A few weeks into the season, Russell Wilson looked like he’d go wire-to-wire in the MVP race.
By the end of the season, nobody could know what to expect from the Seattle Seahawks’ passing game in the playoffs.
Wilson and the Seahawks take on the Los Angeles Rams in a wild-card matchup on Saturday afternoon, a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app. The Rams have quarterback issues. Jared Goff will be less than two weeks removed from thumb surgery. If he can’t go, John Wolford will make his second career start. L.A. head coach Sean McVay has said he won’t announce a decision before kickoff.
We know the Rams have concerns. But what has happened to Seattle’s passing game?
Russell Wilson’s numbers had a significant drop
Through eight games this season, Wilson had 2,541 yards, 28 touchdowns and a 117.1 passer rating. He was on pace to challenge single-season passing records. The fact that Wilson has never received an MVP vote was repeated a few thousand times. Wilson is a Hall-of-Fame talent but Seattle had never let him operate as a high-volume passer. This seemed like the season it finally happened. He looked like he’d win MVP in a runaway.
The second half of the season was a stark difference. Wilson threw for 1,671 yards and 12 touchdowns. Part of that is due to the Seahawks leaning less on Wilson. He had 4.5 fewer passing attempts per game in the second half of the season. However Wilson wasn’t efficient either. His rating dipped to 91.3.
Seattle doesn’t have a deep set of receivers although DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are two of the NFL’s best. It’s not like Wilson’s talent is in doubt. Seattle’s passing game just evaporated.
In the second half of the season the Seahawks never had more than 236 net passing yards in a game. That’s shocking in today’s NFL for any team, but unexplainable for one with Wilson, Metcalf and Lockett.
Seahawks’ pass offense has struggled
It’s hard to deny the Seahawks’ track record. Even if it’s odd they have limited Wilson in the offense, they win. Even as the pass offense struggled, Seattle went 6-2 and won the NFC West. One win was a decisive 20-9 victory over the Rams in Week 16 to clinch the division title.
It’s also fair to assume that if Seattle is to win four games, including the Super Bowl, Wilson will have to play better than he has the past couple months. Seattle’s defense has improved tremendously since early in the season. The running game has been good. Maybe that will be enough to beat the Rams, who have a fantastic defense and will presumably want to play a low-scoring game due to their quarterback conundrum. But if the Seahawks match up with Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or any other top quarterback, 200 passing yards probably isn’t going to be enough.
Wilson is one of the most talented quarterbacks in NFL history. He has won a Super Bowl before, too. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Wilson turned it on in the postseason and carried the Seahawks to a deep run.
More from Yahoo Sports: