When the NFL expanded the Thursday night football slate this season, it seemed like a win-win for everyone. Instead of only twice a week, America gets three nights of football.
As great as it is, it hasn't been a win-win for the road teams in Thursday night contests. According to Mike Garafolo of USA Today, the road teams are only winning 36.4 percent of the time on Thursday nights.
This is compared to a 43.2 percent win rate overall. So far this year, the New York Giants Week 3 victory over the Carolina Panthers is the only Thursday road win. It isn't a case of better teams beating the worse teams either.
Of the 55 Thursday games mentioned above, only 16 times did the home team have the better record entering the game. The visitors had a better record 26 times, with 13 matchups of teams with equal records. It's not an exact science, of course, but those numbers indicate there's no reason why the winning percentage of Thursday road teams (.364) isn't in line with the rate of all road teams (.432) over the past six seasons.
There are a lot of factors that go into it. Injuries become magnified in a shortened week. Steelers' linebacker LaMarr Woodly didn't play in last Thursday's game with what was supposedly a minor hamstring strain. It doesn't necessarily mean with a few days extra rest he would've been good to go on Sunday, but it couldn't have hurt.
For a team like the Seahawks with a rookie quarterback at the helm, the three less days to prepare for a team can be a tough loss to overcome. As Garafolo pointed out, Wilson struggled late in the game against the 49ers and he is hardly the first rookie to do so.
Wilson's performance surely wasn't helped by the short week to prepare for an experienced and talented defense. That's another issue with these Thursday games - rookies and other players without a lot of experience don't seem ready to play in them. Late in the season, with more of practice time, those players would be better adjusted. But early in the year, especially with limited training camps under the new collective bargaining agreement, some of them look like they don't belong. Case in point: Cardinals tackle Bobby Massie's struggles late in the loss to the Rams.