Thomas Rawls rushed for 161 yards against the Lions on Saturday. It was exactly the game Rawls and Seattle's offensive line needed.
This has been a trying and largely disappointing second season for Rawls, who returned from offseason surgery only to break his leg in the second game of the season. But in the biggest game of the year, Rawls rushed for 161 yards, breaking the Seahawks’ playoff record of 157 yards set by Marshawn Lynch against the Packers in 2015.
It was Rawls’ best game of the season and only the second time Rawls has rushed for more than 100 yards this season.
The Lions have not been very effective at stopping the run this season, but the Seahawks aren’t in a position to care about caveats. Just last week, they couldn’t run the ball against a 49ers team that was historically bad at stopping the run.
At his best, Rawls is explosive and shifty and full of contact. He was all of those things against the Lions, and that’s the biggest development out of Saturday’s game: The Seahawks and Rawls looked like they were supposed to look all season.
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On the second drive of the game, Rawls had a 14-yard run — his longest run in four games. Or look at it this way: Rawls rushed for 123 yards in his last four games combined. He had107 yard rushing at halftime against the Lions.
The Seahawks’ offensive line has taken a beating this season, but it pretty consistently gave Rawls room to run. It was the line’s best game in that category in a while, too.
It was exactly the game both Rawls and his line needed, leading to the obvious question the Seahawks will answer, one way or another, next week against Atlanta: Is this an aberration against a mediocre Lions run defense or the turn Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been optimistically talking about all season?