The curious case of Russell Wilson and the St. Louis Rams


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has grown from third-round draft pick, to Super Bowl winning quarterback to franchise leader right in front of our eyes. Wilson was a true underdog story coming out of college where he was expected to compete for a back up job in Seattle after the draft. He beat the odds and took over the starting job and never looked back. Now, new contract in hand, he enters what will be the most important year of his career, and he draws the St. Louis Rams in Week 1.

The Seahawks are a resounding 21-13 against the Rams all time. Wilson is the proud owner of four of those wins, including the series sweep in 2013. Wilson’s averages against the Rams don’t quite match up to his averages against the rest of league since 2012 though. St. Louis has given Wilson fits in the past and would appear to have the keys to defending the dual threat quarterback.

Wilson average 16 completions against the St. Louis defense, down from his 18 in 2014 against all other teams. He averages one passing touchdown per game, which is also lower than his average against all other teams in 2012 (1.7), 2013 (1.6) and 2014 (1.2). The Rams can also boast the highest interception rate against Wilson at 0.6 per game, more than all other teams combined at 0.5 over the last three years.

You’re probably thinking, well Wilson is also known for his ability to run the ball, and St. Louis has been susceptible to mobile quarterbacks in the past, and you’d be right. However, Wilson has only mustered 32 rushing yards per game against the Rams since last 2012. Against the rest of the league, he averages almost 40 yards per game.

Dec 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by St. Louis Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner (20) and defensive end Robert Quinn (94) at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The differences are subtle, but become more apparent when the teams take the field. Lately, Seattle has been spinning their wheels, starting 2012 at 4-4 and 2014 at 3-3. A disappointing preseason this year has prompted some analysts to predict the Seahawks to regress this season. The team’s only solid showing came in preseason Week 4 with a ten-point victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Seattle fields one of the most porous offensive lines in the league. The loss of center Max Unger and left guard James Carpenter will prove to be significant in 2015. Left tackle Russel Okung is coming off an injury filled 2014 with thoughts of testing free agency at the end of the year. Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy and Garry Gilliam round out the remainder of the offensive line. Sweezy and Britt return as starters. Nowak is your new center. Expect the Rams to go after Nowak early and often on Sunday.

St. Louis has pulled out home wins two of the last three years against Seattle which has the Rams trending in the right direction for a series sweep. Those wins also came with Austin Davis and Kellen Clemens under center. The addition of Nick Foles at quarterback should only help their chances.

The last regular season game St. Louis participated in was on December 28, 2014 against the Seahawks in Seattle. It resulted in a 20-6 loss for the Rams, but they limited Wilson to just seven rushing yards, his lowest total on the year. They also kept him out of the end zone on the ground and through the air. They would add an interception for good measure, but the damage was done in other ways, as the Seahawks would continue on to eventually play in the Super Bowl.

Seattle is not an easy win, and a season sweep is even more difficult, but it would appear the Rams fair better than most against the dual threat quarterback. This year, more than any other, it seems all the pieces are in place for St. Louis to begin to swing momentum back in their favor. There are more factors working against Seattle than ever before in the past, and upgrades for St. Louis on the offensive side of the ball point toward a victory on Sunday and a season sweep.