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Originally published December 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM | Page modified December 31, 2012 at 6:54 AM

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Russell Wilson opts out of attempt at record-breaking TD pass

Seattle called a pass play for Wilson from the St. Louis 1-yard line with the NFL rookie touchdown-pass record in mind, but the quarterback ran it in when he saw an opening.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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With less than two minutes left and the score tied Sunday, Seattle had more than just a go-ahead touchdown on its mind with the ball at St. Louis' 1-yard line.

Coach Pete Carroll said the team called a pass play on second down to give quarterback Russell Wilson a chance to break Peyton Manning's rookie record of 26 touchdown passes in a season. Wilson had matched Manning's mark, set with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, earlier in the game.

"He deserved a chance to try to get it," Carroll said.

Wilson took the snap hoping the Rams would expect a run and leave a receiver unmarked. Instead, the defense dropped back in coverage, resulting in a wide-open running lane to the left side of the end zone.

At one point, tight end Zach Miller flashed across Wilson's vision.

"I was about to throw it to Zach to break the record," Wilson said. "Then I realized, 'That's not me.' I wasn't worried about that. The whole thing was to win the game."

Wilson took the sure thing and ran in the winning score, staying in a tie with Manning. The 20-13 win removed any chance for individual disappointment.

"It's such a blessing," Wilson said. "God is so great. I wouldn't say I'm in consideration to be at the same (level as Manning) or anything like that, but to tie that record is something very special."

The 26 passing touchdowns might be shared, but hypothetical tiebreakers favor Wilson.

He finished with four rushing touchdowns this season, while Manning had none in 1998.

Wilson also attempted 182 fewer passes as a rookie than Manning (393 to 575) and had fewer interceptions (10 to 28).

Seattle fullback Michael Robinson offered another potential tiebreaker.

"Did Peyton go to the playoffs his first year?" Robinson said. "No. Then you know who I think was better."

Wilson, who became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to go 8-0 at home, finished his special season with a 100.0 quarterback rating, breaking Matt Hasselbeck's team record of 98.2 in 2005.

Lynch caps career year

Yet another 100-yard game for Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch capped one of the best rushing seasons in team history. Lynch finished with a career-high 1,590 yards in 2012, behind only Shaun Alexander's 1,880 in 2005 and 1,696 in 2004.

Lynch had 100 yards or more in eight of Seattle's last 10 games and a career-high 10 times overall, matching Minnesota's Adrian Peterson for the NFL high this season.

"This year has just been great for him," Robinson said of Lynch. "People don't want to tackle the guy this late in the season."

Another pick for Sherman

It took a game-clinching interception with 33 seconds left for the Seahawks to secure their 11th win, and who better to collect it than Richard Sherman?

The pick was Sherman's fourth in four games and team-leading eighth on the season (tied for second in the NFL). The 24-year-old had reason for celebration earlier in the week, as well, when he won his appeal to overturn a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

"I was hunting; I was waiting on the (opportunity) all day," said Sherman, a Pro Bowl alternate.

Perfect at home

The Seahawks were the only NFL team to finish undefeated at home this season, matching their 8-0 unbeaten marks from 2003 and 2005.

And while Sunday's win didn't affect Seattle's playoff seeding in the end, the streak still carried some meaning.

"It's very big for us," said safety Earl Thomas. "We take pride in protecting our home field."

NOTES

• Wilson received the Steve Largent Award on Sunday, an honor given since 1989 to the Seahawk who best exemplifies "the spirit, dedication and integrity" of the team. Wilson is the first rookie to win.

• Linebacker Bobby Wagner had 10 tackles and set a Seahawks rookie record for tackles in a season with 140, breaking Terry Beeson's mark of 136 set in 1977.

• Three sacks allowed to Rams defensive end Chris Long were the most by a Seahawks opponent since Indianapolis' Robert Mathis had three against Seattle on Oct. 4, 2009.

• Guard John Moffitt was inactive for the second straight game due to a coach's decision. Linebacker Leroy Hill was not available to due a hamstring injury.

• Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid raised the 12th Man flag.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @joshuamayers.

Wilson is the best
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson set a Seahawks record with the best passer rating for a season.
Rating Year Quarterback
100.0 2012 Russell Wilson
98.2 2005 Matt Hasselbeck
95.0 1983 Dave Krieg
94.6 1988 Dave Krieg

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