BY Steve Rudman 11:24AM 10/01/2013

Seahawks’ Wilson disproves value of QB stat

The Seahawks won Sunday despite Russell Wilson’s 49.7 passer rating, one of only seven wins in franchise history in which the Seattle QB posted 50.0 or worse.

Russell Wilson was saddled with a poor passer rating Sunday in Houston through no fault of his own, but made several drive-extending plays in leading Seattle to a 23-20 win. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks, Saints, Chiefs, Broncos and Patriots all reached the quarter pole 4-0, equaling the most 4-0 teams in any season in NFL history (there were also five 4-0 teams in 1968, 2003 and 2009). All of the 4-0 clubs — except Seattle — received big passing games by their quarterbacks to remain undefeated.

Denver’s Peyton Manning threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns in the Broncos’ 52-20 victory over the Eagles, giving him 16 TD passes with no interceptions, which ties Milt Plum’s 1960 record for Cleveland for most scoring throws to start a season without a pick. Manning finished the win with a 146.0 passer rating.

More efficient than spectacular, Kansas City’s Alex Smith hurled three touchdowns passes in the Chiefs’ 30-7 plunking of the Giants. His passer rating: 84.2, not great but better than average.

Tom Brady threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns in New England’s 30-28 victory over Atlanta. Completing 65.5 percent of his throws, Brady finished with a rating of 119.8.

Drew Brees completed 30 of 39 Monday night for 413 yards with 4 TDs and no interceptions in New Orleans’ 38-17 victory over Miami. Brees matched his own NFL records with his ninth consecutive game with at least 300 passing yards and his 10th in a row with at least 25 completions. His rating: 144.5.

Given what Russell Wilson couldn’t do as a passer Sunday playing behind an offensive line missing three starters, it’s remarkable the Seahawks were able to overcome a 20-3 halftime and 14-point fourth-quarter deficits to join the 4-0 elites.

Wilson’s line, in contrast to the others, ranked by passer rating:

Quarterback Team Opp. Att. Cmp. YDS TDs INT Rate
Peyton Manning Broncos Eagles 34 28 327 4 0 146.0
Drew Brees Saints Dolphins 39 30 413 4 0 144.5
Tom Brady Patriots Falcons 31 20 316 2 0 119.8
Alex Smith Chiefs Giants 41 24 288 3 2 84.2
Russell Wilson Seahawks Texans 23 12 123 0 1 49.7

The NFL’s Passer Rating System (a perfect mark is 158.3) attempts to measure a quarterback’s effectiveness strictly as a thrower by calculating his completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions.

If a receiver drops a perfectly thrown ball, the quarterback’s rating suffers. If the offensive line can’t keep the likes of J.J. Watt out of the quarterback’s face, as was the case Sunday in Houston, the quarterback’s rating plunges. If the quarterback gets sacked or hit 16 times in 34 dropbacks, Wilson’s sorry lot Sunday, the passer rating reflects it through no fault of the quarterback.

Inadequate as the passer rating system is in measuring a quarterback’s entire contribution (Pete Carroll was right in his Sunday presser when he said Wilson’s numbers “didn’t matter”), it says a lot about Wilson that he could win a game in which he was saddled with the lowest single-game passer rating of his career, 49.7.

The Seahawks have played 584 (284 wins, 300 losses) regular-season games in 37+ seasons. In only seven did Seattle come out on top when its quarterback (minimum 20 passes) had a rating of 50.0 or worse, as Wilson did Sunday. Dave Krieg (1981-91) quarterbacked two, including — and no credit to Krieg — a 19-7 victory over Kansas City in the Kingdome Oct. 21, 1990.

Krieg finished with a 9.2 mark that day, the worst by a winning quarterback in franchise history (the Seahawks won with four Norm Johnson field goals and a 4-yard TD run by John L. Williams).

The following are the seven games won by the Seahawks in which their starting quarterback finished with a passer rating under 50.0:

Date QB Foe Rate Win Skinny
10/21/90 Dave Krieg Chiefs 9.2 19-7 132 yards, 0 TDs, 4 picks
12/13/98 Jon Kitna Chargers 35.1 38-17 140 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
12/26/04 Trent Dilfer Cardinals 38.6 24-21 Hit on 10 of 26, 38.4%
12/18/77 Jim Zorn Browns 38.9 20-19 10 of 24, 41.6%, 2 INTs
9/9/01 M. Hasselbeck Browns 48.4 9-6 178 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
12/22/91 Dave Krieg Rams 49.0 23-9 48.1 comp. %, 2 INTs
9/29/13 Russell Wilson Texans 49.7 23-20 Made drive-extending plays

Wilson’s previous low rating in a Seahawks win occurred three weeks ago when Seattle bashed San Francisco 29-3. His rating: 63.9.


  • mfox

    Was the throw to Lynch not a touchdown pass?

    • Eric K

      I think they called it backwards and a run, but it looked pretty close to forward, other than fantasy football stats it doesn’t really matter:-)

  • Bryan

    Most acknowledge the system referred to here as antiquated. There have been better ones recently installed that take into account the context of the situation where things occurred.

  • Gerald Turner

    The Texan’s quarterback Schaub was on
    fire in that game, no wait, that was his jersey that was on fire in
    the parking lot.
    RW has Joe M back of the head radar for pressure,
    very rare. The Hawks stirred up a hornets nest and tossed it into
    49er stadium, funny.
    JJ very angry, must hurt someone, he mad.

    RW could have a breakout pass attack
    game this week, matter of time till his receivers go off and he gets
    his due.

    Like Pete says, Win Forever.

  • Rainbeer Man

    Obvious. He did not throw any INT’s. He knows how to scramble. Biggest was no INT’S.