourth quarter points and drove to the goal line at the game’s end. Only a last second goal-line stuff of Cam Newton by L.J. Collier preserved the Seahawks win.
What this means for Russell Wilson
Wilson is locked in a back-and-forth battle with Aaron Rodgers for the all-time lead in quarterback rating. Rodgers currently has the highest career rating in history at 102. 6, Wilson is second at 102.0, and Drew Brees entered Monday night a distant third at 98.4.
No one pays much attention to passer rating, and Patrick Mahomes will trounce everyone on the list when he throws enough passes to become eligible, but the rating is a reminder of how great Wilson has been for almost a decade: as a dual-threat, as a gritty clutch leader guy, and as a pure passer. He has never quite gotten the credit he deserves on that third point.
Wilson keeps getting upstaged in the MVP balloting by Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady or someone else, and that’s fine. But the fact that he has never gotten a single measly vote is a sign of how easy it is to overlook and undervalue Wilson. It’s also an indictment of the Seahawks coaching staff and front office, which surrounded him with an offensive line full of mediocre prospects and position-change experiments, built subpar receiving corps, and grew too fond of establish-the-run tactics in the second half of the 2010s.
Wilson became the guy who runs around the sandlot and throws last-second touchdowns to squeak his team into a Wild Card berth every year, not someone at the top of the standings or statistical leaderboards.
This year may be different because the Seahawks may be different: better weapons, better blocking, slightly updated scheme. Their defense is hoping that the uniforms will fool you into thinking they’re good, but a few more high-scoring shootouts like Sunday’s game against the Patriots are good for an MVP campaign.
Jackson, Rodgers, and others are also dealing so far this year, but let’s make sure Wilson stays in the MVP conversation if he keeps playing at a high level. His team is likely to remain in the playoff conversation as well.
What’s next for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks?
The Seahawks host the Dallas Cowboys next week in Week 3. The over-under opened at 49.5. The way these two offenses and defenses are playing, it may move by the end of the week to 99.5.
Mike Tanier is the Senior NFL Writer for Pro Football Network and the author of NFL Recap. You can follow him on Twitter: @MikeTanier.