Why do guys love to play for Pete Carroll?
The only time the Seahawks have worn their shoulder pads in the past two weeks has been for games. Helmets? Those have sat on hooks in lockers for every work day but games, too. Their coach has dialed the Seahawks waaaaaay back last week and this past one by holding what have been essentially walk-through, day-before-game-like practices in caps, jerseys and shorts for the past two weeks in an effort to keep them fresh for the days that count. “I absolutely love it,” said linebacker K.J. Wright, who enjoyed with his teammates seven days off during last month’s bye beyond the league mandated four in a row. The results speak for themselves: the 38-7 romp at what had been a division leader in Minnesota last week, and a record of 13-2 in December the past three seasons entering today’s game at Baltimore.
Could Thomas Rawls be the Offensive Rookie of the Year?
Yes, he sure could. The undrafted free agent from Central Michigan is peaking with the soaring Seahawks offense — while the Rams’ Todd Gurley, the presumed winner of the award St. Louis drafted high coming off major knee surgery at the University of Georgia, is plummeting inside a malfunctioning offense. Rawls has 786 yards rushing, 49 yards behind Gurley with 31 fewer carries. Rawls is averaging 5.6 yards per carry to Gurley’s 4.8. He has three touchdowns to Gurley’s six, but Gurley hasn’t scored in three weeks. Rawls has gained 209, 81 and 101 yards in his past three games replacing injured Marshawn Lynch. Gurley has gone five consecutive games without a 100-yard game, and is averaging just 52 yards in that span. The Rams fired their offensive coordinator this week. The new one, Rob Boras, is likely to feature Gurley more against Detroit. The Seahawks have featured Rawls every one of the five games Lynch has missed, and Rawls is flourishing.
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Is next week’s start in Seattle last chance for Manziel in Cleveland?
A better question might be: Is it a showcase for the rest of the league in the Browns’ hopes they can deal him to someone else? After a demotion from No. 1 to No. 3 quarterback that was, in effect, a suspension after a bye-week bar night in Texas captured on video and disseminated on the internet, the Browns have reinstalled Johnny Manziel as their starter for Sunday’s game with San Francisco. Cleveland’s next game is at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. How many more chances will the Browns give Manziel. Then again, at 2-10 why not try him again? And again …
Did Vikings coach Zimmer cost Seattle last hope for NFC West title?
He said Friday he might have. The Vikings had no timeouts and 13 seconds on third down from the Cardinals’ 31-yard line Thursday night, trailing 23-30 at Arizona. Knowing a sack would end the game, Minnesota had quarterback Teddy Bridgewater inexplicably take a seven-step drop. That gave aged defensive end Dwight Freeney, a nonfactor the entire game up to that last play, the extra time to get around his blocker. He hit an unaware Bridgewater from behind and forced the fumble the Cardinals recovered to clinch a playoff spot. An Arizona loss to Minnesota and a Seahawks win in Baltimore on Sunday would have left Seattle two games back of the Cardinals with three games remaining, including the regular-season finale at Arizona on Jan. 3. Instead the Cardinals are 11-2 and need just a single win over Philadelphia, Green Bay or Seattle — or one more Seahawks loss — to end Seattle’s two-year run of division titles.
This Raven’s song a touch out of the ordinary?
The Baltimore Sun reported Ravens kicker Justin Tucker sang “Ave Maria” inside a packed Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for a benefit performance in suburban Baltimore this week. Tucker was singing as a special guest along with the Concert Artists of Baltimore at the Catholic Charities’ Christmas Festival. He began singing opera in college and has been featured in a Maryland coffee commercial. Oh, yeah, he’s a clutch kicker, too, in his day job.