Russell Wilson finished with 849 rushing yards this season, fifth most by a quarterback in modern pro football history (read: since 1950). Here are all the QBs who rushed for 600 or more. (Note: Joe Geri doesn’t really belong because he was single-wing tailback with the 1950 Steelers – and ran more than he threw.)
What’s been less noticed is that Wilson tied for 16th in the whole league in rushing. That’s the highest any quarterback has ranked since 1990. Indeed, only 10 times since ’50 has a QB cracked the Top 20. The list:
NFL QUARTERBACKS WHO FINISHED IN THE TOP 20 IN RUSHING (SINCE 1950)
|2014||Russell Wilson, Seahawks||118||849||7.2||6||T16th|
|2012||Robert Griffin III, Redskins||120||815||6.8||7||20th|
|1990||Randall Cunningham, Eagles||118||942||8.0||5||9th|
|1972||Bobby Douglass, Bears||141||968||6.9||8||12th|
|1953||Bobby Layne, Lions*||87||343||3.9||0||20th|
|1952||Bobby Layne, Lions*||94||411||4.4||1||9th|
|1952||Charlie Trippi, Cardinals||72||350||4.9||4||16th|
|1951||Tobin Rote, Packers||76||523||6.9||3||8th|
|1951||Charlie Trippi, Cardinals||78||501||6.4||4||9th|
|1950||Johnny Lujack, Bears||87||397||6.3||11||19th|
In the early ’50s, as you can see, the NFL went through a phase with quarterbacks that was lot like the current one. Layne, Trippi (a former halfback), Rote and Lujack were also major running threats. In fact, Layne won two championships playing that way.
Where is Michael Vick, you ask? Surprisingly, Vick never finished higher than 21st in rushing (in 2006, when he gained a career-high — and league record — 1,039 yards for the Falcons). It’s a reflection of The Decline of the Running Game that Wilson can rush for 849 and end up tied for 16th. Just think: He would have been the leading rusher (or tied for the lead) on 17 teams.