It is not often that the New England Patriots face a veteran starting quarterback against whom they have a losing record, but they will do so this week: led by Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks are 2-1 versus the Patriots. While that one loss did come on the game’s biggest stage, Wilson has still shown that he is capable of not just holding his own against whatever the Patriots are throwing at him but also of playing winning football against them.
Needless to say that he poses an enormous challenge when the two teams meet again on Sunday. And listening to New England head coach Bill Belichick, one gets a sense for what awaits his team on the road.
“This guy is a tremendous player. Honestly, I think he’s in a way maybe underrated by the media or the fans. I don’t really see anybody better than this player,” said Belichick about Wilson during a media conference call on Thursday. “He can do everything, he’s got obviously great leadership, playmaking skills. He plays very well in the most critical situations in the game, his decision making, running, passing... his passing numbers are extraordinary.
“You can put him up against anybody since he’s been in the league — literally anybody — in every category. His winning percentage is impressive.”
Wilson has time and again proven his value to the Seahawks’ offense and his abilities as one of the best quarterbacks in all of football — not just when going up against Belichick’s teams. Just take last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons: with the defense trying to hone in on running back Chris Carson, Wilson shredded it to the tune of an 88.8 percent completion percentage (31 of 35) as well as 322 yards and four touchdowns.
Playing on an MVP level, Wilson showed that he will be difficult to defend even for a Patriots defense that has proven itself as one of the best in football. Too good is the 31-year-old, and too experienced to be easily fooled.
“He’s got a great ability to do the right thing at the right time,” said Belichick about the former third-round draft pick. “He has tremendous vision and sees the field really well. I don’t think there is a better deep ball passer in the league in terms of decision making and accuracy. He attacks literally every inch of the field: the deep balls, the sidelines, his scrambles, his ability to get the ball to his playmakers in space.”
As noted above, Wilson has played three games in his career against the Patriots so far: he beat them in Seattle in 2012 and in Foxborough four years later, losing the Super Bowl following the 2014 season. In those contests he posted some impressive numbers by completing 53 of 85 passes for 888 yards as well as eight touchdowns. Only one of his passes was picked off, even though it was a costly one.
A lot has changed since the last time the two teams met, but Wilson’s qualities within the Seahawks’ offense remain on full display — something Belichick acknowledged as well.
“They have a lot of good players that are hard to handle,” he said. “You put them all together and it’s orchestrated by Wilson, they are very, very hard to defend.”