Enough about Wilson footballs. Let’s get into the suddenly less-popular Wilson – Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks’ quarterback and the Pats QB are much alike. Their mental makeup? That’s similar. The result after 60 minutes? Similar, too. How they get that result? Ah, therein lies the difference.
Brady, bless his heart, is not what you would call a “mobile” quarterback. That’s fine. He’s managed just fine without that gift over his career.
Wilson, however, has that gift. He’s got the best legs in the NFL at the QB position, and he’s not afraid to use them. The former Wisconsin starled all quarterbacks in rushing yards this season with 849 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. He broke eight rushes for 20-plus yards. Brady had 57 rushing yards this season. (In fact, the Patriots’ leading rusher was running back Jonas Gray with a meager 412 yards.)
From a matchup standpoint, this isn’t great news for the Patriots. The Seahawks kill teams when they run the ball with Marshawn Lynch and Wilson. In fact, the Seahawks had the fewest passing attempts in the NFL this season (454), the second-most rushes (525), and most rushing yards (2762).
It makes the play-action that much more dangerous, because so much focus is on either players’ abilities on the ground.
“You try to stop the run and then you have to deal with the play-action game,” Bill Belichick said. “Certainly the running game is a big priority with both of them. Some of Wilson’s plays come on bootlegs, so he’s kind of running out of the pocket and you’re concerned about him running and then you stay back and he runs. Then you try to come up on him and the receiver uncovers and he throws it. He’s kind of trying to create that two-on-one fast break type of situation.”
The Pats dealt with Andrew Luck last week, but Wilson is a completely different beast in the run game. While Luck is hard to tackle due to his size, the 5-foot-11 Wilson uses his quickness and awareness. He’s one step ahead, and that had Belichick almost at a loss in describing that skill.
“There’s just something, I can’t really put it into words,” Belichick said. “Wilson’s just got an instinctiveness. He just knows where people are. It looks like he’s going to get tackled and he doesn’t. It kind of reminds of watching [Roger] Staubach. You think he doesn’t see them, but he sees them or somehow he just knows they’re there.”