Russell Wilson is perhaps the greatest true dual threat quarterback in football history. His cannon of an arm along with his elite athleticism creates a myriad of headaches for opposing defenses.
However, since Wilson has long proven he is one of the more elite passers in the game, Seattle needs to focus on his throwing ability and leave the running to the running backs in their Wild Card round against the Rams on Saturday. In might be imperative to whether or not Seattle wins the game.
Wilson is the best improviser in the game of football and when he can throw on the run, it's bad news for the opposition. When he tucks the ball and runs, he can make magic happen as well. However, there may be a correlation between wins and losses and how many yards Wilson collects on the ground. In order to defeat the Rams, Wilson's rushing totals may need to be minimized.
Yes, when Wilson tucks and runs, it's exciting to watch and he can pick up a key first down when the protection breaks down and extend the drive. However, there is a large difference in win percentage when Wilson runs for less than 25 yards compared to when his rushing totals exceed 25 yards. In 2020, when Wilson runs for less than 25 yards, Seattle is 6-1 including their Week 16 win against the Rams. When he rushes for 25 yards or more, Seattle's record is 6-3.
Dating back to 2015, Seattle is 38-10-1 when Wilson keeps his rushing total under 25 while their record is 24-23 when he exceeds that, with the winning percentages being .766 and .511 respectively. There could be several explanations for this. One being Wilson tends to scramble when things break down often, which is not usually a recipe for victory. He also racks up rushing yards when the defense backs off and prevents the deep ball as Seattle attempts to erase a deficit, creating easy running lanes for Wilson.
When Seattle's run game is rolling with Chris Carson and company in the backfield, Wilson doesn't need to contribute as much with his own legs. As we have all seen, a Pete Carroll-led Seahawks team tends to win a lot of games when they can successfully run the ball.
This is not to say the 32-year-old can't run anymore, because he absolutely can. His rushing total for 2020 was 513 yards, his highest mark since 2017. However, relying on Wilson's legs and needing him to mount big rushing totals does not seem to be a recipe for success.
Wilson's top three rushing games against the Rams in his career have all resulted in losses for Seattle while his five lowest rushing totals have yielded a 4-1 record. In a playoff game such as the one Seattle faces at Lumen Field against the Rams, no stone must be left unturned.
Should the Seahawks be actively seeking to limit Wilson's rushing yards to a certain total? No. But it does seem like if the trend of the game requires Wilson to run all over the yard, things are not going well for the Seahawks. The Rams do an excellent job pressuring Wilson every time these two divisional foes square off. Seattle will need to be patient on offense and not try to force things, especially with Wilson's legs.