When this football season started, no rookie quarterback had more heat on him than the Seahawks' Russell Wilson.
The other rookies — Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III, Cleveland's Brandon Weeden, Miami's Ryan Tannehill — were playing for teams with moderate expectations.
Their franchises were coming off miserable seasons. Their teams, at least in the early-season games, could live with the expected rookie mistakes, the misreads, the forced throws, the oh-no-not-in-the-red-zone interceptions.
But in Seattle, the Seahawks were expected to be contenders. In coach Pete Carroll's third season, the pieces were in place. This was a playoff team, if ...
Russell Wilson was the if. He was the rookie who had beaten out the high-priced veteran Matt Flynn in training camp. He was the untested 5-foot-not-quite-11, third-round draft pick, who was expected to make plays in a season when every weekend felt as important as the playoffs.