With Thomas Rawls listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the 49ers with a leg injury, Christine Michael will likely be asked to pick up the slack.
Friday’s news that Thomas Rawls is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the 49ers makes it increasingly likely that not only will Christine Michael start at tailback for the Seahawks but also potentially shoulder much of the burden to get the running game going.
If that’s the case, though, Seattle coach Pete Carroll says he has no concern that Michael can do the job.
“He’s ready for a bigger load,’’ said Carroll of Michael, who has 126 yards on 25 carries in the first two games in providing almost all of Seattle’s running game so far with Rawls injured last week and quarterback Russell Wilson also running less than usual due to a sprained ankle. “He’s had 20-something carries so far. He’s ready to carry the ball 20-something times in a game. He could be fine with that.’’
If so, it would add another chapter to what has been one of the most interesting stories of Seattle’s off-season.
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A year ago at this time remembered mostly for being one of the team’s more disappointing recent draft picks, Michael has been one of the most dependable players of this season, barely missing a snap throughout the off-season program, training camp and regular season, impressing coaches and teammates alike with his renewed dedication and consistency.
Despite that, the thought all along was that Rawls would retake the starting job when healthy, and that’s what happened last week when Rawls got the nod for the Rams’ game.
But when Rawls suffered a leg injury after seven carries, it was Michael who returned to the fore, rushing for 60 yards on 10 carries.
The game ended in disappointment for both Michael and the Seahawks, though, when he fumbled after picking up eight yards on a pass from Russell Wilson. Michael lost the ball straining to try to get a first down on what was a third-and-10 play, with Los Angeles’ Alec Ogletree credited with both the forced fumble and the recovery.
Michael said he has tried to put that play in the past this week while also remembering its lesson.
“It was tough for me,’’ he said. “I am hard on myself. A lot of guys failed in that situation before they become great at it, so now I know. I know, man, to be smart in those situations. They (teammates) just told me to keep my head up. We’ve still got this week — run the ball well, protect it well and not let one play define me and just get better.’’
Michael wasn’t wearing gloves on the play, having taken the off saying they had gotten sweaty. But he called that no excuse saying he usually practices without gloves and is used to playing either way.
“I was just trying to put a lot into the play and get as much as I can,’’ he said. “I think it would have been fourth-and-two. But with the way our offense is flowing I strongly feel we can get that first down and hopefully win that game. So I definitely put it all on me. I’ve just got to be better in those situations, got to protect the ball better and we will come out and win that game.’’
Michael did most of his damage last week in the second half, gaining 43 yards on six carries following halftime.
But that was about all the Seahawks could muster on a day when they were held to 67 on 24 carries, as big of a reason as any for the overall offensive ineptness.
“We’ve got to get this offense up and running, the run game,’’ Michael said. “Hopefully we can get that done this week.’’
They’ll likely need a big game from Michael to make that happen.