Since breaking into the league as a third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2012, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has experienced a great deal of success, winning over 66 percent of his 117 career starts.
During his first six NFL seasons, many of Wilson’s most memorable victories came at the expense of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, as Seattle defeated Green Bay three consecutive times between 2012 and 2014.
Preparing to duel with Rodgers once again at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night, Wilson reflected on their prior battles and is looking forward to the latest installment in one of the NFC’s best rivalries.
“There’s obviously been some great games, there’s been some great moments. Definitely tough battles, just games that come down to the wire.” Wilson said, adding: “Aaron’s a great football player… Every time you play a great quarterback and play some great teams like the Packers – they have so much history, they know how to do it – every one of those moments you cherish and you look forward to those opportunities.”
During the early stages of his career, Wilson and the Seahawks dominated the series between the two franchises. Among those signature wins, Wilson threw a controversial game-winning touchdown to Golden Tate in the infamous “Fail Mary” game and the Seahawks rallied for a monumental 28-22 win in the 2014 NFC Championship Game.
But since stunning the Packers to earn a second straight ticket to the Super Bowl nearly four years ago, the tide has changed dramatically thanks to a shift in homefield advantage.
After playing exclusively in Seattle during their first three bouts, Wilson traveled to Lambeau Field for the first time in 2015 and the Seahawks fell 27-17. The following season, he returned to snowy Green Bay and uncorked a career-high five interceptions in a 38-10 Packers rout. Then, Seattle’s offense sputtered in the season opener a year ago and Rodgers got the upper hand again in a 17-9 win.
Like most of his quarterback brethren in the NFL, Wilson can only marvel at the brilliance of Rodgers, a future Hall of Famer who has thrown 17 touchdowns and only one pick this season despite playing with a sprained knee.
“I think what makes Aaron so great is he’s clutch.” Wilson said on Tuesday. “I think that he obviously has great arm talent. He understands the game, he works at it. He knows how to make plays. There’s only a few guys in the world, at every position, when you think about guys making plays in tough moments, like how did he do that – he’s one of those guys for sure. It’s always fun watching him.”
Wilson may treasure the opportunity to watch Rodgers put on a show under center, but his presence has been anything but entertaining for the Seahawks secondary over the past three years. In Green Bay’s last three wins over Seattle, he’s completed well north of 70 percent of his passes, thrown six touchdowns, and only been intercepted once.
Thankfully for the Seahawks, Rodgers has been a bit more human playing in the Emerald City, where the two teams will meet for the first time on Thursday night since Seattle erased a 16-0 second half to punch a ticket to the Super Bowl. Since Wilson entered the league, Rodgers has thrown only two touchdowns and three interceptions in the aforementioned losses at CenturyLink.
While the Seahawks won’t have the “Legion of Boom” available to counter Rodgers’s greatness this time around, coach Pete Carroll does believe playing at home on short rest will be advantageous for Wilson and his young team as they try to snap a two-game losing skid.
“The short week is hard enough as it is but these guys [the Packers] are going to probably travel on Tuesday night.” Carroll said during his Monday press conference. “That’s their day off, generally. It’s a big challenge. The good side of it is that you get the bigger break on the weekend and we all benefit from that, but it does help us to be at home and we’re ready to get in there and get mixing up with the 12s and it’ll be fun Thursday night.”
Entering a high-stakes playoff elimination game between two fringe contenders, Wilson and his teammates must right the ship and begin the process of piling up wins on Thursday night or the Seahawks season could already be all but finished in Week 11.