Bill Belichick has faced Russell Wilson three times since he took over as quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.
The fourth meeting between the two will come this Sunday night in Seattle and Belichick knows they have a massive challenge ahead in handling Wilson and the Seahawks.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble with him every time we’ve played him,” Belichick said in a conference call with Seattle reporters on Monday.
As a rookie, Wilson led the Seahawks to a comeback 24-23 victory in Seattle in just his sixth career start. The Patriots then thwarted Seattle’s run at back-to-back Super Bowls with Malcolm Butler‘s interception at the goal line in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XLIX to preserve a 28-24 victory. The Seahawks then bounced back with a 31-24 win in Foxboro in 2016. All three games have come down to the closing seconds with the result in doubt.
“He’s had a variety of backs, he’s had a variety of receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen. Each time we play them it seems like it’s quite a different group from the time we played them before from ’12 to ’14 to ’16, and now. There’s a few guys but there’s been a lot of turnover but he just continues to be super productive with whoever it is and whatever he has to work with,” Belichick said. “He’s very, very resourceful and has the ability to do so many things that if you take one thing away from him he can still kill you doing other things. It’s the mark of a great player and he can make the other players around him better. He consistently does that with all of them. He’s problem number one.”
Wilson is already off to a fast start this season. Against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Wilson completed 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-25 Seahawks victory. Wilson tossed two touchdowns to Chris Carson, hit D.K. Metcalf for a 38-yard score on a fourth-and-5, and found Greg Olsen for a 7-yard score as well.
Wilson has shined in each of the three meetings against the Patriots.
In 2012, he completed 16 of 27 attempts for 293 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and a 133.7 passer rating. In the Super Bowl, Wilson was 12 of 21 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and the infamous interception along with a 110.6 rating. And in 2016, Wilson was 25-of-37 for 348 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and a 124.6 rating.
“Yeah, he’s more than a good quarterback. He’s one of the top players in the league and has been for his entire career,” Belichick said. “He’s a tremendous player. Obviously, a tremendous person. He’s just really good at everything. You have to defend the whole field with him. Very dangerous in the pocket, out of the pocket, great deep ball passer, has excellent vision, super competitive, hard to tackle. I mean, he’s a great football player and there’s nobody I have more respect – I mean, I respect a lot of players, all the players really but he is certainly at the top of the list of people we compete against. He’s really tough.
“We know we’re going to have to play our best Sunday in Seattle. Whatever we did this week, I don’t think that’ll be good enough. I think we’ll have to be better than that.”