Russell Wilson's next challenge: 3rd quarter

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
5:25
PM ET

Russell Wilson has cleared initial hurdles during his rookie season as the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback.

Many more hurdles await. Some of the same ones will appear again.

Third-quarter production is one to consider while people who study games for a living suggest Wilson already might be the best quarterback in the NFC West at midseason.

Wilson thrives on preparation. That could be one reason he has generally played well in first quarters, before game situations steer teams away from their offensive scripts.

Brock Huard, who played quarterback for the Seahawks before backing up Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, ran across Wilson at Seahawks headquarters on Tuesday of this week. Players are off on Tuesdays. It's their one day to get away. Not for Wilson.

"It's a striking reminder of this kid’s commitment," Huard said during his show on 710ESPN Seattle. "I never showed up on a Tuesday, not until Peyton Manning demanded we get there on Tuesday night, get the game plan early and sit there for two hours and do all that. Tuesdays around the league, by and large, Ben Roethlisberger is not in on Tuesday. These guys are off. And this kid is absolutely relentless."

Huard made those comments at the 14-minute mark of this audio clip for those interested in listening to the full context.

Wilson ranks behind only Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Roethlisberger in first-quarter Total QBR this season (50 is average, 100 is maximum), as the first chart shows. For some reason, however, Wilson has consistently struggled in third quarters, even while his overall play has improved dramatically over the past four games (see final chart).

The second chart shows QBR by quarters for the first four weeks of the season. Wilson wasn't making much of a positive impact. Conservative game plans could explain some of the lag. But those third-quarter numbers stand out even more now that Wilson is succeeding in carrying more of the offense.

Are teams adjusting to Wilson and the Seattle offense? Are the Seahawks failing to make the right adjustments? Are the numbers random?

Those questions are tough to answer.

The results clear, however. Only Sam Bradford (9.5), Philip Rivers (8.1) and John Skelton (2.8) have lower third-quarter QBR scores than Wilson for the season.

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