With Marshawn Lynch injured, future could be now for Thomas Rawls

SEATTLE -- Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor felt the need to interrupt.

He was being asked about a first-quarter play where running back Thomas Rawls caught a swing pass, bowled over 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock and rumbled forward for 12 yards, causing the entire Seahawks sideline to erupt.

"What do you mean?" Chancellor said with a smile as the play was described to him. "He knocked over a lot of defenders today, not just one."

Rawls piled up 209 yards on 30 carries, leading the Seahawks to a 29-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 89 of those yards came after contact, the highest number of any running back in Week 11.

The Seahawks' blocking was as good as it's been at any point this season, but time and again, Rawls picked up extra yards, fighting through tackles and seeking out contact.

"I have never run out of bounds," Rawls said. "It's just my make-up. It's my whole mentality. I think I would feel less of a person just running out of bounds instead of being physical, showing toughness and [having] a different mentality at the running back position."

Chancellor knows what it's like to fire up his teammates with a big hit. He said Rawls' running has the same effect.

"You just feel it," Chancellor said. "You just feed off of runners like that. A guy like Thomas Rawls coming in, working hard, running hard every play. That’s something you’ve seen ... building up. He’s got that hunger, that desire to win, that desire to get through you, get past you."

Added safety Earl Thomas, "Even when you’re sitting on the sideline, it still gives you a boost of energy. That’s the passion that anybody can bring to this team. Once they show that their heart is on the line, you can see it in their play, and you feed off of that."

The Seahawks find themselves at 5-5 with six games remaining. Marshawn Lynch is scheduled to see a specialist in Philadelphia Monday for his abdominal injury. Coach Pete Carroll said they have not ruled out a sports hernia; nor have they ruled out surgery, which could sideline Lynch for an extended period of time.

On one hand, there is the excitement surrounding Rawls' performance. On the other hand, there is at least the possibility -- although nothing is certain -- that Lynch has played his last game in a Seahawks uniform.

"Marshawn came up to me and said, 'Look youngin, I'm going to pass you the torch for the day. You know what to do,' " Rawls said.

"To see a running back like Marshawn Lynch do some of the things he does, it's crazy. I remember when I was a rookie, I had just gotten here, and coach Carroll comes up to me and says, 'I see you eyeing Marshawn like that.' I am trying to be as best as I can in my profession, and to have him and Fred Jackson, also coach Sherman Smith, is an amazing feeling. I feel free."

Asked if Rawls reminded him of Lynch, Chancellor said, "A little baby Marshawn? He’s still got time to grow, but right now, he’s doing a great job with us."

The Seahawks will find out this week what the rest of the season holds. They may have to lean on Rawls the rest of the way as they attempt to make a run, or they could have to figure out a way to keep both backs involved.

But overall, Sunday worked out well for them. The Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Rams all lost. And while the Arizona Cardinals firmly control the division, the wild card is very much a possibility.

Along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seahawks are currently one game behind the Falcons for the second wild-card spot. Next up is a matchup with the 6-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We like what we're seeing right now, so we'll see if we can build on it," Carroll said. "We have a chance to have a good team. We still do."