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Seahawks' run game re-emerges

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 83 of Seattle's 161 yards against Panthers, and scored three TDs.

  • The Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch rushed for 83 yards and three touchdown against the Panthers.

    Assoicated Press

    The Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch rushed for 83 yards and three touchdown against the Panthers.

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By John Boyle
Herald Writer
Published:
  • The Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch rushed for 83 yards and three touchdown against the Panthers.

    Assoicated Press

    The Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch rushed for 83 yards and three touchdown against the Panthers.

RENTON — After spending the better part of a month as an afterthought, the run game once again became an essential part of the Seahawks' offense in last weekend's win.
And no one benefited from last week's change in philosophy more than running back Marshawn Lynch, who carried 21 times for 83 yards and three touchdowns. In Seattle's previous two games, Lynch had just 14 total carries as the offense ditched balance in an attempt to move the ball by any means necessary.
The imbalanced offense had a lot more to do with the offensive line than Lynch, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington. Through the first 11 games of the season, Seattle used eight different offensive line combinations, and last weekend marked just the third time this season that the same line started back-to-back games. If all goes according to plan in San Francisco this weekend, Seattle will go three straight games with the same line combination for the first time this season.
Still, whatever the reason, it's not much fun for the running backs when they're only getting a handful of carries each week. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he made a point of talking to Lynch and the rest of the backs as they temporarily saw their roles decrease.
“We had to take kind of a departure (from the run game) for awhile while we were putting things back together,” Carroll said. “But in the interim period in there, yeah we're talking to those guys, keeping them going. They want to contribute. Their attitude was great, they never griped about anything, they wanted to do anything we want them to do to help us. But naturally, they wanted to do their part and contribute more, so we definitely have always been pointed in that direction and the fact that we now have come back in this last week and got it going the way we like, we'd love to keep it that way.”
Lynch, despite whatever perceived baggage he brought with him when the Seahawks acquired him in an early-season trade with Buffalo, has been nothing but upbeat, even as his role diminished. In his first two games as a Seahawk, Lynch carried 41 times; over the next five games, he had 47 carries. But while last week was certainly a more productive one for Lynch, he wasn't wasting his energy complaining about a lack of carries.
“It would be (a problem) if I was a selfish player,” said Lynch, who on Sunday became the first Seahawk to rush for three touchdowns in a game since 2005. “But as a team guy, you've got to go with what the play calling is.”
An unselfish attitude has been perhaps Lynch's most consistent trait since he came here. Following his three-touchdown effort Sunday, he talked about how well fellow back and close friend Justin Forsett had played. Later he credited his line, then on Wednesday, it was fullback Michael Robison — who returned from a five-game absence last week — who was the target of Lynch's praise.
“Man, the return of Mike Robinson was everything,” he said. “... It was all Mike. Mike did it. He just told me to follow him, so I did. It was all Mike.”
Last week Lynch was a part of Seattle's best rushing effort of the season as the Seahawks gained 161 yards and averaged more than five yards-per-carry for just the second time. Both Lynch and the team hope that was just the beginning of a turnaround for a running game that all but disappeared for a few weeks last month.
“The overall performance last week set the team up,” Lynch said. “We know what we're capable of and we'll chase after that. That week is over now though, we've got to prepare for another team.”
Injury updates
Receivers Mike Williams (ankle) and Ben Obomanu (hand) sat out Wednesday's practice. Carroll indicated that they won't likely return Thursday either, but he hasn't ruled either out for Sunday's game.
“We're still holding out hope that both those guys still have a chance to play,” he said.
As expected, defensive tackle Colin Cole returned to practice for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain on Oct. 31., and he should play Sunday, ending a five-game absence.
“I'm anxious to get him back,” Carroll said. “It seems like it's been forever since we've had him. We'll see how he does. If he can get right back to playing like he was playing — he was doing very well when he left, when he got banged up. He makes us stout, gives us experience, allows us to do some other things with Junior (Siavii), so it'll be a welcome return if he's OK.”
Tight end John Carlson also returned to practice after missing Sunday's game with a hip flexor injury. Left guard Chester Pitts (ankle) didn't practice and is likely another week away from returning, and even when he does get back, it sounds like he'll have to beat Mike Gibson out for the starting job.
“Mike's doing well,” Carroll said. “I don't think we would do anything right now, you know. We would certainly wait and see how Chester comes back. But with the effort towards continuity, why would we do it again and change it again?”
Geathers waived
The Seahawks waived defensive end Clifton Geathers, who they claimed off of waivers on Nov. 27. Geathers was inactive for both of his games with Seattle. The team did not announce Wednesday who will fill the open roster spot.
Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
Story tags » Seahawks

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