Rookies Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett, Frank Clark emerging for Seahawks

With the conclusion of the regular season in college football this past weekend, now is the time in which most first-year players historically begin to "hit the rookie wall" in the NFL. That doesn't appear to be happening for the Seahawks' standout youngsters, however.

There is plenty of credit to go around following Sunday's white-washing of the Minnesota Vikings Certainly Russell WilsonDoug Baldwin and the collective effort from the Seahawks defense deserve top billing.

Seattle's rookies Thomas RawlsTyler Lockett and Frank Clark, however, also deserve special mention as their efforts on offense, defense and special teams contributed significantly to a win head coach Pete Carroll accurately described as "a very complete victory."

Following the game, Carroll talked about the impact his rookies are having this season.

"Isn't that something?" Carroll said. "It's really exciting to see those guys able to contribute in such a big way. That's good for us, that's exactly what we hope happens, and we're going to need a lot more from them as we go down the stretch here."

Lockett got things going immediately with a 47-yard kick return on the game's first play and led the Seahawks with a season-high seven receptions for 90 yards. On the returns and receptions, alike, Lockett was consistently able to make the first Minnesota defender miss, using his vision, agility and rare first-step acceleration to slip by would-be tacklers. Just as impressively, the 5-10, 182 pound Lockett also showed terrific courage and toughness when sandwiched between two Vikings to make a 29-yard catch in the second quarter to convert a 3rd and 8.

Rawls didn't start off the game as impressively - losing the first fumble of his career on the Seahawks' initial drive of the game. The terrific balance, jump-cuts and hyper-aggression he's demonstrated for most of season, however, came through as the game went on and he eclipsed the 100 yard mark yet again - the fourth time in six NFL starts in which he's done so.

Despite the limited playing time, Rawls currently ranks 10th among all NFL rushers this season with 786 yards. The undrafted free agent leads the league with an average of 5.6 yards gained per rush.

Lockett and Rawls have been spectacular when called upon all season long. The big difference Sunday was Clark, who registered set new career-highs with two sacks and two pass defensed in a breakout performance.

Asked to slide inside with Jordan Hill and Demarcus Dobbs inactive, Clark repeatedly burned Minnesota with a combination of initial quickness, core strength and closing speed.

 "Without Jordan Hill, we decide to make that move, which we had worked on a lot earlier hoping that might work out, then it was kind of forced upon us," Carroll said of Clark playing inside. "It's nice to have that athleticism in there with everything else that's going on, so we'll try to keep building on that."

At a time when rookies for other clubs are slowing down, Seattle's first-year players appear to be building momentum. In doing so, they appear to be microcosm of the team, in general.


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