JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Thomas Rawls’ slide to irrelevance continues.
The lead back entering this preseason--the supposed heir to Marshawn Lynch--got just one snap Sunday in the Seahawks’ 30-24 loss at Jacksonville. Rawls all but stood and watched despite the fact new featured runner Mike Davis got a rib injury in the third quarter and played just 48 percent of snaps--and despite Eddie Lacy, Rawls’ former competitor for the job of No. 1 back, was a healthy inactive.
So if Rawls wasn’t going to play more than one snap in this game, he may not again this season.
This was the second time in 13 games the breakout star as an undrafted rookie in 2015 was in for just one play. He’s been a healthy inactive for two other games. Those are the first two healthy scratches of his career.
Davis, a practice squad player over the first 10 weeks of the season, gained 66 yards on 15 carries against the NFL’s top-ranked defense before he got hit on a 1-yard loss with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter and left the game. Coach Pete Carroll did not have any more information on Davis’ injury other than to say the waiver pickup from San Francisco this spring “got hit in the ribs.”
Davis ran for 49 yards on four, reviving carries late in the first half, the first four plays of Seattle’s best drive of the game’s first two quarters. That drive ended with Blair Walsh missing a 38-yard field goal to keep the Seahawks behind 3-0 into the third quarter.
Davis’ 66 yards were almost Eric Dickerson-like considering the standards of Seattle’s running backs this season. They are last in the league in production, with quarterback Russell Wilson remaining the team’s rushing leader. Wilson gained 50 more yards on five carries, most scrambles again. His 482 yards on the ground are more than twice that of any running back.
“I thought he looked great. I thought he ran like crazy,” Carroll said of Davis. “This is the best (total) defense in the NFL. We had 100 yards at halftime. Mike was ripping, and he did a nice job with these guys and that means the guys up front did a nice job too. Russell’s yardage was helpful, but I thought Mike looked really good.
“I’m on the sidelines, I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t see it, but that’s what I thought.”
Seattle got 15 yards on three carries from the only other running back active against the Jaguars, former wide receiver J.D. McKissic.
The Seahawks, down 24-10 at the time Davis got hurt, did called only one running play over the final 20 minutes of the game. So that’s another reason Rawls didn’t get more than his lone, token appearance earlier.
But it’s indisputable that Rawls has fallen so far out of Seattle’s plans.