In a span of four weeks in December, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson went from being a front-runner in the MVP debate to missing the playoffs for the first time in his career.
Still, Wilson finished the year with a league-leading 34 touchdown passes to go with 3,983 passing yards and a team-high 586 rushing yards. All in all, he accounted for nearly 97 percent of Seattle’s total offense.
But in 2017 the six-year pro finished with a career-low 61.3 completion percentage, had three multiple-interception performances, and had plenty of first-half struggles (just eight of his 34 touchdown passes were thrown in the first two quarters of games). His best performance of the season, a 41-38 win over the Texans where he threw for 452 yards and four touchdowns, was followed by perhaps his worst, a 17-14 loss to Washington in which he threw two interceptions and completely just 53 percent of his passes.
Taking all of those factors into account: What grade would you give Wilson this season?
If you were to give an A-F grade, how would you grade Russell Wilson's year?
— 710 ESPN Seattle (@710ESPNSeattle) January 4, 2018
By Thursday afternoon, more than 2,000 people assigned Wilson a grade in a 710 ESPN Seattle’s Twitter poll. Almost 60 percent of participants awarded the Seahawks quarterback a “B” for the season, while another 28 percent gave him an “A.” Thirteen percent of voters gave Wilson a “C,” while less than three percent gave him a failing grade.
Here’s how our hosts graded Wilson:
“You’re the smartest guy in the class but you’re still not working up to your potential. In 2015, he completed 68 percent of his passes – that’s really good. I know that when they ran the West Coast offense when (Mike) Holmgren was here, he wanted Matt Hasselbeck to be 65. Russell’s 68 – that’s a huge difference. And then last year he was 65 and this last season, 61. Sixty-one percent. I don’t want to say it’s alarming, but that’s not good. In 2015, he threw the ball quite a bit and they also had the No. 3 running game that year, so that’s why I’m not as tough on Russell as I think some of his critics are – because he didn’t have that running game this year. They were pretty bad. In 2015, they were running it for about 141 yards per game; that’s good for any quarterback. As far as the touchdowns in the second half, it’s 26 to eight. Now, interceptions got a little better… but man, that number as far as (second half) touchdowns go, there’s something to that.”
“Anybody who thinks he had a bad season, the guy led the league in touchdown passes. And look, some of that’s because they only had four rushing touchdowns total, but let’s give him some credit, because he was able to put them in the end zone in spite of having a run game that was absolutely awful, and then unspeakably bad when you put them in the 20. So I give a flat B.”
“He’s not an A; he’s not perfect, he’s not in the playoffs. And even he couldn’t overcome some of the challenges on that offense. I think over the course of the season he got beat up. In fact, I know he got beat up; it wasn’t a high ankle sprain or an MCL or anything else, (but) there is no way you take the physical beating he took this year and the amount of running he had to do without having a whole lot of therapy, a whole lot of treatment, and a whole lot of work over the course of every day to get himself available and durable and ready on Sunday. He got beat up physically, I think he got beat up mentally and emotionally as well, just knowing that, ‘I’ve got to hit a home run every night’… or we won’t win.
“He threw the most touchdown passes in this league… carrying 97 percent of their touchdowns and everything else… he’s an A-minus.”
“If you want to carry that analogy all the way through, from the seventh inning on he was fantastic. He had all these fourth quarter touchdowns and did everything late in the game. But he came up a bunch of times in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a chance to win the game, and struck out three times… I always put that on the quarterback, that’s how I judge quarterbacks. Did you give your team a chance to win at the end, and did you win at the end? Those are major, major factors in judging quarterbacks. He gave his team a chance to win in all but two games this year… he was unable to deliver in a bunch of those. Now, he delivered in a bunch, too… But unfortunately the Washington loss really sticks with me, the Jacksonville loss sticks with me. And he’s not the only one… but he came up short in a few of those games.”
“My grade is a B-plus because of all the other things you mentioned being true as well. He was the team’s offense. He had spectacular plays as always, he lead them in rushing, what he did in the red zone is the biggest reason that I consider it being an A-minus. But what he did at the ends up games, unfortunately, it haunts me a little bit this year.”