The euphoria of Seattle's fourth consecutive victory was dampened Sunday with the news that rookie running back Thomas Rawls suffered a broken left ankle in the first quarter of the Seahawks' 35-6 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Rawls, who has emerged as legitimate star since taking over for Marshawn Lynch in Seattle's backfield, suffered the injury on a 2nd and goal run to the right side on Seattle's initial drive of the game. He'd run for 47 yards on his first five carries against the Ravens but was caught behind the loss of scrimmage on this play, with his left leg getting pinned beneath him.
While Rawls was eventually able to walk off the field and into the locker room, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed the severity of the injury in his post-game comments, announcing that the former undrafted free agent running back currently leading the NFL in yards-per-attempt (5.6) is done for the year.
“He did break his ankle," Carroll said. "I think the torn ligaments are really the problem. 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’re 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. He was a great asset to us this year, and we love the way he’s played.”
For the year, Rawls rushed for a team-leading 786 yards, including four rushing touchdowns.
The Seahawks have been hopeful that Lynch could return this season, electing not to place BeastMode on season-ending injury reserve despite his undergoing surgery on a hernia-related injury Nov. 25. Lynch returned to the Seahawks training facility for rehabilitation this week but there has been little evidence that he's close to returning to action.
With Rawls sidelined Sunday, the Seahawks primarily turned to DuJuan Harris, a street free agent signed to the practice squad just three weeks ago. Harris rushed for 42 yards on 18 attempts against the Ravens - two less than Rawls ran for on just six carries.
Backing up Harris is veteran Fred Jackson, who is more of a pass catching threat at this stage of his career and Derrick Coleman, whose primary responsibility to this point has been as a lead blocking fullback.
As such, expect the Seahawks to once again be scouring the free agent market for a running back this week in preparation for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.