From beating out journeyman Matt Flynn for the starting job over two years ago to leading Seattle to a one-sided win in Super Bowl XLVIII, Russell Wilson has blossomed into an enigmatic leader for the Seahawks franchise. The face of the club through numerous endorsement deals, Wilson provides a calm presence with rocket-speed legs and lots of self-confidence. His passing statistics aren't staggering, but they don't have to be; he's well-rounded enough to remain effective.
Following Thanksgiving, Wilson was just outside the top-ten in rushing for the season, accumulating 679 yards in 12 games. This includes three games of topping 100 yards, peaking with 122 against the Redskins. Wilson has not thrown more than two touchdown passes in any game, separating him from the more prolific passers, but his ability to run (7.5 carries a game) creates a deadly balance.
BEAST MODE, ACTIVATE
Too much hemming and hawing over whether or not the notoriously-silent Marshawn Lynch will even be a Seahawk next year. The news has dissapated a bit, but Lynch's appetite for yards has only increased. It's notable though that after pulverizing the Packers in the Kickoff Game with 110 yards and two scores, Lynch did cool off, failing to clear 100 yards for two whole months. His peak was 88 against the Broncos in Week 3.
Beginning with an absolute beatdown of the Giants on November 9, where Lynch reached 140 yards and scored four times, "Beast Mode" ran for 124 in a loss to the Chiefs, and 104 in the Thanksgiving shellacking of their rival 49ers. The burly, hard-to-tackle Lynch is finding his groove once more, just in time for the Seahawks to begin their late playoff push.
NO STAR RECEIVERS
Golden Tate cashed in on a Super Bowl season with nearly 900 yards and five touchdowns by signing with the Lions this offseason. Percy Harvin's Super Bowl performance was stellar, but not enough to keep the team from axing him after five games this season for reputed issues with attitude. Even without the recognizable names, the Seahawks offense is served well with less-heralded talents.
Doug Baldwin leads the team in receiving yards with a humble 519 and two touchdowns. In fact, Lynch, never really a pass-heavy back, leads the team with three scores through the air. Jermaine Kearse is second to Baldwin in yards with 414, but has only found the end zone once. A handful of tight ends have had to step up for the injured Zach Miller, namely Luke Willson and recent breakout Cooper Helfet.
WHERE THE RUN GOES TO DIE
It was the pass defense, the "Legion of Boom" that became signature stars for Seattle in their Super Bowl run, but their run defense is pretty nifty in 2014, even better than a season ago. Opponents are averaging merely 3.54 yards a run, the fourth lowest total in the NFL, and second lowest in the NFC behind Detroit. Prior to the Eagles' Thanksgiving win, Seattle was the only team to technically hold DeMarco Murray below four yards a run this year (3.96, which does round up to four).
Linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner stand out as the most consistent run stoppers on the Seahawks defense. Wright's recorded 37 stops behind the line, while Wagner adds another 25. Murray (115) and Jamaal Charles (159) are the only two running backs to clear 100 yards this season on Seattle, with Charles rushing for an impressive 7.95 yards a run. Most backs aren't as prolific.
BOOM OR BUST?
Richard Sherman spews lots of acidic words, but few have been truly able to sew his jaw shut. Along with Byron Maxwell, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor, the Legion of Boom has been the driving force behind Seattle's rise to the top of the NFL. 2014 has seen the group a little less effective than one season ago, with 31 other teams spending sleepless hours in the offseason trying to solve the physical puzzle.
Of Seattle's four losses, two have come when they were unable to force a turnover (Chargers and Rams); in both cases, those teams stampeded Seattle's defense (the Rams used special teams risks to pull it out). The opposing passer rating is a healthy 85.9, up from last year's sub-Arctic 63.4. Opponents are completing more than 64 percent of their throws, while the Seahawks have just nine picks over 12 games (and seven across the first 11).
Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.
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