Russell Wilson has now played ten NFL seasons. So I decided to see how he compares to other quarterbacks over that time in late and close game situations. I define close as within eight points (either up or down) and late as within the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter or in overtime.
There are 99 QBs who have thrown twenty or more passes in these game situations over the past ten seasons (2012-2021), and the QB with the best passer rating in them is Trevor “arm of the gods” Siemian who has a passer rating of 131.9 under these situations. I show the top 20 below.
|Gardner Minshew II||32||55||58.2||326||5||1||2||5.9||22||98.0|
Russell Wilson is 12th with a passer rating of 95.8. Of course this is where the “eye-test” crowd tells me that statistics lie, because Siemian, Brett Hundley, Matt Moore, Kellen Clemens and Christian Ponder don’t belong in the conversation with Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, Wilson, Andrew Luck, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson. We can pare the list down some by removing players with 100 or fewer passing attempts.
That leaves us with only 47 QBs (or 48 if we leave in Kyler Murray who has 99) and it removes many of the guys who really don’t belong in the conversation. Among those 48 who find that Mahomes is a step change above the rest. There are ten guys with a passer rating of 90 or better in these situations 2012-2021 (min 99 attempts). They are shown below.
You can see that Mahomes, with his rating of 116.9 in late and close situations, is just astoundingly good. This is also reflected in his 70.9 completion percentage. Notice that Watson is in second place with a rating of 102.0. Wilson’s rating of 95.8 is fifth among this group. I was surprised to see Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Tannehill and Tony Romo in the top 10 as they are not generally mentioned when the “best recent end of game QBs” are discussed.
We should also look at the other stats that get discussed when thinking about best recent end of game QBs - fourth quarter comebacks (4QC) and game winning drives (GWD). Because I wanted to color code, I have presented this as a picture (which is almost impossible to do with html tables).
If you focus on the guys who are green in both 4QC% and GWD% (percentage of starts that included one or both), you find that there are eight guys on the list:
- Andrew Luck
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Ryan Tannehill
- Tony Romo
- Justin Herbert
- Matthew Stafford
- Derek Carr
Green in 4QC% is 17% or better. Green in GWD% is 15% or better. The oddity about both fourth quarter comebacks and game winning drives is that you have to be on an average team to get a lot of them. If your team is too good or too bad your opportunities for either will be severely limited. When your team is too good, you have many games where you are leading in these situations and also many games where your team is up to nine or more points late in the game (it’s not close or when it does get close you aren’t throwing the ball much in because your coach still follows the 1980s playbook of run, run, run, punt when you are leading late). If you team is too bad, you spend most of the last game game down by nine or more points so you not only have fewer throws in what I have termed late and close situations, but you also have many fewer chances to lead a 4QC or a GWD (like the QBs on really good teams).
What should also not be lost on Bronco fans is that all four of the starting quarterbacks in the AFC West are pretty good (or really good) in late and close situations. Derek Carr has the worst passer rating at 84.2, but that is average among the list of 48 qualifiers and Carr has led 24 fourth quarter comebacks and 30 game-winning drives in his career (only two of which came against the Broncos - Dec 13th 2015 and Jan 3rd 2021).
As fun as it is to look at the guys who are good at late game situations, it is also informative to see the guys who aren’t. The “dirty dozen” are the twelve quarterbacks who have had plenty of late game throws over the past ten seasons, but who have a passer rating of less than 70 in late and close situations.
The only surprising name on this list, at least to me, was Philip Rivers, who apparently was poor at late game situations in the latter half of his career. The rest of the names on this list did not surprise me, but maybe they surprised you. It should also not be lost that six of the dirty dozen were taken with the first second or third pick in the draft.
While former Bronco, Teddy Bridgewater, is not in the dirty dozen, he does have one fo the lowest 4QC%’s on the list. Only Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Jacoby Brissett have a lower rate of 4QCs to starts.
How many fourth quarter comebacks will Russell Wilson lead during the 2022 regular season? His career high is 4 which he did twice.
This poll is closed
Six or more