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Seahawks lose Rice for season with torn ACL

AP

Russell Wilson spent nearly as much time on his back getting sacked as he did standing and completing passes. Seattle’s defense bent to the final yard on the final play before making a goal-line stand.

The Seahawks are lucky style points don’t count in the NFL because their 14-9 win in St. Louis was an ugly, unimpressive performance.

For a week, the belief that Seattle is the best team in the NFC took a shot, even if they’re the only team in the conference that’s 7-1. And the news didn’t get better Tuesday with the team confirming wide receiver Sidney Rice will miss the rest of the season after suffering an ACL tear in his knee.

Rice was not having much of an impact in Seattle’s pass game this season, but Wilson was under immense pressure from blitzing defenses recently as the Seahawks’ makeshift offensive line failed to provide adequate protection. Rice was targeted 35 times by Wilson, but finished the year with just 15 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns. He went without a catch against the Rams and was targeted three times before getting injured in the first half.

Throughout his three seasons in Seattle, Rice was slowed by injuries. His first season in 2011 was cut short by a serious concussion and shoulder problems that saw him limited to nine games. He played in all 16 games in 2012 and had 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns. It was his most productive season since 2009 when Rice went to the Pro Bowl after eight TDs and 1,312 yards receiving.

Rice’s knees have been bothersome to the point he flew to Switzerland to have treatment during training camp and was brought along slowly in the preseason and at the start of the regular season. He’s due $17.5 million in base salary the next two seasons, meaning his time in Seattle could be done without a significant restructuring of his contract.

The team was off on Tuesday, but on his weekly radio show earlier in the day coach Pete Carroll spoke about Rice showing concussion symptoms rather than problems with his knee.

The loss of Rice leaves Seattle without a tall receiver and makes the return of Percy Harvin even more critical to an already thin unit. Harvin remains day-to-day, Carroll said on Tuesday. Carroll said the Seahawks pushed Harvin last week, but were then forced to rest him.

Second-year receiver Jermaine Kearse — now the tallest receiver at 183 cm — will likely get the bulk of the playing time in Rice’s place until Harvin is ready to go.

There won’t be immediate help on the offensive line either. Carroll said Tuesday that right tackle Breno Giacomini (knee) is still a couple of weeks away and while left tackle Russell Okung is getting healthy, he isn’t eligible to return from short-term injured reserve until Week 11.

Seattle’s seven first downs were the fewest in a victory in franchise history. The 135 yards were the fewest in any game since 2009.