Johnson on Russell Wilson: He’s Seahawks’ best back

By Nick Shook
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The Seahawks are coming off perhaps their most forgettable offensive performance in years in a 14-5 loss to Tampa Bay, but that isn’t luring the Panthers into taking the NFC West leaders lightly.

Never mind that Russell Wilson has spent much of the season hampered by injuries — ankle, knee, pectoral, you name it. Charles Johnson thinks Seattle’s quarterback is as good as ever, with an uncommon compliment on top.

He still looks the same to me” Johnson said, via the Charlotte Observer. “He still looks elusive to me. He’s still probably the best running back on their team. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us.”

It’s actually not outrageous to call Wilson — a quarterback — Seattle’s best running back, especially after the Seahawks bid farewell to Christine Michael and shortly thereafter saw C.J. Prosise knocked out for a while with a scapula issue. Wilson led the team in rushing with 80 yards on eight carries in the loss to Tampa Bay.

Thomas Rawls, who has battled injuries throughout 2016, is the Seahawks‘ starting tailback, but there’s a reason Johnson heaped the praise on Wilson: The quarterback was left off the injury report for the first time since kickoff weekend back in September. With health comes added elusiveness, which is perhaps Wilson’s greatest skill and also makes Seattle’s offense that much more difficult to defend.

“He’s good, man,” defensive tackle Kawann Short said of Wilson. “He doesn’t quit. He’s going to find a way. And that’s our job as a defensive line to take that way that he’s trying to find away.”

The two teams haven’t met since the NFC Divisional playoffs, when the Panthers took a huge lead early and held on to unseat Seattle. Plenty has changed since then, including a season filled with struggles for Carolina. Wilson put up gaudy passing numbers in that contest due to facing an uphill climb in what ended up as a high-scoring affair. This game promises to be different.

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