FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With his New England Patriots team preparing to face the Russell Wilson-led Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night, coach Bill Belichick is openly wondering what everyone might be missing with Wilson.
“Honestly, I think he’s in a way underrated by the media or the fans, I don’t know. But I don’t really see anybody better than this player,” Belichick said Thursday morning. “This guy is a tremendous player.”
Belichick often delivers verbal bouquets to opponents leading up to games, but it is more rare for him to do so in the context of media and fan perception.
Wilson, a six-time Pro Bowler, has never received a vote for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Wilson leads the NFL with 104 touchdown passes since 2017 (Tom Brady is next, at 87), and is the only quarterback with at least 30 passing touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons. In the Seahawks’ season-opening win over the Falcons, he was 31-of-35 for 322 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
“He can do everything. He’s got obviously great leadership, playmaking skills. He plays very well in the most critical situations in the game. His decision-making, running, passing,” Belichick said, citing Wilson’s 4,022 career rushing yards and 30,056 passing yards.
“His passing numbers are extraordinary. You can put him up against anybody since he’s been in the league — literally anybody, in almost any category, His winning percentage is impressive. He’s there for every game — never missed a game. He’s got a great ability to do the right thing at the right time. He has tremendous vision, and sees the field extremely well.
“I don’t think there’s a better deep-ball passer in the league, in terms of decision-making and accuracy. He attacks literally every inch of the field.”
Sunday night will mark just the fourth time that the Patriots face Wilson, which includes Super Bowl XLIX, when Wilson was intercepted at the goal line by cornerback Malcolm Butler to seal the Patriots’ victory.
Wilson led the Seahawks to a 24-23 win over the Patriots in Seattle on Oct. 14, 2012, during his rookie season. He also helped Seattle to a 31-24 victory in New England on Nov. 13, 2016, a game Belichick referred to as one of the most competitive he has been a part of in his coaching tenure.
Belichick shared his respect for the Seahawks, saying Wilson was part of a “big three” that includes coach Pete Carroll and linebacker Bobby Wagner.
“Those three guys, you can’t really find a game that they don’t epitomize everything the Seahawks stand for and the success they’ve had,” Belichick said. “I think the team really runs through those three guys. Their consistency and mental toughness and passion for the game is real impressive.”