As a third-round pick, Russell Wilson was not promised a starting job.
But on Sunday against St. Louis, the Seattle quarterback will get one last chance to stake his claim as one of the unlikeliest candidates for this year’s offensive rookie of the year award.
While Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have played up to their first-round draft status, Wilson has bulled his way into the conversation by helping to lead Seattle to a playoff berth and a 10-5 record, including winning the its past four games by an average margin of 31.5 points.
Since Week 5, Wilson has thrown for 2,274 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns, with six interceptions.
During that same stretch Wilson has a 106.9 passer rating, second-best in the league over that span behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (110.8).
In the red zone, Wilson has completed 56 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.6 passer rating, which is fourth-best in the league.
Here are a couple of more stats working in Wilson’s favor:
• Wilson ranks second all-time in league history with 25 touchdown passes thrown by a rookie, one short of the NFL record set by Peyton Manning in 1998.
• He’s the first player in NFL history to have three rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in the first half of a game (at Buffalo on Dec. 16).
• Wilson helped Seattle become the first team since the 1950 New York Giants to score 50 points in consecutive games in a single season.
• His three consecutive games with a 125-plus passer rating set an NFL rookie record.
Those impressive numbers certainly seem to indicate that Wilson should be in the mix for the award, but the University of Wisconsin product predictably said it’s not in the front of his mind this week.
“All I think about, is focus on just winning,” Wilson said. “Obviously, accolades are great, but the thing that’s on my mind is winning the next game, against the Rams. The main goal is to do something great.
“We’re trying to do something special. The biggest goal and the biggest accolade we want is the Lombardi Trophy, obviously.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I can’t believe that you can’t want to vote for the kid,” Carroll said. “But those other guys are great players, and they’ve done great stuff for their football teams. That’s exciting, fun stuff. I don’t think he cares much about it. He’d put the trophy on the shelf and all that, but that’s not what he’s all about.”
Luck and Griffin aren’t slouches. Luck has set the rookie record for passing yards (4,138) with a game remaining in the regular season, turning an Indianapolis team that finished 2-14 last season – earning the right to draft him No. 1 overall – into a winner and leading the Colts into a playoff berth.
Although he’s thrown 18 interceptions and posted a pedestrian 75.6 passer rating, Luck has led his team to seven fourth-quarter comebacks, has thrown the fifth-most passes in the league (599) and accounts for 80 percent of his team’s total offense this season.
Basically, Luck has been asked to shoulder more of the load offensively than have either Wilson or Griffin.
Statistically, Griffin is the best of the three. Although he’s missed one game with a knee injury, Griffin has thrown for 3,100 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s the top rushing quarterback in the NFL with 752 yards, is second in passer rating (104.1) and has the Redskins on the brink of making the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Seahawks’ opponent this week
ST. LOUIS RAMS (7-7-1)
1:25 p.m. Sunday, CenturyLink Field
Against the Seahawks: Seattle has a 17-11 advantage over the Rams in the all-time series, including wins in 13 of the past 15 contests. The Seahawks swept St. Louis last season, taking a 24-7 victory in St. Louis and a 30-13 triumph a month later on a Monday night in December. However, this season the Rams defeated the Seahawks in St. Louis, 19-13, in September.
Stats and stuff: St. Louis has won four of its last five contests, and the Rams have a chance to finish above .500 for the first time since 2003. … Running back Steven Jackson has rushed for 990 yards and four touchdowns on 246 carries, leaving him 10 yards short of 1,000 yards for an eighth consecutive season. The Oregon State product is a free agent at the end of the season, and might not return to St. Louis. … Washington State University and Rogers High product Brandon Gibson leads the Rams in receptions with 48 for 646 yards and five touchdowns. … Quarterback Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft for the Rams, has thrown for 3,450 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Bradford is completing 58.2 percent of his passes and has an 83.2 passer rating. … Defensive end Robert Quinn leads St. Louis in sacks with 9.5. Linebacker James Laurinaitis leads the Rams in tackles with 137. And rookie Janoris Jenkins leads the team in interceptions with four, including three returned for touchdowns.
Quotable: “In order to compete, in order to be a consistent playoff contender, you have to have success in the division. You have to build yourself for success in the division, and I think we’re on the right path. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the right path.”
— St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher on his team’s undefeated record (4-0-1) against NFC West foes.
Sept. 9 Lions 27, Rams 23Nov. 11 Rams 24, 49ers 24
Sept. 16 Rams 31, Redskins 28Nov. 18 Jets 27, Rams 13
Sept. 23 Bears 23, Rams 6Nov. 25 Rams 31, Cardinals 17
Sept. 30 Rams 19, Seahawks 13Dec. 2 Rams 16, 49ers 13
Oct. 4 Rams 17, Cardinals 3Dec. 9 Rams 15, Bills 12
Oct. 14 Dolphins 17, Rams 14Dec. 16 Vikings 36, Rams 22
Oct. 21 Packers 30, Rams 20Dec. 23 Rams 28, Bucs 13
Oct. 28 Patriots 45, Rams 7Sunday at Seattle
Nov. 4 ByeEric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks firstname.lastname@example.org