Michael slugged his way to 70 yards on 21 carries, an average of just 3.3 yards per rush. His longest run was 13 yards. He had none of the flash and none of the big plays that had defined some of his other games.

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MINNEAPOLIS — Seahawks running back Christine Michael had the most impressive game of his career in Sunday’s 10-9 wild-card victory over the Vikings.

It wasn’t his best game, not statistically, but I’d argue that it was Michael’s most significant game. And not just because it was the playoffs.

Michael slugged his way to 70 yards on 21 carries, an average of just 3.3 yards per rush. His longest run was 13 yards. He had none of the flash and none of the big plays that had defined some of his other games.

SEAHAWKS 10, VIKINGS 9

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But Michael patiently chipped away at a very tough Vikings defense, which is the exact style he might have become frustrated with earlier in his career.

“This is what he’s become, and I’m so proud of him,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “I can’t say enough about him — his mentality when he got back with us and his focus and his resolve to be better than he was. It’s showing up, and we needed him in a major way. He was consistent with it, he took care of the ball, and he got the tough yards, especially in this type of weather. We knew it was going to be a grinder, and he answered the bell. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Michael has looked and acted like a different player since returning to the Seahawks after getting traded before the season. Carroll said he’s more “humble,” and his performances have had urgency.

But this game was methodical. A four-yard carry felt like a great accomplishment. Michael played like a running back who understood that. That might not have been the case before.

“He’s grown up a lot,” Sweezy said. “And it’s very obvious. You can just watch him day to day, his body language. It’s a credit to him. It’s hard to come from college and be in this lifestyle, and it’s really easy to go the wrong direction. He’s smart enough to realize what happened and what he needed to do. He came back on the path. I love having him in the backfield. I have nothing but respect for that guy.”

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