Russell Wilson in the Rain

The stats in this post have been updated through Week 4 of the 2019 season.

Last Sunday against Washington, Russell Wilson had one of his worst games of the season, completing just 24-of-45 passes in the Seattle Seahawks’ 17-14 home loss. The game was played in the rain, as was Wilson’s other weak performance at home this season in a 12-9 win over the 0-8 San Francisco 49ers.

The idea that Wilson struggles in wet conditions has become something of an accepted fact among Seahawks fans at this point, but I still wanted to quantify whether this is a real phenomenon. Using Weather Underground’s archive of historical data, I charted every Seahawks regular-season home game played on a day recorded as having rain. There have been 35 of them during Wilson’s career, as compared to 19 regular-season home games with dry weather. The statistical difference in Wilson’s performance in these sets of games is striking.

Weather  Comp%   Y/A    TD%   Int%
Dry      68.1%   8.8   6.9%   1.3%
Rain     61.7%   7.7   6.2%   1.8%

Wilson is worse across the board in games on rainy days in Seattle, completing a remarkable 6.6 percent fewer of his pass attempts. How meaningful is this difference? Wilson’s 68.1 percent completion percentage under dry conditions would rank second to Drew Brees among NFL quarterbacks with at least 500 attempts since 2012. His 61.7 percent completion percentage in the rain would rank 37th.

By virtue of completing long passes, Wilson’s yards per attempt are better across the board than his completion percentage. But his 8.8 yards per attempt on dry days would rank second in the NFL in that span, and his 7.6 yards per attempt in the rain would rank 8th. (Naturally, other quarterbacks would look better if we look solely at their home performance.) Wilson throws touchdowns more frequently per pass attempt when it’s dry, and interceptions more frequently when it’s wet.

The kicker, as I shared during my grievance about Wilson’s performance in the rain on this week’s episode of the Fabulous Peltoncast, is the Seahawks’ record as a team by weather conditions. In regular-season home games on rainy days, they’ve gone 28-11 since drafting Wilson, a respectable 72 percent winning percentage. When it’s dry, the Seahawks have lost just twice at home with Wilson at quarterback: they’re 17-2 during the regular season, plus 2-0 in two dry home playoff games.

When we consult the stats, it’s clear: the best defense for Wilson at home is a rainy Seattle day.

(Hear my grievance about Wilson in the rain in audio format)

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