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Russell Wilson is poised to lead Seahawks in rushing this season

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NFL: Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks
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Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With his next scramble or option keeper, Russell Wilson could well become the Seattle Seahawks’ leading rusher. He’s 14 yards short.

Yep, the Seahawks, perennial paragons of the run game, erstwhile league leaders in rush attempts, past employers of Beasts, are about to hand off the team lead in ground yards, halfway through the season, to their quarterback. Barring:

  • a renaissance of the offensive line’s ability to run block;
  • a return to form for Eddie Lacy and/or Thomas Rawls;
  • a commitment to J.D. McKissic as the lead back;
  • a return to health and production for C.J. Prosise;
  • the elevation of someone like Mike Davis from the practice squad;
  • a few more big gains on jet sweeps for Tyler Lockett,

Wilson will continue to sit at or very near the top of Seattle’s rushing leaderboard. Seems like a lot of things to bar? Perhaps. But which one of those events above would you bet on actually happening?

Chris Carson still owns the team lead in rushing, with 208 to Wilson’s 194. Since Carson was lost to a probable season-ending injury three and a half games ago, no Seahawk is getting it done on the ground like the budding flautist Wilson.

Rushing, Weeks 5-8

Wilson 56, Rawls 56, Lacy 53, McKissic 16, Lockett 13.

Yards per carry, Weeks 5-8

Wilson 5.1, Lockett 4.0, Rawls 2.2, Lacy 2.0, McKissic 1.8

It certainly doesn’t help the active running backs’ case that over the course of the whole season, Wilson is getting 5.4 yards per carry (36-194) while they collectively post a measly 2.7 (93-241). It is literally twice as productive for Wilson to keep the ball himself as it is to hand it off in the backfield.

Now whether you want to lay blame at the feet of the offensive line, or the ball carriers themselves, or the run game coordinator, or the offensive coordinator, or the head coach, or even the general manager, that is a matter for much debate. Maybe the Zone Blocking Scheme is outdated. Maybe the personnel on hand doesn’t match the plan from the man. Maybe it’s time to stop establishing the run. Maybe there is too much commitment to the run — but then again, maybe a mixture of commitment and stubbornness will pay off in the end. We’ve known the Seahawks to think in the long term, within the framework of a single game, a single season, or a whole decade. Hey, maybe the 2017 season isn’t advanced enough to render judgment.

However.

Independent of who is getting carries, bottom line is that the Seahawks continue to win despite their ground game struggles. Three and oh, after all, since Carson went down. And the Seahawks offense continues to defeat defenses and move the ball up the field. Seattle has 2,592 yards of total offense through seven games. Does anyone want to guess where that ranks, in franchise history? Second.

Mentally bold, italicize, underline, and sprinkle the following sentence with adorable little emojis if necessary: Through seven games, only the 2005 Seahawks have out-produced the current Seahawks in terms of yards.

Through seven games again, the current Seahawks have also outpaced their 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 brethren in points scored. The 2013 team had 191 at this point. The rest of the list goes:

2017: 175 points

2014: 172 points

2015: 154 points

2016: 131 points

2012: 106 points.

That doesn’t mean a pass-only offense is sustainable. That doesn’t mean you can win an NFCCG in Philadelphia with single-digit yards from your running backs — on double-digit carries. Oy. 16 carries for five yards against the Texans. Still trying to process that, juxtaposed against the last five seasons of Seattle football.

It doesn’t mean you can win consistently when you go an entire game without a running back converting a first down, like the Seahawks did vs. the Texans.

But maybe it does mean Wilson is the offense. He is one of only five quarterbacks with more than 2,000 yards passing on the season. He and his smart legs can pick up 30 yards on a late drive when you need a touchdown, but also beat you from the pocket. Seriously. If Wilson’s yardage (32) on Sunday’s next-to-last drive alone was counted as a whole game, it would be the Seahawks’ third-best performance in the post-Carson “era.” Rawls had 36 a game ago, Lacy 34, and then there are Wilson’s 32 clutch yards. The clutchiest.

So what if the quarterback is the whole offense? Russell Wilson is not a game manager. He’s not a game president, not a game CEO. He is a game dictator.