RENTON – They needed someone to clear the way for a sputtering run game.
And the Seattle Seahawks got their man when fullback Michael Robinson returned to the starting lineup against Carolina last week, after missing five games with a hamstring injury.
The Seahawks used Robinson often, with the Penn State product leading the way for running back Marshawn Lynch on 16 of his 21 carries. Lynch finished with 83 yards and three touchdowns.
“I just think it was a war of attrition,” Robinson said about the second-half rally against the Panthers. “We just kept doing what we do, and eventually they said, ‘No mas.’ It was more of that than the holes getting bigger or anything like that because we ran the same plays. And they were the same plays we ran in the first half. It was just more of we kept doing what we do.”
Added Lynch: “It’s good for me and him to see the same thing and be on the same page, and able to make adjustments. So it’s pretty good to have him back.”
Robinson provided a spark for Seattle’s run game, which averaged a league-low 77 yards a contest heading into last week’s game against the Panthers.
“No one wanted to say it, but (if) you don’t have a fullback on your roster, it makes it a little harder, especially in short yardage and goal-line situations,” Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “Having (Robinson) back is huge. I think it definitely showed up last week.”
The Seahawks struggled running the ball in goal line situations this season, but punched it in twice from a yard out last week. Robinson said he asked coach Pete Carroll to run the ball when they got near the goal line.
“That’s what we’re here for,” he said. “We’re here to run the ball. And when it’s third and 1 or third and short, what faster way to get to the end zone than to hand us the ball?”
Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said the return of Robinson allowed the Seahawks to run more two-back sets. Seattle had been using tight end John Carlson as a lead blocker at times, and running more two, tight end sets with Robinson out.
“He plays with a lot of intensity,” Bates said. “You can tell we really missed him and he did some special things so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do this week also, playing his former team.”
The Seahawks travel to San Francisco on Sunday, where Robinson began his career five years ago. But Robinson says it’s just another game for him, and that he’s more concerned with having a shot at making the playoffs for the first time.
“Obviously there’s a little emotional attachment there because I was there for so long, and had some good years there,” Robinson said.
He downplayed the possible accomplishment, but prodded further, Hasselbeck revealed that the potential milestone meant something to him.
With a win on Sunday against San Francisco, Hasselbeck would tie the record for most wins by a quarterback in franchise history of 70, set by Dave Krieg, who played for the Seahawks from 1981 to 1990.
“It just falls in line with the feeling of pride that I have just for being with this organization for so long,” Hasselbeck said. “There’s been a lot of turnover. There’s been a lot of people just kicked to the curb, run out of town, so-to-speak. So it hasn’t been easy weathering the storms of all the changes and all.”Hasselbeck went on to say that more so than reaching that mark, he’s pleased the franchise is again headed in the right direction. After winning only nine games in two seasons, the Seahawks sit at 6-6 and in reach of winning the NFC West title for the first time in three seasons.
“I feel like we’re getting back on track to where we were,” Hasselbeck said.
Wide receivers Ben Obomanu (hand) and Mike Williams (ankle) did not practice for a second consecutive day. Also sitting out practice were offensive lineman Chester Pitts (ankle) and linebacker Lofa Tatupu (knee). Defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle) and linebacker Matt McCoy (head) returned to practice and were full participants, as well as cornerback Roy Lewis (knee), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle), tight end John Carlson (hip) and quarterback Hasselbeck (left wrist).
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks