BY Art Thiel 06:47PM 09/28/2015

Thiel: RB Rawls helps Seahawks skip a Beast

Pete Carroll saw Central Michigan’s Thomas Rawls on video before the draft, and was all excited. Imagine his feelings after Rawls started Sunday and gained 104 yards subbing for the Beast.

Rookie RB Thomas Rawls was “one of my guys,” said Pete Carroll, referring to the undrafted free agent he most wanted right after the April draft. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The surprise emergence of rookie RB Thomas Rawls Sunday in the 26-0 triumph over  Chicago — 104 yards in 16 carries — not only looks like another pelt on the Seahawks’ undrafted-free-agent wall of brag, it may help save the running game in the possible injury absence of Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch was to have undergone an MRI Monday on his injured hamstring, according to coach Pete Carroll. That follows an MRI on his calf last week.

“We won’t know until later in the week,” Carroll said about Lynch’s availability for the Monday night game against Detroit. Lynch came out for early warmups Sunday, couldn’t “get right” for the game’s start, Carroll said, but eventually made in onto the field for five carries and 14 yards. The one pass for a fourth-down catch of nine yards in the second quarter was the play he strained his hamstring that ended his day.

Even though he is a big Rawls fan, Carroll seemed a bit surprised at Rawls’ tackle-breaking productivity.

“I didn’t get the feeling in preseason that we got (Sunday),” he said. “I don’t know that we knew it all. But we knew he was a great worker. This is the guy we kinda were hoping to see. The style of running was evident.”

Prior to draft day, Carroll watched video of Rawls from the past season at Central Michigan, where he played only nine games, starting six, but rushed for 1,103 yards and was second-team All-Mid-America Conference. The highlights including a 270-yard rushing effort against Northern Iowa.

Carroll seemed almost giggly recalling the moments after the draft when Rawls, who graduated in three years from the University of Michigan before transferring to CMU, went unselected, but was being pursued by several teams besides Seattle.

“He was one of my guys,” he said, smiling. “I was really fired up about him. I liked the style he brought. I was pulling for (his signing) to come through. There was a little pressure then to get him. We were thinking about drafting him.

“He’s got his own style — very aggressive. He’s looking for hits downfield. He’s not looking to miss guys  he’s willing to go right after them. He’s got a nice wiggle at the line, but he’s got the attitude that he’s coming.”

Rawls confirmed his appetite for the collision.

“It gets heated out there, and I like that,” he said after the game Sunday. “I love the physicality of the sport. You got to be tough-nosed, hard runner, especially in this backfield here in Seattle, because that’s one thing we pride ourselves on.”

Rawls, 22, was the NFL’s third-leading rusher in the preaseason, whatever that is worth. Few thought much about it. Then came the RB tumult of the Robert Turbin ankle injury, the acquisition of veteran free agent Fred Jackson and the trade of former second-rounder Christine Michael to Dallas for a conditional seventh-round pick.

Turbin was waived after an injury settlement (he was picked up by the Browns). Suddenly the backups to Lynch were Jackson and Rawls. The assumption was that Jackson, 34 and experienced, would step up first when Lynch was resting. Instead, Rawls got the call.

“We’re trying to develop roles,” Carroll said, “knowing that Fred is more of a third-down guy for us. Thomas isn’t ready to do that yet, so we divide up the roles.”

Jackson, like Lynch, is a good pass catcher out of the backfield. Rawls is not, which became apparent in the second quarter when QB Russell Wilson lofted an easy pass to Rawls. Wide open,  he clanked it.

But he’s all about the straight-ahead.

“I get stronger as the game goes on, for some reason,” he said. “I just feel like these legs don’t get tired.”

A beastly approach.

Jets claim Dion Bailey, release Ronald Martin

Dion Bailey, cut Saturday to make room for the return of SS Kam Chancellor, got a job with the New York Jets, who claimed him off waivers Monday. Bailey opened the season at St. Louis as Chancellor’s stand-in during his 54-day holdout that ended Wednesday, but didn’t play from scrimmage in the week two loss at Green Bay.

The Seahawks likely hoped Bailey would clear waivers so he could be put on the 10-man practice squad. To make room for Bailey, the Jets waived SS Ronald Martin, who was in training camp with the Seahawks but was released before the regular season. He might join the Seahawks practice squad if he clears waivers.



  • Tha Creek

    Any offensive stats should be taken with a grain of salt in the Chicago game. Even the Seahawks defense would start having issues if their offense punted every time they got the ball.

    • art thiel

      Bears punter was so overworked he reported a sprained knee Monday. No joke.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        He was running his fanny off chasing Lockette to no avail on the kick off to the house. He tackled Sherman in the 1st half somehow running him down on the RAM deception play….the boy was over worked alright.

  • Effzee

    Rawls seems to have some Beast Mode in him, including a bit of that fierce look in the eye. He was sort of reckless looking, throwing his body downfield and at guys. Fun to watch. They must love to have found a fresh-bodied Mini-Lynch for the backfield.

    • art thiel

      I think Sunday surprised Carroll and coaches. Not sure about how long that pursuit of contact will serve him. Gotta be smart sometimes.

  • notaboomer

    hey only 1 of the 29 nfl concussions so far in 2015 has been at running back so there’s that:

    • art thiel

      PBS has done a great job with this story.

  • notaboomer

    might also be noteworthy that jimmy clausen had a concussion in preseason so probably played with diminished capacity in seahawks game.

    • art thiel

      I think diminished capacity comes later in life.