Pro Football Focus gave Seattle the lowest team pass-blocking grade in the NFL this season. The Falcons have developed an effective pass rush led by league sacks leader Vic Beasley. The Falcons seem to have the advantage in that matchup.
But Wilson’s mobility, toughness and savvy make him a difficult quarterback to affect with pressure.
“It’s not going to be one guy,” Quinn said. “You don’t just say, ‘OK, he’s a spy on him,’ or the defensive line doesn’t rush. You’ve got to play aggressive. He’s not going to run every play of the game, but he is a fantastic competitor of knowing when to escape, when to get out, when to let it rip.
“We’ll play really aggressively toward him. We’ve played other scramble quarterbacks before, but he has a real knack of where the scramble (pass) pattern may go to and how do you adjust from there.”
The Falcons have faced several mobile quarterbacks this season: Wilson, Carolina’s Cam Newton (twice), Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz, and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick. The Falcons generally contained all of those QBs except Rodgers, who consistently slithered out of the pocket to run or make throws.
Wilson didn’t run much during Seattle’s 26-24 victory over the Falcons, but did extend some plays with his feet while completing 25 of 37 passes for 270 yards. The Falcons pressured Wilson 11 times in that game, according to Pro Football Focus, and he was only 3-for-10 on those plays with one sack.
Wilson was dealing with ankle and knee injuries then. He appeared to move better over the final month of the season and played without a left knee brace against the Lions for the first time since spraining it in Week 3.
“The thing that is different from the first time we played them is the quarterback is healthy,” Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. “The first time was playing with injuries, which we really respect that. He’s a competitor, a really tough kid. A lot of guys wouldn’t have played with his injuries. Right now he looks much healthier. … He’s not only a threat as a quarterback throwing the ball, he can beat you with scrambles and he can beat you with the zone/read business.”