Monday, November 15, 2021

Russell Wilson's Return a Low-Rated Affair

 By Eric Goska

A pair of Packers fans recite "Tim the Diehard Packer Fan"
ahead of Green Bay's game with Seattle.

The Green Bay Packers did a number on Russell Wilson.

And that number was one of the lowest in the illustrious 10-year career of the Seattle quarterback.
The Packers’ defense came up stout in holding the Seahawks to a season-low 208 yards at Lambeau Field. In pitching a 17-0 shutout, the unit gave up a paltry 20 yards in plays run beyond midfield.
Oft-maligned, Green Bay’s defense has clamped down of late. It yielded 3.76 yards per play in a 13-7 loss to Kansas City and was even stingier (3.52) in blanking the Seahawks.
Not since 2012 had the unit held back-to-back opponents to fewer than four yards a play.
Wilson ran smack dab into that improvement. He completed 20 of 40 passes for 161 yards with two interceptions. In failing to find the end zone, he finished with a passer rating of 39.7.
For comparison’s sake, any one of the 78,235 patrons in attendance could have taken the field, thrown incomplete and come away with a rating of 39.6.
To be fair, Wilson was coming off a significant finger injury that forced him to miss three games. His last pass had come against the Rams on October 7.
That said, this is Russell Wilson, the fourth highest-rated passer of all time. You know, the guy leading the league in passer rating (prior to Sunday) with a mark of 125.3.
Green Bay kept him well below that lofty figure. After peaking at 87.7 in the second quarter, Wilson’s rating trended downward.
End-zone interceptions by Kevin King and Adrian Amos torpedoed that number even further. Coming into the game, the quarterback had been picked off just once in 125 attempts.
Only once did Wilson complete more than two passes in a row, that a run of four late in the first half. Only once did Wilson come away with more than 20 yards, that a 28-yarder to Will Dissly in the second quarter in which 24 yards were tacked on after the catch.
Twice Seattle went backward on passes. A short throw to Dissly on a flea flicker lost six when linebacker De’Vondre Campbell halted the tight end. Then, on what was essentially a forward handoff to D’Wayne Eskridge, the wide receiver was upended by cornerback Rasul Douglass for a 4-yard loss.
In holding the Seahawks to 133 net yards passing, Green Bay defensed a season-high seven passes with safety Adrian Amos coming away with three. The Packers also dumped Wilson three times, with Preston Smith, Rashan Gary and Whitney Mercilus each getting a sack.
The Packers made life miserable for Wilson beyond midfield. On Green Bay’s side of the field, he completed five of 16 attempts for 24 yards with two picks to compile a rating of 1.04.
Attempting an abundance of passes is not the best route to victory over the Packers. Green Bay is 101-32-2 (.756) when an opposing quarterback throws 40 or more.
When those 40 fail to include a touchdown toss, the odds get worse. Wilson became the 23rd opposing quarterback to throw that often without reaching the end zone. Green Bay is 21-4-1 (.827) when that happens.
Down 17-0 with less than two minutes remaining and virtually no chance to win, Wilson played on. Perhaps the quarterback was hoping to avoid being shut out for the first time in 150 starts. Perhaps he was hoping to put together something on which the team could build in the coming weeks.
Whatever the rationale, Wilson completed 5 of 11 passes for 51 yards to close out the game. It was not enough to boost his rating past 40, a number he had failed to surpass only three times previously in 149 regular-season starts.
Forty Below
The nine quarterbacks who attempted 40 or more passes in a regular-season game against the Packers and were held to a passer rating of less than 40.
   Rate       Player                      Team               Date                            Result
    17.9        Scott Mitchell             Lions                  Nov. 2, 1997               GB won, 20-10
    22.3       Jake Plummer            Cardinals          Sept. 24, 2000           GB won, 29-3
    30.5       Matthew Stafford      Lions                  Nov. 26, 2009            GB won, 34-12
    32.6       Rich Gannon              Vikings              Oct. 28, 1990              GB won, 24-10
    34.1       Jim Everett                 Rams                  Sept. 5, 1993              GB won, 36-6
    34.2      John Brodie                49ers                  Nov. 19, 1967              GB won, 13-0
    37.0      Joey Harrington         Lions                  Sept. 14, 2003            GB won, 31-6
    38.3      Karl Sweetan              Lions                  Oct. 30, 1966              GB won, 31-7
    39.7      Russell Wilson           Seahawks          Nov. 14, 2021              GB won, 17-0


  1. ....superb article Eric, looking forward to next week. The hated Vikings take on the Pack, and no doubt you will have some interesting aspects to the rivalry.

  2. Great article! How far back did you go when rating the quarterbacks?