Clayton, running game impressive
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; Staff writer
SAN DIEGO – Thomas Clayton irritated fans at Qualcomm Stadium when he flexed his biceps after breaking a long run late in the game Thursday night.
But his hard-running style may have raised a few eyebrows on the Seattle Seahawks’ coaching staff.
Recently picked up off waivers by Seattle after New England released him last week, Clayton took advantage of extended playing time thanks to both Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch sidelined. Clayton led the Seahawks in rushing with 16 carries for 62 yards, including a late 25-yard touchdown to seal Seattle’s 24-17 win.
Clayton helped Seattle finish with 133 yards on the ground.
“I was definitely pleased with the offensive line,” Clayton said. “They did an amazing job all game. So I definitely like to give thanks to those guys, and it was awesome blocking down field in order for me to make that cut for the touchdown, so just my hat goes off to my teammates.”
The Kansas State graduate fits in perfectly with Seattle’s zone blocking scheme, a hard runner that makes one cut and gets downhill. Clayton said he earned the nickname Tommy Gun in college because of his large biceps, and that moniker followed him to the pros, including stops in San Francisco, Cleveland and the Patriots.
“I figured that’s what my team wanted, so I gave them a little something,” Clayton said about flexing his guns. “It came in college, and it carried over to my first team, San Francisco. And Mike Rob (Seattle fullback Michael Robinson) kind of introduced it to the rest of the team here. And ever since, it kind of caught on, and the coaches are kind of calling me that now.”
Carroll was pleased to see an improvement in the running game, after his team finished second-worst in the league in rushing last year, averaging 89 yards a contest.
“Beautiful,” Carroll said. “I thought the formula of how it worked out came out fine. The fact that we were running the ball in the fourth quarter is something we really like.”
RETURN OF WHITEHURST
Seahawks reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst returned to his old stomping grounds for the first time. The Clemson product spent four years in San Diego before being traded to Seattle last season.
So Whitehurst spent some time saying hello to former teammates before the game. And he had to make sure he didn’t follow them down the tunnel to the home team’s locker room.
“I’m usually pretty quick into the locker room,” Whitehurst said. “But I was one of the last guys out there seeing a bunch of my old buddies. It was fun.”
Whitehurst appeared comfortable, finishing 14 of 20 for 115 yards and an 84.4 passer rating. Whitehurst led Seattle to two scores, playing the second and third quarters.
“I think I played OK for the first preseason game,” Whitehurst said. “You’re not going to be perfect. But you go out and get into a rhythm, and we did that in the third quarter, and it turned out good.”
Seattle players who did not play in the game include: WR Deon Butler (leg), WR Mike Williams (toe), WR Sidney Rice (shoulder), CB Walter Thurmond (ankle), CB Roy Lewis (knee), DE Dexter Davis (unknown), DT Jay Alford (unknown), OT Caz Piurowski (unknown), DE Red Bryant (knee), WR Kris Durham (hamstring), WR Ben Obomanu (shoulder), TE Cameron Morrah (toe), DT Colin Cole (ankle), DE Chris Clemons (ankle), DT Kentwan Balmer (neck stinger), RB Justin Forsett (unknown) and DT Ryan Sims (knee). Obomanu and Rice participated in warm-ups during pre-game workouts. … The Seahawks will take today off and resume practice on Saturday.