BALTIMORE - You’d think it would be a gimme.
The Seattle Seahawks are on the road today (10 a.m., Q13 FOX) facing a 4-8 Baltimore Ravens team that could be down to its third-string quarterback with Joe Flacco out for the season and backup Matt Schaub banged up badly last week against Miami.
If Schaub doesn’t play, that would leave Jimmy Clausen as the starter – and would put Seattle in the odd position of facing the same starting quarterback twice in the same season for two different teams. Earlier this season, Seattle beat up on Clausen in a 26-0 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Here are three things to keep in mind today.
This game isn’t as easy as it looks
That 4-8 record might be a little deceiving. The Ravens’ eight losses have all been by eight points are fewer. History is also on their side: Baltimore is 12-1 all-time at home against West Coast teams, and is 12-2 all-time against NFC teams in December. To be fair, however, most of those came with Flacco at quarterback.
Russell Wilson has been simply sensational lately
It’s safe to say we’ve never seen him play better, in fact. Whether it’s throwing, designed runs or just scrambling, he’s been spectacular. Best of all has been in play in the pocket. He was criticized earlier this year for scrambling too soon, but lately ‘s been hanging in there, getting rid of the ball earlier and making his throws.
His numbers the past three games have been superb: He’s completed 66 0f 88 pass attempts for 879 yards and 11 touchdowns with a passer rating of 148.2. He’s playing great football right now.
Wreck-it Rawls is on fire, too
Thomas Rawls has done an incredible job stepping in for Marshawn Lynch at running back. He runs a lot like Lynch, although he’s perhaps a little shiftier and quicker to the hole, though Lynch has more power. Rawls has solidified the position for the Seahawks, but he might be putting them in a position to make a difficult decision the long-term, when the team will have to decide what to do about Lynch’s big contract.
You can make an argument that Rawls has been the best rookie running back – and maybe the best offensive rookie, period – in the NFL this season. Only Todd Gurley has better numbers, rushing for 835 yards and six touchdowns to Rawls’ 786 yards and four TDs. Rawls, however, has played fewer games and has fewer carries. In their last three games, Rawls has averaged 130 yards and Gurley’s averaged 42. Who would’ve thought the Seahawks’ backup running back could wind up being the offensive rookie of the year?