By CURTIS CRABTREE
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Eight games into his inaugural campaign as starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson has begun to find a groove.
The Seahawks have put more on Wilson's plate in recent weeks as Seattle has gone to the passing game more frequently. Seattle has averaged over 30 carries a game for the season. But of Seattle's four games with fewer than 30 carries, three have come in the last three weeks.
Part of that has been because of the increased faith in Wilson.
Wilson has responded by putting together two of his best performances in the last three weeks. Wilson rallied the Seahawks from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to stun the New England Patriots. Wilson threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns as the Seahawks won 24-23 at home.
Wilson then had his most efficient game last week against the Detroit Lions, going 25 for 35 for 236 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Wilson again led his team to a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter but Seattle's defense couldn't hold the lead in a 28-24 loss to the Lions.
"He has 10 games under his belt counting preseason so he's been out there quite a bit," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He has benefited tremendously and he's extremely poised about taking on the challenges of it. That gives him a chance to play like he's capable of. So we're just trying to fit it together as well as we possibly can right now."
Wilson has managed to keep the Seahawks in every game they've played this season and has led go-ahead touchdown drives in the fourth quarter in three of Seattle's four victories. All four of Seattle's losses have come by less than a touchdown. Still, Wilson knows there were opportunities he let slip away at the end of the game in the first half of the season.
"I wish I had a couple more wins on my belt," Wilson said. "We've lost a couple games right there at the end but the great thing about it is that, for me as a rookie playing the quarterback position, all those games have come down to the end of the game. I don't think it can get any better in terms of being a rookie for this organization, and for me personally, to be in those situations, and understand those situations that much better, and still play at a high level during those tough situations."
Carroll had said the Seahawks "kept a lid" on Wilson early in the season in order to let Wilson ease into the role. Now the reins are off and Wilson is taking full advantage.
"We're going to continue to grow," Carroll said. "There's nothing holding us back right now. We're really moving and he's done a marvelous job of continuing to progress and not having any fallbacks."
NOTES: WR Doug Baldwin returned to full participation in practice Thursday, two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain against the San Francisco 49ers. RB Marshawn Lynch (back) and G John Moffitt (knee) also fully participated. ... WR Braylon Edwards (knee), DT Jason Jones (ankle) and DT Greg Scruggs (oblique) did not practice. ... CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring) was limited.
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