Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback has been nominated for an ESPY award for Breakthrough Athlete of the Year. The rookie entered last season as an underdog, being drafted by the Seahawks as the 12th pick in the third round (75th overall). He was named the starting quarterback after sharing the role with Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson in preseason and training camp and quickly paved the way to a breakout season in Seattle.
Breakthrough athletes find ways to win and Wilson did just that last season, leading the Seahawks to their third-best record in club history. The Seahawks were 11-5 in the regular season. The team also earned their first road playoff victory since 1983 under Wilson’s leadership. When games got out of hand, Wilson dug deep and ignited the team. The Seahawks were down 14-0 against the Washington Redskins in the playoffs, but were able to overcome the deficit for a 28-27 win to advance.
Not only did Wilson excel throughout the season, he improved. The final games of the season included 4th quarter and overtime drives of 97 and 80 yards against the Bears in Week 13, three touchdown rushes in Week 15 against the Buffalo Bills, and a four-touchdown pass game against the rivaled San Francisco 49ers in Week 16. He also earned his season-best 136.3 passer rating against the St. Louis Rams in the final regular-season game last year.
His individual accomplishments on the field further strengthen his case for Breakthrough Player of the Year. With 26 touchdown passes in the regular season Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record, a record that stood for 15 years. He added three extra touchdown passes in his two playoff games. Wilson also broke a Seahawks record, running for more yards than any QB in team history with 489 yards in the regular season. He ran for a remarkable 127 yards in playoff games against the Redskins and Atlanta Falcons.
Perhaps even more remarkable is that Wilson was able to put himself in the running for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season. The 75th pick of the 2012 draft finished third in voting behind quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, the first and second overall picks.
The ESPY Awards will take place on July 17 and Russell Wilson deserves the title of Breakthrough Athlete of the Year for his role in the Seahawks success. He will be competing for the award against rival quarterback Colin Kaepernick who led his 49ers to the Super Bowl; the first freshman to win the Heisman, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M; Yaseil Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Photo Credit: Larry Maurer / Wikimedia Commons
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