Thomas Rawls had been filling in admirably at running back for the Seattle Seahawks…then he suffered a broken ankle and torn ligaments in Sunday’s 35-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Rawls, who had 830 rushing yards on just 147 carries this year, will now miss the rest of the season.
Head coach Pete Carroll says that the team is now trying to figure out when previous starter Marshawn Lynch can return. The 5-time Pro Bowler last played on Nov. 15 against Arizona, then underwent abdominal surgery on Nov. 25. The hope was that Lynch could return within 3-4 weeks; however, it doesn’t look like this will happen now.
“We’ll see how Marshawn does,’’ said Carroll. “He was back in rehabbing with us (this week). We’ll see where he is. He’s got a chance to get back. It’s all about getting back in shape and getting right. I don’t know what the timetable is at this point. Our trainers can’t tell yet. But that will be the next thing we will look to see how that works out.”
Without Lynch and Rawls, Seattle will go with DuJuan Harris and Fred Jackson, who combined for just 57 yards on 25 carries after Rawls exited the Ravens game with an ankle injury. Fullback Derrick Coleman could also receive some carries, given that he had a 19-yard run last Sunday.
The Seattle Times predicts that the Seahawks will be looking through the free agent ranks in hopes of adding another tailback, considering that the trade deadline has already passed. This leaves possibilities like former 49ers RB Kendall Hunter, former Philadelphia Eagle Bryce Brown, ex-Denver Bronco Montee Ball and former Arizona Cardinal Marion Grice.
Two more options would be former Seahawk Christine Michael, who’s currently on the Washington Redskins practice squad, and ex-Baltimore Raven Ray Rice. The latter has not played since 2013, as Rice was suspended for the entire 2014 season following a domestic incident.
Obviously none of these options are extremely exciting to Seattle since they’ve already had chances with other teams. But it wouldn’t hurt to add some depth at tailback until they can get Lynch healthy and starting again.
In the meantime, the Seahawks will try to wrap up a playoff berth in the NFC. They get the Browns and Ravens at home, which offers a perfect opportunity to settle the running game against weaker opponents. Then Seattle finishes with a tough home game against Arizona, which has already clinched the NFC East at 11-2.
Since beginning the season at 4-5, the Seahawks have gone on to win four straight games and put themselves in position to earn one of the NFC’s two Wild Card spots. They won the Super Bowl in 2013 and came within a yard of winning the Super Bowl last year. Odds are that they’ll have a much tougher time recreating the same feat in 2015 with so many injuries at running back. But if Lynch can return in time, maybe they have a shot at another title run.