SEATTLE -- After C.J. Prosise exploded down the right sideline for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Thomas Rawls made his way to the end zone and was one of the first people to congratulate his teammate.
Hours later, Rawls found out his teammate had suffered a scapula injury during the game, and that he will now be the one the Seattle Seahawks count on to carry the running game down the stretch.
"He'll have a chance to make it back, but it's going to be a while," Pete Carroll said of Prosise. "So here comes Thomas, and we'll fill it in as we go."
In many ways, the Seahawks' situation at running back has come full circle. Going into the season, the plan was to start Rawls and have him lead the way in the first official season of the post-Marshawn Lynch era. But in Week 2, Rawls suffered a fibula injury that sidelined him until Sunday's game.
He was knocking off the rust against the Eagles but carried 14 times for 57 yards (4.1 avg.), an encouraging performance considering Rawls had been out of service for roughly two months.
"I train myself not like an average person, but I train myself to take on these loads for situations like this," Rawls said. "You never know the outcome or the result of the game. Not just that, but for personal pride. I work hard, and that’s all I know. All I know is go."
Added Carroll, "I thought Thomas looked great. He was hitting it. He was getting tired. He had to come back out there and hang in there tough. It was great to see him play football. He's a marvelous kid, and we saw exactly what we wanted to see. He was attacking and getting after it. A couple of great cuts to bust a couple runs too. I thought it was a great first game for him."
The Seahawks are suddenly thin at running back. In addition to Prosise's injury, Troymaine Pope suffered a high ankle sprain against the Eagles. Last week, the Seahawks waived Christine Michael. Alex Collins (10 carries for 19 yards on the season) was inactive Sunday but will now be back in the mix. It's obvious that the plan going forward will be for Rawls to carry the ground game. There's really no other option.
"Because that hit, I see him getting back to who he is," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "He's a physical ballplayer. He loves that. He loves physicality. He loves going after people. He loves bringing the fight to them. Just to see him get back to who he is and be out there just made my night."
The Seahawks' strength all season has been their passing game. Wilson is throwing the ball more than ever, and he has the weapons to do so in Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett. But on Sunday, Seattle totaled a season-high 152 rushing yards.
Carroll wants balance on offense, and if the Seahawks are going to achieve that in the final six games, Rawls will have to lead the way.
"Whatever it takes to help these guys," Rawls said. "I know that a couple guys went down in the backfield, and I’ll be praying for those guys. But in the meantime, I need to hold down the running back position. No pressure."