Seahawks: Lynch-Rawls transition feels like Watters-Alexander


Back in 2001, Seattle Seahawks had an aging but still effective RB get hurt, giving a promising young player a chance to show that he’s the real deal. If that situation sounds familiar, it is because history is repeating itself.

The players then were Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander. Watters was 32, but was coming of a season in which he had over 1200 rushing yards to go along with over 600 receiving yards.

Watters hurt his shoulder in Week 3 of the 2001 season. Alexander took over and became the most prolific running back in team history. Watters played in just two more games before retirement.

Flash forward to 2015, and a similar changing of the guards appears to be taking place. The players are different, but the situation is eerily similar.

In the Ricky Watters role now is Marshawn Lynch. He’s only 29, but his punishing running style and high work load have take their toll. He’s close to the end, and almost retired in the offseason.

Lynch is coming off a season in which he was 4th in the NFL in rushing with over 1300 yards. He also lead the Seahawks to within a yard of a second-straight Super Bowl win.

Lynch had battle a number of injuries this season. Calf and hamstring injuries plagued him earlier in the season. Now though the problem is potentially much more sinister.

Lynch missed Sunday’s game with an abdominal injury. He was listed as questionable, but was expected to play. His name on the inactive list was a surprise.

After the game, Pete Carroll said that Lynch was headed to Philadelphia to see “core muscle specialist” Dr. William Meyers. Dr. Meyers is an expert in sports hernia surgery.

If Lynch has to have surgery, he’d be out 6-8 week. That means that the entire remaining regular season would be lost, and potentially up to the first two rounds of the playoffs.

If his absence, Thomas Rawls has used this opportunity to have a major coming out party. He’s doing his best impersonation of what Shaun Alexander did back in 2001.

Alexander finished that season with over 1300 yards, despite only starting in 12 games. He was dominant, and the Seahawks changed their identity to take advantage of his incredible talents.

Rawls already has 604 yards this season. Almost all of those have come in his three starts. In those games, he’s rushed for 104, 169 and 209 yards.

It is that last one, the 209 yard effort against the 49ers on Sunday, that should give Seattle fans flashbacks. The only Seahawks’ back to ever rush for more yards in a game is Alexander.

If Lynch ends up missing the rest of the season because of his abdominal injury, it likely will be the end of his time in in Seattle and the NFL. He, like Watters, would go out with a borderline Hall of Fame career.

If Rawls continues to run like he has thus far this season, he’ll eventually have shot at some of Alexander’s franchise records.