Comparing Thomas Rawls, Christine Michael in Week 1

Christine Michael had 66 yards rushing and two receptions in the Seahawks' Week 1 win. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks couldn't quite get the ground game going in Week 1, as the team's three running backs combined for 96 yards on 28 attempts (3.43 yards per carry).

"I thought the guys hit the line of scrimmage well," Carroll said. "We just didn’t find the rhythm that we normally found. We ran it a lot -- 32 times is a lot of runs. That's a good commitment to the running game, but it wasn't as productive as we count on. I just think it was this day. I'm not worried about it at all. We're going to stay with what we're doing and do the things that we do and expect to get better. I think we're going to make that happen."

During his weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle, Carroll said that Christine Michael earned the right to start in Week 1, but he noted that Thomas Rawls is ready for an increased workload. Below is a breakdown of what we saw from each back against the Miami Dolphins.

Playing time/usage

Michael played 52 snaps (63 percent), carried the ball 15 times and caught two passes for a total of 17 touches.

Rawls played 22 snaps (27 percent), carried the ball 12 times and caught three passes for a total of 15 touches. He played just two snaps in the preseason after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. Carroll said Rawls got out of the game great from a health standpoint.


Michael totaled 66 yards on his 15 runs (4.4 YPC). Rawls ran 12 times for 32 yards (2.7 YPC). He lined up twice as a fullback and got the ball in short-yardage situations, converting once.

Neither player was able to break off big chunks of yardage. Michael's longest run went for 12 yards; Rawls' for 8.

Rawls had 26 yards receiving on three catches, while Michael had two grabs for 5 yards. This angle is worth monitoring because C.J. Prosise's status for Week 2 is up in the air. The rookie suffered a shoulder injury and a wrist injury in the opener. Prosise is expected to be the Seahawks' third-down back when healthy, but if he can't play vs. the Dolphins, Rawls and/or Michael will get additional touches in the passing game.

Before/after contact

Yards before contact serves as a way to gauge blocking and a back's vision. Michael averaged 2.00 yards before contact, which ranked 20th out of 34 backs in Week 1. Rawls averaged 1.33 yards before contact, which ranked 29th.

In other words, the blocking was below average for both guys, and that's something that Carroll has acknowledged. The Seahawks' offensive line faces a tough matchup in Week 2 against the Rams.

After contact, Michael averaged 2.40 yards on his 15 attempts, which ranked fourth-best. Rawls averaged 1.33, which ranked 25th. A couple things worth mentioning here though. Rawls led the NFL in average yards after contact last year. And at times Sunday, he definitely looked like a guy who was trying to knock some rust off and get back into the flow of playing a game.

Looking ahead

With Russell Wilson banged up, the Seahawks will have to tweak their run game this week. They still used the zone read late against the Dolphins, but with a week to prepare, the Rams will almost certainly collapse on the back and challenge Wilson to keep the ball on those plays.

Carroll indicated that Rawls is ready for an increased role, and he very well could start. We'll see how Wilson looks throughout the week, but there's a good chance that the Seahawks will need to lean on the run game heavily to move the ball against the Rams.