NFC West Rivalry And Russell Wilson’s MVP Case

0

When the Seattle Seahawks hosted the Los Angles Rams at CenturyLink Field last Thursday, there was a lot on the line for both teams, setting the stage for a primetime showdown between two would-be NFC contenders.

Coming off a resounding win over the Arizona Cardinals, our Seahawks looked to carry that momentum forward to challenge for the division and prove their 3-1 record was earned. Meanwhile, the Rams were rebounding from a surprising loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which called their divisional supremacy into question.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

The game opened with each team testing their offensive will against stout defensive resolve. The Rams kicked two field goals in the first quarter before Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson unveiled his latest magic trick by completing a truly extraordinary throw on the run to leading receiver Tyler Lockett in the back corner of the endzone. 

In the second quarter, each team put up points through the air, with Wilson finding rookie D.K. Metcalf for a 40-yard bomb and Rams quarterback Jared Goff locating his go-to wideout Cooper Kupp for a touchdown moments before halftime.

The Rams made key adjustments during halftime, resulting in star running back Todd Gurley rushing his way into the endzone twice in the third quarter. But between both of Gurley’s scores, Wilson added another passing TD, this time to David Moore to keep the score competitive. 

Finally, in true Seahawks fashion, it all came down to the fourth quarter. After both teams added field goals, the Hawks were five points down. Then, with two and a half minutes left to play, Wilson utilized his legs to lure the defense up to clear space for a soft pass to running back Chris Carson for a bobbled-but-caught touchdown to take the Hawks ahead by one point.

And with minimal time left on the clock, Goff took the Rams downfield quickly to set up a Greg Zuerlein 44-yard field goal that he narrowly missed. It was an epic conclusion to TNF.

RUSSELL WILSON MVP

For his part, Russell Wilson was incredible, again. Of course, the stats are impressive, as he completed 17 of 23 for 268 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Compare that to Goff, who only connected on 29 of his 49(!) attempts for 395 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. That contrast of efficiency and effectiveness says so much about the remarkable talents that #3 brings to the Hawks.

Moreover, Wilson’s 2019 season is dominating other quarterbacks across the league. His completions lead the NFL at 72.9%, also the best of his career, and his passer rating is 118.7, which is good for second in the league. That’s absolutely MVP-caliber play through 5 weeks of football.

After six seasons playing together, Seahawks starting center Justin Britt knows Wilson as well as anyone and this is how he described his quarterback in 2019. “I’m not big in looking at stats and all that, all I want to do is win the game, but he has done a tremendous job leading us in the right direction and staying true to he is, which forces us to be true to who we are. 

“Just the way he comes to work and the way he goes about his business, I think his leadership is the biggest thing that just keeps growing year after year.”*

Beyond Wilson’s leadership, what really makes him so impressive is the unique way he plays the quarterback position. He can hang in the pocket or move outside the pocket fluidly, and in either case, he always keeps his eyes and attention downfield. He’ll beat you with his arm (Lockett TD), with his legs (Carson TD), and best of all, with his head—by staying relaxed, focused, and fighting to win on every single snap.

Only 5 weeks into the 2019 season, it’s impossible to know who will win the MVP award, but with this masterful win, Wilson certainly planted his flag in the conversation. He’s arguably competing with at least phenom Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and/or Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey who both have solid cases of their own MVP candidacy. We’ll have to see how the next several weeks go before we can make any concrete predictions, but if the Hawks head into their week 11 BYE with Wilson still hanging in (if not leading) the discussion, the MVP calls will be louder than ever before.

NFC WEST RIVALRY

In terms of the NFC West division moving forward, the Seahawks are in control of their own destiny. Their next 5 opponents are at the Cleveland Browns, home against the Baltimore Ravens, at the Atlanta Falcons, home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and finally at the San Francisco 49ers before their BYE week. Each one of those matchups is winnable, but they’ll likely falter in at least one of those games along the way. Even so, if the Seahawks can take a well-deserved BYE week break with an 8-2 or 7-3 record, I think we’ll all feel excited about their playoff chances—maybe as a wildcard, but maybe as a division winner.

It’ll depend a lot on the rest of the NFC West, where the Hawks are currently in 2nd behind the undefeated 49ers. Might these resurgent 49ers reenergize the best rivalry in the NFL between San Francisco and Seattle? The dangerous 49ers may have played one less game than the Seahawks (or Rams / Cardinals for that matter), but wins are wins, and they haven’t failed to walk away in victory yet.

So, while it’s a long road to the playoffs, and the 49ers could easily run out of steam down the road, you must respect the way they’re winning; by running the ball and defense. Does that remind you of anyone?

As the weeks pass, and the wins stack-up, I believe the contenders (Hawks/Rams) will separate themselves from the pretenders (49ers/Cardinals), adding much-needed clarity to the rest of the season for the NFC West. However, if I’m wrong, we could easily be looking at a 3-way battle for the division title, with the 49ers right in the middle of things.

Regardless of what the Rams, 49ers, or Cardinals do in their upcoming matchups, the Seahawks’ road to division champions is clear. Prepare each week for the contest in front of you, fight with passion for four full quarters, and win the day on offense, defense, and special teams. If they can do that (or most of it), the Seattle Seahawks are primed for games in January.

*Source: https://www.seahawks.com/news/seahawks-quarterback-russell-wilson-off-to-his-best-start-ever-in-2019

Share.

About Author

Jon Aiken

Born and raised in Seattle, Jon developed a deep love for the Mariners and Seahawks and continues to watch, analyze, and discuss them on a daily basis. As a professional advertising copywriter, the blending of these two loves (sports/words) seemed like a natural creative evolution. He recently moved south to Tacoma, fully embracing his new hometeam, the Rainers.

Leave A Reply