Russell Wilson is doing a much better job of avoiding sacks and he's simply been sensational during the Seattle Seahawks' three-game win streak.
Wilson has 11 touchdown passes with no interceptions in this stretch as he leads the Seahawks on the road Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Known mostly as a running quarterback, Wilson has 450 yards on the ground to rank second behind Carolina's Cam Newton at that position. His propensity to scramble resulted in 31 sacks in Seattle's 3-4 start.
He has been sacked seven times in a 4-1 stretch since, with his last three efforts producing some eye-popping numbers.
Wilson has thrown for 879 yards with a 76.7 completion percentage and 148.2 passer rating as Seattle (7-5) has outscored foes 106-50 in this streak. He was 21 of 27 for 274 yards with three scores along with an eight-yard rushing touchdown in last Sunday's 38-7 rout at Minnesota.
''When he's able to stay in the pocket, make his reads and deliver the ball like he's been doing the last 12 quarters, he becomes so deadly because he still has the ability to get out of the pocket and work his magic. When he's playing like this, it's hard to say who's better than him,'' receiver Doug Baldwin said.
Baldwin has five TDs and 239 yards the last two weeks and has caught 17 of 21 passes thrown his way in the win streak.
Wilson had six career games with at least three TD passes before this three-week stretch.
''He's preparing beautifully,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''He is really dialed in. His connection with his guys, the receivers, is really on it.''
Thomas Rawls has amassed 391 rushing yards with three touchdowns over last the last three weeks filling in for the injured Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks lead the NFL with 146.6 rushing yards per game.
Seattle has faint NFC West title hopes, sitting three games behind first-place Arizona. The Seahawks are one game behind the Vikings for the No. 5 seed and a likely matchup against the winner of the mediocre NFC East, which features four losing teams.
The way Seattle is playing, seeding and playoff positioning don't seem too important. It held Minnesota to 125 total yards – the lowest by a team this year.
''Once we get in a rhythm, we know we're a hard team to beat,'' cornerback Richard Sherman said. ''We know we have a championship pedigree. We've been there, we've been in big games, in Super Bowls. We know what we're capable of.''
Baltimore (4-8) has also been known for playing in big games, though that likely won't be the case this year. The proud franchise reached the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons and won the Super Bowl three seasons ago.
Now the Ravens must win the rest of their games to avoid their first losing season since 2007 – the year before John Harbaugh took over as coach. Baltimore is not yet eliminated, though it has a better record than only three AFC teams.
''Miracles do happen in terms of outcomes,'' Harbaugh said, ''but I don't care about any of that – other than the fact that we're going to go out and win a football game this week.''
It's not clear if Matt Schaub will make his third start in place of an injured Joe Flacco. Schaub threw for 308 yards with one score, two picks and three sacks in last Sunday's 15-13 defeat at Miami as he absorbed several hard hits and needed to get cleared through the concussion protocol.
Schaub did not practice Wednesday and backup Jimmy Clausen, acquired off waivers from Chicago on Nov. 24, is getting increased reps. Clausen's lone start for the Bears this year was a 26-0 loss at Seattle on Sept. 27, in which he was 9 of 17 for 63 yards. He has been reunited with former Chicago coach Marc Trestman – now the Ravens offensive coordinator.
Baltimore has the league's fewest interceptions with four and second-worst turnover differential at minus-11. The Ravens insist they don't care about being spoilers down the stretch.
''It's all about our team,'' Harbaugh said. ''We don't get involved in that kind of thinking – ever. I don't think that's much of a motivator for anybody.''
These clubs have split four meetings, with the home team winning two apiece.
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cam Newton
- Doug Baldwin
- Jimmy Clausen
- Joe Flacco
- Marshawn Lynch
- Matt Schaub
- Richard Sherman
- Russell Wilson
- Seattle Seahawks
- Thomas Rawls