When it comes to scoring in the final two minutes of the first half or of the game, nobody does it better than Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson.
Football Outsiders reported that on Russell’s 27th birthday, November 29, 2015, Wilson set NFL records for the most fourth-quarter comeback (4QC) wins (12) and game-winning drive (GWD) wins (17) through a quarterback’s first four seasons.
GWD is defined as a fourth quarter or overtime scoring drive that puts the winning team ahead for the last time. A 4QC is a fourth quarter or overtime offensive score by a team 1-8 points behind, and that team ultimately wins the game.
Wilson pulled off five GWDs in each of his first three seasons, then had three more in 2015 and he’s also had them in games 1, 5, 6, and 9 this year. He currently stands at 17 4QCs and 21 GWDs.
So, in addition to all of Wilson’s scoring drives in the waning minutes of games, if you also include all his scoring drives as the first half nears an end, it becomes clear that Seattle owes much of its recent success to its fabulous execution of two-minute type offensive drives.
I hate to bring these two games up, but Wilson is already credited with two GWDs against the Packers: the Fail Mary game in 2012 and the 28-22 overtime game in the 2014 playoffs.
I’ve often seen Wilson absolutely stink the place up for 28 minutes of a game, then the clock reaches two minutes and the guy undergoes a transformation. Two minutes is a world of time for Wilson – he often goes the length of the field in under a minute. Seattle also usually has at least two timeouts saved up for just such occasions.
All the Green Bay Packers can do to avoid these perilous situations is to maintain possession of the ball for all or most of the final minute or two of each half. If Mike McCarthy has any plays on his big play sheet that are designed for converting on a third down, these are the times to use them.
I realize there are those skeptical of the value of the 4QC and GWD statistics, but the all-time GWD list (since 1960, according to Pro Football Reference) reads like a Who’s Who of NFL greats: (1) Peyton Manning; (2) Dan Merino; (3) Tom Brady; (4) John Elway; and (5) Brett Favre. Still playing besides Brady are numbers six through eight: Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger. Young Russell Wilson is already up to number 48.