The Seattle Seahawks keeps hovering around .500, but their one consistent successful thing has been the running game, especially when Thomas Rawls got the chance to carry the ball. With Marshawn Lynch possibly out for the season, it’ll be up to the rookie out of Central Michigan to pick up the slack and help the team make the playoffs.
Lynch has been having abdominal problems, making him miss three games so far, including the latest win over the San Francisco 49ers. His abdomen injury might be a sports hernia, which means surgery, and that means the end of the season for him. Besides the issue of replacing him with Rawls (and maybe some more Fred Jackson), it casts a huge shadow over his future with Seattle. He’s 29, playing in the league since 2007 and has two more seasons worth a $23.5 million cap hit.
But there’s what could be, and what is. And right now, Rawls is the main go to guy in a running game that’s leading the NFL in yards per game. When Rawls has gotten the chance to get some meaningful carrying numbers, he’s been fantastic, with 604 yards in just 101 carries, finishing with 100 or more in three of the four games he’s had more than 10 carries. He shined brighter than ever in the 29-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, rushing for 209 yards on 30 carries, scoring one touchdown.
With the Seahawks struggling so much to protect the quarterback (although it didn’t seem to be that way against the 49ers, who aren’t an indication of anything), except Rawls to continue in his dominant role in the backfield with Russell Wilson. While Wilson had a great game against San Francisco, the rest of his season has been filled with ups and downs, and mostly trying to escape pass rushes.
The Seahawks are built on running the ball. That’s the basis of their offense, and what opens up the chances for Wilson despite the constant complaints about the quality of his wide receivers and overall targets. Rawls might not be popular as Lynch or has something going with the Seahawks fanbase, but for now, every chance he’s had has been picked up in both hands and run for plenty of yards.
Seattle might be just 5-5, which is disappointing considering the standards they’ve set over the last three years, but the playoff race in the NFC is far from over. They’re not going to catch the 8-2 Arizona Cardinals, one of the best teams in the league. But right now, with so few teams with a winning record in the NFL, they’re actually one game behind the Falcons for the sixth and final spot, and have the ability to keep moving up towards securing a fourth consecutive playoff berth, with or without Lynch.