STACY ROST

Rost: Russell Wilson is playing well – how should Seahawks fans feel?

Nov 15, 2023, 10:48 AM

Russell Wilson Denver Broncos Seattle Seahawks...

Former Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson reacts after a Broncos win over Kansas City. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Time heals all wounds. And for some spurned Seattle Seahawks fans, that time may have come for Russell Wilson.

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It’s one of two big takeaways from Week 10’s NFL games.

Wilson has had an improved second year with the Denver Broncos. Sure, fans could look at some regression with Geno Smith’s decision-making and lament that this year’s Wilson isn’t under center for Seattle (and by “could” I mean will; I’ve seen a few of these takes on our text toy).

Wilson is fourth league-wide in touchdowns to just four interceptions and is holding a 104 passer rating (also fourth). Smith has 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions, the latter just four shy of his total for 2023, and an 89.2 rating.

But Smith is also heading up a Seahawks team with the third-best record in the NFC, has led a trio of game-winning drives, and saw an improved second half in a win over the Commanders in Week 10. More than that, while the single biggest question following the Wilson trade was whether or not Seattle could find another long-term franchise passer – a question it still needs to answer – the trade between the Seahawks and Broncos was always more than a swap out at quarterback.

If you’d take back the Wilson trade for the Seahawks, that means giving up Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Devon Witherspoon, Derick Hall, Noah Fant, Drew Lock, and a bucket of cash in roster flexibility. The latter affects other moves. Do they have the same contract for DK Metcalf? Are they able to sign Dre Jones?

Part of the gamble the Seahawks took was a bet that they’d be able to rebuild with young pieces – an opportunity afforded from Denver’s picks – while remaining competitive. And frankly, they’ve done it. They’ve found a franchise left tackle (Cross), their team’s current leader in sacks (Mafe), and the best rookie corner in football (Witherspoon).

It hasn’t been smooth sailing, and Seattle needs to improve on third down on both offense and defense if they want to compete for the NFC West title, but so far the trade has still worked out just fine for the Seahawks.

A season of surprises

The second takeaway? Week 10, and the 2023 season, has been full of surprises.

Take the Bills. The losers of that Monday Night Football matchup entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations. They’re second in third-down conversion rate, eighth in points per game, seventh in yards per game, and are third in scoring touchdowns from the red zone. But they’re 5-5 and have lost to the Jets, Patriots and Broncos.

The Chiefs are averaging 23.1 points per game (13th), their lowest average since 2014.

The Bengals at 5-4 are fourth in an AFC North division that might be the most competitive in football.

The 49ers have looked dominant in wins but also lost three in a row.

The Texans are surging earlier than critics expected and are one game back of the AFC South-leading Jaguars thanks to a stellar rookie debut from C.J. Stroud.

The Giants have floundered after making the playoffs last year and have lost QB Daniel Jones for the season, while the Vikings have lost Kirk Cousins — who was having a career year — yet have improved from their slow start and have back-to-back wins with Josh Dobbs at quarterback.

The Eagles are an NFL-best 8-1 right now, but even they’re not as dominant as they were a year ago (go figure, after losing both coordinators and several defensive starters).

The point is that while the season has felt disappointing at times for some Seahawks fans, the NFL is more competitive this year than in seasons past. Some fanbases have found themselves perusing draft boards months earlier than anticipated while others are in the hunt later than expected.

Seattle is hanging onto the third-best record in the NFC with a game against a tough-but-struggling Rams team next. And for a team just trying to get back to the playoffs for a second consecutive year, that’s a good place to be.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Football 101: How Seattle Seahawks’ run blocking controlled the game
• Seahawks Notebook: Carroll on Jason Peters, Dre Jones, injuries
• Bumpus: Seahawks’ Riq Woolen quietly playing better each week
• Seahawks’ Carroll: Boye Mafe ‘ain’t done yet’ after record-setting sack
• Rost: Seattle Seahawks’ Geno Smith shows why he’s Carroll’s QB

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