Russell Wilson Is a Freak of Nature

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) tackles Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) as Wilson throws during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) tackles Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) as Wilson throws during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

I think it’s past time to accept that Russell Wilson is not like other humans. There was one play from the Seahawks’ win in Minnesota that shows exactly why.
Trailing 9-7 with 9:10 to go, the Seahawks had a first-and-10 at the Vikings’ 29. They went play-action, with Wilson looking to roll left. However, Everson Griffen was there waiting for him. Wilson looked to escape to the right, but there was nowhere to go there. So he tried to spin back left, but Griffen didn’t bite and was instead closing in. Ultimately, Wilson ended up at the 45 yard line, in Griffen’s clutches.
If not a sack, this was sure to be intentional grounding, a play that would have left Seattle with some 12 to 15 yards to gain over the next two downs just to get back into field goal range. In desperation, Wilson (who was just outside the tackle box) tried to heave the ball out of bounds back at the line of scrimmage. Instead, he heaved it out of bounds three yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Using the awesome power of the Pythagorean Theorem (I did it! I used it in real life!), I’m estimating that this throw, with a 270-pound pass rusher on his back, traveled 39 yards in the air, with good arc on it.

Remember geometry? It’s back! (The small speck inside the blue circle is the ball, still in mid-flight.)

In the short-term, that play saved 16 yards on what would prove to be the game-winning drive. More than that, it underlines how wrong it is that every time an undersized, athletic, productive college quarterback comes into the draft, wild-eyed optimists label him another Russell Wilson.

Wilson is a true freak of nature, a spring-loaded human being with hands that (to steal a line from former DePaul basketball coach Jerry Wainwright) can palm a manhole cover. You always hear about the importance of arm strength, and because he so freakishly strong and athletic Wilson retains that arm strength on the run, while drifting back, or with a 270-pound pass rusher hanging on his back. Most 6-foot-4 quarterbacks can’t do that. And certainly no one in the under-six-foot crowd can.
I’d never say We’ll never see another Russell Wilson, because surely we will. But they won’t come around often

Russell Wilson Is a Freak of Nature