Paging the suddenly-urgently needed Marshawn Lynch.
Seahawks rookie running back Thomas Rawls, Lynch’s replacement, will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken ankle and torn ligaments Sunday in Seattle’s 35-6 win over the Ravens in Baltimore.
Rawls had 47 yards on his first five carries of the Seahawks’ fourth straight victory, plowing through Ravens like he had Bengals, 49ers, Steelers and Vikings before them. But on his sixth carry of Seattle’s opening drive he got trapped behind the line and engulfed by a swarm of Ravens. His left ankle bent under the pile. The Seahawks’ medical staff ran onto the field followed close behind by coach Pete Carroll. They knew almost immediately the undrafted free agent’s impressive debut season was over after 830 yards rushing.
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“I think the ligaments are really the problem,” Carroll said. “I don’t think he’s going to have to have an operation, from what I understand. Thomas has had a fantastic rookie season. Just exemplifies what we are all about: toughness, and hard-nosed and committed and grit and all that stuff. We love the guy, and we’re really going to miss him.”
After the game, in a silent scene outside the visiting locker room beneath M&T Stadium, Rawls was helped onto the back of a motorized cart. He grimaced with a bowed head, his left leg encased in a walking boot on which he wasn’t walking. He was then driven out down a service hallway to the team’s bus to the airport and Sunday night’s flight home to Seattle.
“He’s torn up about it,” Carroll said.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he prayed for Rawls.
And his mother, whom Rawls calls his rock back home in Flint, Michigan, tweeted:
He walked off the field slowly with a limp and was replaced by DuJuan Harris, who was on the practice squad until eight days before.
“I just talked to him for a second. He’s such a stud kid that he’s trying to fire me up,” Carroll said.
“I’m sure it’s tearing him up inside because he would love to continue with his teammates.”
The coach said the next move for the team will be to see how close starter Lynch is to returning from abdominal surgery Nov. 25.
“We have to see where he is. He has a chance to get back. It’s all about getting back in shape and getting right,” Carroll said. “I don’t know what that timetable is at this point; our trainers can’t tell yet. But that would be the next thing that we are looking at, to see how that works.
“In the meantime, we’ll figure it out.”
Of course, if Wilson continues his recent throwing -- 16 touchdowns, no interceptions in his last four games -- and the offensive line continues its pass blocking -- no sacks allowed Sunday, only eight allowed in the last six games after 31 in the first seven -- despite a Plan D at running back in Harris, the Seahawks may be able to withstand yet another injury. Harris signed with Seattle’s practice squad Nov. 24, a day before Lynch’s surgery, then was added to the active roster in time to backup Rawls last week at Minnesota.
He lost a fumble at the 5-yard line in the second quarter Sunday or the rout of the Ravens would have been even worse.
“I have to better,” a glum Harris said repeatedly.
He played 15 games for Green Bay last regular season, and nine combined for the Packers and Jacksonville in the 2012 and ‘11 seasons, respectively.
Kam Chancellor sustained “a bruised back side” in the second quarter on Sunday and did not return. Special-teamer Kelcie McCray replaced him at strong safety.
Chancellor was on an exercise bike on the sidelines for some of the rest of the game after he got hurt. He walked out of the locker room carrying his own bag following the game. The Seahawks have a policy of injured players being off-limits to talk to the media.
“He was really uncomfortable today,” Carroll said, “(but) we think he has a chance to get back next week.”
The Seahawks (8-5) host Cleveland (3-10) next Sunday. The Browns ended a seven-game losing streak by beating San Francisco.