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Wilson's legs, decisions make him elite

AP Photo/Michael Perez

Russell Wilson has the Seattle Seahawks looking like Super Bowl contenders.Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are back to their dominant selves with three straight impressive wins against the Cardinals, 49ers and Eagles.

Although the defense has played a large part in the Seahawks’ recent run, Wilson’s return to form should not be overlooked. During the last three games, Wilson has played a bigger role in Seattle’s rushing game and has taken more time to find open receivers. Wilson’s ability to make plays with his legs and make the right decisions places him in a class of his own.

Russell Wilson Scrambles
This Season

Wilson at his best when scrambling

Wilson leads the league again in scrambling this season, which is nothing new. Wilson led the league in scramble yards last season and was second to Robert Griffin III during his rookie season.

Although Wilson’s scrambling success might not be breaking news these days, his increased efficiency should be. Wilson has increased his yards-per-carry average on scrambles each season in the league.

Seahawks’ zone-read success starts with Wilson

Last season, Wilson and the Seahawks found their zone-read somewhat contained. Although Wilson still averaged a notable 4.6 yards per carry on his zone-read attempts, that average was down from 7.8 the year before.

Seattle ran 75 zone reads in the first seven games this season, with Wilson keeping 13 times. The Seahawks' success in Week 10 against the Giants, however, appears to have reignited the scheme. During the last five weeks, Wilson has kept the ball on 17 zone-read plays, averaging 8.7 yards per carry.

Wilson has rushed for five touchdowns on zone-read carries this season, more than in his previous two seasons combined and matching the total of every other quarterback in the league this season.

The king of extending the play

Wilson’s running ability makes him an unusual quarterback for opposing defenses to prepare against each week.

The Seahawks’ quarterback averages 2.9 seconds before his passes, the most in the league this season. Wilson has thrown 71 passes this season with at least four seconds before the throw. After Wilson, the next two quarterbacks on that list are Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck.

Simpler approach = improved passing?

Russell Wilson Passing Rates
NFL Career

Wilson is on pace for his most passing yards in a season, along with his best touchdown-to-interception ratio.

A change in philosophy could be the reason for Wilson’s improved passing numbers this season. Since his rookie year, Wilson’s average throw distance has declined each season, while the Seahawks’ yards after the catch have increased. The shift in focus has also dropped his interception rate each season.