SEATTLE – Inside a mostly dull Seahawks locker room late Saturday, Thomas Rawls limped toward his locker. His ankles seemed painful and swollen, and he stepped gingerly, shuffling a few inches during a time opposite a blue runner underfoot.
Rawls sat down, took a low exhale and stared off into space. He stayed that approach for a minute, observant nothing. His coma was interrupted by his coach, Pete Carroll, who was strolling past in a dim overcoat on his approach out of CenturyLink Field after a Seahawks defeated a Lions, 26–6, in their wild-card matchup. Carroll knelt on both knees and Rawls leaned brazen and Carroll whispered something in his ear. As Carroll walked away, Rawls grinned and shook his head.
Twenty mins later, a locker room was dull solely for Rawls and a apparatus managers. He was asked what Carroll had pronounced to him. “Great to see me out there, basically,” Rawls said. “He told me we looked like me again.”
That final partial is critical for Seattle and a playoff hopes. It wasn’t prolonged ago that pundits tabbed a Seahawks as Super Bowl contenders—Nov. 20, to be exact, after back-to-back matter wins over a Patriots and Eagles. That was before a damaged in Tampa, a drubbing in Wisconsin, a home detriment to Arizona. That was before a descent line regressed, before Seattle limped into a playoffs, a run diversion ranked 25th.
In a prior 4 seasons, a Seahawks finished third, first, fourth and third in a NFL in rushing. That was their formula: run a ball, play vigourous defense, vital in time government and allege low into a playoffs. Then Marshawn Lynch late before a 2016 deteriorate and Seattle used 19 opposite round carriers and Rawls suffered a hairline detonate in his left fibula in late September—just 9 months after a damaged ankle finished his ’15 campaign.
Thus a Seahawks entered their opening playoff diversion opposite a Lions with a heading rusher, Christine Michael, who was no longer on their team. (Michael, cut by a Seahawks, plays for a Packers.) They had gained usually 87 rushing yards opposite a 49ers’ league-worst run invulnerability in a regular-season finale.
As Seattle prepped for Detroit, Seahawks cornerback DeShawn Shead pronounced he beheld how pointy Rawls looked in practice, how he bounced between plays as if overcaffeinated. Rawls, Shead said, looked like he wanted to play Wednesday.
On Saturday, Rawls carried early and carried often. He ran off tackle, adult a middle, around both ends. He galloped down margin on a 32-yard run in a second half, looking like his crony and coach Lynch but a dreadlocks, spinning divided from defenders, using over them. He carried 27 times and gained a franchise-playoff-record 161 yards and scored a touchdown.
More important—most important—he combined change and dimension to a Seahawks offense that looked some-more like, well, a Seahawks offense. “I’m revelation you,” Carroll said. “That’s a diversion we’ve been looking for.”
Obligatory disclaimer paragraph: a Seahawks did this opposite a Lions, a sixth seed in a NFC, a group that available 8 of a 9 wins this deteriorate by 7 points or less. The Falcons group Seattle will accommodate subsequent weekend in Atlanta scored an NFL-high 540 points this season. The Falcons have a improved offense than Detroit, a improved group than Detroit and a distant improved possibility of finale a Seahawks’ season. Seattle also isn’t expected to again advantage from a series of weird plays that happened Saturday—like wideout Paul Richardson’s one-handed, reach-around touchdown catch (which he should have been flagged on for a facemask penalty) or receiver Doug Baldwin’s butt grab (he literally hold a round by pinning it to his backside).
All that said, if a Seahawks are going to make a playoff run—emphasis on if—the approach they played on Saturday, how they kick a Lions, that’s a blueprint. That is how it will look. The Seahawks rushed for 177 yards and singular a Lions to 49 yards on a ground. Seattle hold a round for 36:39, compared to 23:21 for Detroit. “That’s really a formula,” Shead said. “That’s how we’re ostensible to play.”
Shead pronounced this during his locker, as jubilee erupted all around. The Seahawks seemed looser than they had in new weeks, as if they knew they had not played their best football in Dec and had watched as a pundits likely that a Packers and Giants, teams seeded reduce than them, were improved versed to plea Dallas and Atlanta for NFC supremacy. Tupac’s “Can’t C Me” blared from a speakers in a locker room as core Justin Britt called this a descent line’s best run diversion of a season. Cornerback Richard Sherman hold justice with inhabitant writers, play free. Richardson carried around a span of bullion high-tops brimful with spikes.
“I had my feet propped adult on a sideline,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “It was fun examination (the run game) warp that clock.”
That’s what happened Sunday. As Carroll noted, Rawls looked like himself again and so did a Seahawks and that will symbol possibly an misconception or a start of a run few saw entrance during a commencement of 2017.
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