The Seattle Seahawks return home this week to take on their NFC West division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks are coming off a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams while the 49ers were beaten 46-29 by the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers. There are many things to watch for in this game as it is a division rival and the Seahawks need to bounce back big time after their offense wasn’t able to do anything against the Rams. Take a look at one to watch on offense for the Seahawks in this game.
After being drafted in the second round with the 30th pick (62nd overall), Seahawks running back Christine Michael has had an up and down career. After only playing in 14 games in two years, Michael was shipped off to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. He was inactive for the first three games of the 2015 NFL season and saw time in five games as a backup. He was eventually waived and was signed by the Washington Redskins to their practice squad. Less than a month later he was released.
Michael found himself back in Seattle after the injuries to Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. In his first game back with Seattle, he rushed for a career-high 84 yards on 16 carries. Two weeks later, he set his current career-high in rushing yards with 102 on just 17 carries. In the Seahawks first playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, he carried the ball 21 times for 70 yards.
Heading into the 2016 NFL season, Rawls looked to be the one to take over the starting duties after the retirement of Lynch during Super Bowl 50. However, Rawls was still recovering from his broken ankle and Michael received a majority of the carries during the preseason. He carried the ball 26 times for 157 yards in the preseason and earned the starting job over Rawls for the season opening game against the Miami Dolphins.
First two game of the season
During the Seahawks season-opening 12-10 victory over the Dolphins, Michael carried the ball 15 times for 66 yards. He looked explosive running through the makeshift offensive line and looked good at the time. He averaged 4.4 per carry with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. In the game against the Rams, Rawls started the game while Michael saw a few carries. In just ten attempts, he rushed for 60 yards (6.0 ypc) and had a long run of 16 yards. He did have a crucial fumble on the Seahawks final drive against the Rams that eventually cost them the game.
Why is Michael the key player?
Michael has shown that he can be trusted (outside the crucial fumble on the final drive against the Rams, his second ever in his career) and should be the starter against the San Francisco 49ers.
He is more explosive than this writer can remember in his previous three-plus season with Seattle. Anytime you have a running back rush six yards a carry, he needs to remain in the game. He should get a bulk of the carries in the game against the 49ers and no matter how slow he starts the game; the Seattle coaching staff need to continue to give him the ball. Seattle wants to run first and throw second.
With Michael and Rawls as a tandem in the backfield, with Michael getting the majority of the carries, Seattle should be able to run away with this game against their NFC West division rivals.