This season in the NFL has left many unanswered questions.
Why did Mike Shanahan decide to bench Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins for the latter part of this season? Nobody really knows.
One question that has been partly answered this year, however, is the fact that the top two candidates for the Most Valuable Player Award this year are Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning. That might seem like an opinion instead of a fact, but the numbers don’t lie.
Boasting a record of 13-3 in the regular season, the Seattle Seahawks are for real. And one of the main reasons for their unprecedented success is No. 3.
Sure, Wilson hasn’t won a Super Bowl ring yet. I understand that. Manning has earned one ring in his remarkable career, but this season he has shown signs of vulnerability with his weak ankle and fragile neck.
In his first two years as the starting quarterback of the Seahawks, Wilson has won 24 games accompanied by only eight losses. He now has more wins than any other quarterback in league history through his first two seasons. This guy is something special.
Manning is posting gaudy numbers this season and breaking records along the way. He posted 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 passing yards, both of which are NFL records. He’s definitely a future Hall-of-Famer, but he still lacks speed. When the pocket breaks down for Manning and all of his prized receivers are locked up, he sometimes ends the play by simply throwing the ball out of bounds. Extending plays isn’t in Manning’s repertoire.
Wilson, on the other hand, seems to relish the moment when his offensive line opens up the floodgates. When Wilson is rushed, he doesn’t sweat. He doesn’t look in horror at oncoming defenders. What he does do, however, is extend busted plays.
He’ll sprint out of the pocket, escaping insurmountable pressure. He has been one of the primary runners for the Seahawks behind the powerful Marshawn Lynch. In 10 games this season, Wilson has averaged more than five yards per rush. That’s in addition to him averaging nearly 210 passing yards per game during the regular season.
To put this statistic in perspective, Manning has amassed a grand total of -31 rushing yards this season.
Wilson has shown Pete Carroll and the Seahawks that he is a leader on the field. Four times this year he has led game-winning drives. It didn’t take long for Wilson to impress Seattleites.
In the fourth week this season, the Seahawks were down 20-3 to the Houston Texans heading into halftime. Keep in mind that this was before the Texans were the victims of multiple injuries to star players and dropped off the face of the football planet in terms of relevance.
Wilson’s comeback heroics began in the fourth quarter when he aided the Seahawks in marching down the field 98 yards to pull within seven points of the Texans after Lynch scored on a short run.
On the drive, Wilson was 5-for-7 and even scrambled for a meaty 42 yards on the ground. This drive summed up Wilson’s excellent two-year career in a matter of minutes.
Mr. Reliable, Steven Hauschka, knotted up the score at 20 with his highly-valued right leg. Hauschka would eventually kick the game-winning field goal in overtime.
As the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers looms ahead, Wilson has answered the questions of many concerned Seahawk fans after falling short in the 2012 playoffs. He can run; He can pass; He can do just about anything. Wilson looks like he can lead the Seahawks to the promised land for the first time in the franchise’s history.
While Manning was the only quarterback in NFL history to surpass the 50 touchdown mark this season, Wilson dominates in other categories like scrambling and successfully continuing a broken play.
If the NFL has answered anything this season, it’s that Wilson deserves to win the MVP award.