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Matt Calkins: Seahawks’ Russell Wilson falls way behind Ravens’ Lamar Jackson in MVP race

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 9, 2019

The Los Angeles defense held quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks without a touchdown in the Rams’ 28-12 victory on Sunday night in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
The Los Angeles defense held quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks without a touchdown in the Rams’ 28-12 victory on Sunday night in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

LOS ANGELES – Perhaps that game Sunday night was, indeed, a one-off for these Seahawks. Maybe it was like Steph Curry air-balling a shot or Mike Trout dropping a pop fly – embarrassing but anomalous.

For quarterback Russell Wilson, though, it was more like a four-off. As in, for the past four games, the superhero has been without his powers.

It has been 36 days since Wilson posted a passer rating of 100 or higher in a football game. After hitting the triple-digit mark in each of his first six contests, he has put up an 86.9, a 75.4, a 98.9 and a 69.8 over his past four.

If you’re not a stat geek, this means the league’s highest-paid quarterback has just been average since his monster afternoon versus Tampa Bay last month. The significance? His case for MVP is now at RIP.

Given the Seahawks are 10-3 and would capture the NFC West if they win out, Russell probably isn’t stewing too much. And seeing how they are in this position because of what he accomplished through the first half of the season, he’s been worth every George Washington the team is paying him.

But with quarterback Lamar Jackson positioning the Ravens (11-2) atop the AFC, where they essentially have a two-game lead on the rest of the conference, the first three letters of his name are already engraved on the award. Wilson has been insanely valuable this season – but he hasn’t been the most valuable.

Sunday was when Russell’s mini-skid finally caught up to him. His defense saved him against the 49ers and the Eagles –against whom he threw two interceptions and took a combined 11 sacks – and did just enough against the Vikings last Monday.

In Sunday’s 28-12 loss to the Rams, though, the Seahawks needed Wilson the Wonderful, and instead got Russell the Regular.

It’s not that Wilson was atrocious Sunday. He completed 10 of his first 14 passes, and would have been 12 for 14 had Malik Turner and Jacob Hollister not dropped would-be first downs. But after that – despite multiple chances to make a comeback after interceptions by Quandre Diggs – the magician that is Russell Wilson made himself disappear.

No. 3 finished the evening 22 of 36 with no touchdowns, one interception and five sacks. The game marked the first time the Seahawks’ offense didn’t score a touchdown since the season opener against Green Bay in 2017.

It was so out of character that both he and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll were asked if Wilson was feeling all right (many Seahawks had come down with the flu the week before). Turns out he was feeling fine, he just wasn’t feeling it.

Wilson’s stats this year are still stellar. His passer rating of 107.5 is fifth among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 200 times, and third among those who have played at least 10 games. He also had 26 touchdowns and five interceptions.

That said, he has thrown a pick in each of his past four games, and whether it’s passer rating (109.2), touchdown passes (28), or an obscene amount of rushing yards (1,017, good for ninth in the NFL), Jackson has Wilson beat.

That doesn’t mean Russell still can’t record his best regular season yet. If he strings together three consecutive games with numbers resembling what he did in the first half of the season, he can set personal bests in several categories while leading the Seahawks to the division title.

And seeing how quarterback legacies are typically defined by Super Bowl trophies and not Most Valuable Player awards (Peyton Manning has five MVPs to Tom Brady’s three), Wilson can still be crowned King of the League if Seattle wins in February.

But as far as regular-season MVP goes – that race looks over. Jackson has blown by everybody this year, and he seems to be out of Wilson’s sight now, too.

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