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Opposing QB Stat Tracker: Week 5

Is Russell Wilson in Decline?

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data.

For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. Yes, O-Line, receivers, and play-calling impact these numbers but they are primarily QB measures. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)

NOTE: All references to rankings are of the top 32 QBs by attempts through current week.

Overall, Russell Wilson is a good QB, but his level of play throughout his career has been erratic. The following chart shows that at times he has been near the best in the league, but then that level of play crashes back to just average production. He is currently in one of those down-cycles that started about mid-2019.

For the bulk of his career, Wilson played on Seahawk teams that were known for 3 things:

  1. A run-first offense
  2. A poor O-line
  3. A great defense

He wasn’t happy with how he was being used in Seattle, so he went to Denver to see if he could improve his situation and so far he has seen:

  1. A run-first offense
  2. A poor O-line
  3. A great defense

So, it’s not really surprising that he picked up in Denver pretty much where he left off in Seattle.


Mouseover for definitions: opd, edp, arsr, ttt, adot, 20+, cmp%, cpoe, ay/c, yac, yacoe, ypa, pr%, ta%, scr%, sk%, aa%, ny/d, to%, 1st%, td%, rze, orze, 20+e, psr, epa/d

Through 4 games, he has faced pretty easy passing defenses (27th opd). However, Denver stubbornly wants to be a run-first team, even though the quality of the Denver run game is poor (25th edp, 27th arsr).

As per his whole career, Wilson holds on to the ball a long time (8th ttt), hoping to find the deep pass, which he often does. He has the 6th highest rate of passes >20 yards and is the 5th most successful on those passes (6th 20+, 5th 20+e) . Those deep shots partially drive the 8th longest passing distance overall (8th adot).

However, his accuracy is down this year (20th cpoe), which drags his completed depth down a bit (10th ay/c). Wilson is usually very accurate, so perhaps this is just getting used to his new receivers, who are getting about average yac relative to passing depth (16th yacoe).

Wilson’s YPA is nothing special ranking 14th, however his characteristically high sack rate continues (9th sk%). This drags his overall yardage efficiency down to league average (15th ny/d).

Throughout his career, his turnover rate has been low and 2022 is no exception (31st to%). Another trend that has carried over from Seattle is that he doesn’t throw many first downs (25th 1st%). This is the Achilles’ heel of his game: he is always looking for the deep ball and overlooks the underneath options that will simply move the chains.

So far, his TD rate is low (29th td%), which is unusual. So, his overall efficiency isn’t getting any boost there. He is 17th in epa/d and only 29th in pass success rate, which is again a demonstration of him focusing on the big explosive play as opposed to just being consistently good from down to down.


Since his injury last year, he has only had a few good outings. In only 3 of his last 13 games was he above average in all 4 of the top passing stats.


His depth of target is all over the place, but almost always longer than average. Again, he is always looking for the deep shot. He is not always successful, so his actual completion depth will often dip below average.

This chart shows how dangerous he is. When he does throw TDs, it is usually from far away.


Courtland Sutton is really the only receiver Wilson has connected with, but Jerry Jeudy has been a capable value option.


Historically, Wilson has been one of the most accurate QBs, but this year he has been just OK.


He has been getting rid of the ball faster than he usually does, but based on his depth of target he is still above average in time to throw.


Only his deep passing has found significantly above average value. Take away his deep shots and he is completely beatable.