The Seahawks have struggled to run the ball this season, but coach Pete Carroll said running back Thomas Rawls could return next week.

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The Seahawks have struggled to run the ball this season, but reinforcements could be coming soon: Running back Thomas Rawls will run this week and then prepare to play the following week, coach Pete Carroll said.

That timetable would have Rawls back for the Nov. 7 game against the Buffalo Bills, a week before the Seahawks play the Patriots.

“That’s what we are counting on unless something changes,” Carroll said.

Rawls hasn’t played since the second game of the season because of a fibula injury, and Carroll was optimistic that Rawls could add some needed juice to a rushing attack that has been uncharacteristically lacking this season. Carroll’s offenses have always been able to run the ball, both in terms of quantity and quality.

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But that hasn’t happened this season. The Seahawks 27th in rushing yards per game (82.7), 12th in rushing attempts per game (26.5) and, perhaps most telling of all, 31st in yards per carry (3.1).

Since 2012, the Seahawks have never finished a season ranked worse than seventh in any of those three rushing categories.

“There is no question that we have missed Thomas’ factor, just the style of play and all of that and to give a real one-two punch would be a nice accent,” Carroll said. “I am hoping, I really see us as having an opportunity to improve.”

Rawls showed just how dangerous he could be as a rookie last season, but he didn’t look healthy in the two limited games he played before suffering the fibula injury in week two. He carried the ball 19 times for just 25 yards before his injury but missed most of the preseason.

Rawls is quick at the line of scrimmage, and he has the explosiveness to shoot through holes for big gains. Just as important, he’s a physical runner, the refuse-to-step-out-of-bounds style Carroll and the Seahawks love.

But it’s not just Rawls that Carroll is banking on. The Seahawks have missed Wilson’s ability to run or even just the threat of Wilson running.

Wilson has typically averaged about 35 rushing yards per game during his career, but he’s averaging just 5.5 yards per game this season after being limited with ankle and knee injuries.

Carroll said for the first time this season quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t have any “carryover” from his injured ankle after Sunday’s game. Wilson injured his ankle in the first game of the season.

“There are a lot of positives coming around the corner,” Carroll said. “We just have to hold it together until we feel those.”

Carroll has been clear that he still wants the Seahawks to run the ball. He hasn’t changed his philosophy or his intentions, even if the results haven’t been there.

“It’s not hard to stick with it,” Carroll said. “It’s just hard to deal with the fact that you don’t have it. We need to hang with it.”