DET-SEA grades: Russell Wilson perfect against pressure in playoff victory

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Seahawks NFC Wild Card win over the Lions.

| 5 months ago
Russell Wilson

(Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

DET-SEA grades: Russell Wilson perfect against pressure in playoff victory


Seattle Seahawks 26, Detroit Lions 6

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Seattle’s Wild Card win over Detroit. 

Seattle Seahawks

Quarterback grade: Russell Wilson, 81.7

Wilson perfect against pressure

The short passing game was netting the Seahawks almost nothing Saturday. On passes thrown within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, Wilson went 16-for-18, but for only 97 yards. That’s just 6.1 yards per completion. On throws 10-plus yards downfield, though, Wilson was 7-of-9 for 127 yards. 149 of his 224 passing yards came prior to the catch in an impressive aerial display. Wilson finished the game with an overall 92.6 adjusted completion percentage—100 percent when under pressure, with five completions and three throwaways when under duress.

Russell Wilson vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

WR Doug Baldwin, 85.2

WR Paul Richardson, 82.8

LG Mark Glowinski, 81.9

QB Russell Wilson, 81.7

HB Thomas Rawls, 81.6

C Justin Britt, 81.6

Playmakers come up big

If the Seahawks’ receivers and backs are going to show up like this every game this postseason, they’re going to be tough to beat. Paul Richardson had arguably the most impressive three-catch, 48-yard performance you’ll ever see, with three circus catches. Doug Baldwin was “Mr. Consistent,” hauling in almost half of Wilson’s completed passes. He caught all 11 of his targeted passes against seven different defenders in coverage. Then there was Thomas Rawls breaking out with easily his most impressive performance of the season; Rawls broke three tackles on 27 carries, and recorded 161 yards on the ground.

Top defensive grades:

LB Bobby Wagner, 89.5

CB Richard Sherman, 85.2

DE Cliff Avril, 78.3

LB K.J. Wright, 76.7

CB DeShawn Shead, 74.4

Seattle defense dominant

Recently named to the PFF All-Pro team, Saturday night’s game provided a great example of the type of impact linebacker Bobby Wagner can make. Wagner led the defense with four defensive stops, and added a hit and two hurries on just five pass-rushes. Cornerback Richard Sherman shut down his side of the field against the Lions’ passing game—Matthew Stafford wouldn’t even test Sherman in coverage. Sherman’s lone target of the game came on Detroit’s final play, and he just tipped away the ball before it reached Golden Tate. Cornerback DeShawn Shead also had a pretty good outing; he was targeted a game-high eight times without surrendering a reception. However, on more than one occasion, an off-target pass led to an incompletion when Shead had given up more than enough room to allow a catch.

Detroit Lions

Quarterback grade: Matthew Stafford, 68.8

Lackluster outing at quarterback

The Lions’ passing game wasn’t exactly productive against the Seattle defense, though that certainly doesn’t fall solely on Matthew Stafford. Still, he missed a few open receivers with off-target throws and finished the night with a 67.7 adjusted completion percentage. Prior to the Lions’ final drive, Stafford completed just two passes targeted 10-plus yards downfield, and he completely avoided the right side of the field outside the numbers (Richard Sherman’s side of the field).

Matthew Stafford passing chart

Top Offensive grades:

LT Taylor Decker, 77.8

C Graham Glasgow, 70.8

WR Marvin Jones, 69.7

QB Matthew Stafford, 68.8

RG Larry Warford, 65.7

Untimely miscues stall Detroit’s drives

Detroit’s skill players simply didn’t do enough to help out their quarterback. The Lions dropped four passes on the night, though Marvin Jones was bailed out on his drop by a defensive penalty elsewhere in the secondary. Golden Tate, who is typically one of the best receivers in the league after the catch, recorded just 9 yards after the catch on three passes—his lowest total since Week 4. Tight end Eric Ebron recorded his first multiple-drop game of the season. The running game didn’t fare much better, either; Zach Zenner’s second carry of the game went for 17 yards, but that equaled the rushing yardage total he gained on his other 10 runs.

Top defensive grades:

S Glover Quin, 84.7

DE Ezekiel Ansah, 81.4

DT Haloti Ngata, 77.9

LB DeAndre Levy, 75.3

DE Kerry Hyder, 73.2

Lions’ pushed off the line

The storyline of the game for the Lions’ defense was undoubtedly their inability to maintain the line of scrimmage against the run. Seattle repeatedly ran their base zone-read, and the double-teams routinely took Detroit’s defensive tackles off the line of scrimmage. Khyri Thornton, Tyrunn Walker, and A’Shawn Robinson simply couldn’t hold their ground, which caused havoc for the Lions’ linebackers, who were put in lose-lose situations. Once the Lions feared the ground game, Seattle’s passing game picked the back-seven apart.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Byu Tech

    do you have eyes in pff? what about paul richardson? is that the way you play football? in seattle for sure…in all the other cities no…rules are always different in seattle. and you should note that. ask julio jones and many others….

    • JoRo

      So the irony of Julio getting away with a facemask on Sherman on that play is lost on you I guess.

  • d

    No way Wilson was that much better than Stafford.

    • Dale GoDawgs McLerran

      Well, Wilson’s passer rating was 119.3 compared to Stafford’s 75.7. Part of that was Seahawk receivers making some great catches while Lion’s receivers were dropping catchable balls. But Stafford should have been picked on his first pass of the game. He threw that right to Shead. Shead was so surprised to have the ball come straight to him that he dropped the sure pick.

      I’d say a 13 point difference between Wilson and Stafford in PFF’s grading system is probably reasonable.

  • Mark Miller

    Quit whining. It doesn’t become you. Lose with class.

  • Sam Serra

    The way the Lions got dominated on the trenches was embarrassing. If the Seattle’s o-line keeps playing like that for the rest of the playoffs they’ll be back at the Super Bowl.

  • AKjester

    During the season, I noted several times that Richard Sherman had been avoided and still received a lower score from PFF. It is great to see PFF fix that in the playoffs.
    I really appreciated the explanation of how Shead did not give up any receptions, but that was likely due to the drops/miss throws rather than his coverage. I used to take it for granted that PFF would score the CBs in this way. This season, that did not seem to be the case. Thank you for the increase in quality during the playoffs.