GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mike Davis arrived at State Farm Stadium on Sunday not knowing if he'd have much of a role in Seattle's offense. After all, the Seahawks running back had just three carries through three games while starter Chris Carson and rookie Rashaad Penny received the bulk of the playing time and carries, and Davis was inactive for Seattle's Week 1 loss at Denver.
But with Carson questionable for the game due to a hip injury, Davis showed up for work on Sunday prepared to do whatever was asked of him, just as he does every week regardless of his place on the depth chart. And when it was determined that Carson would not play, Davis stepped into the starting role and thrived given the opportunity to carry the load, rushing 21 times for a career-high 101 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
"Mike Davis ran like crazy," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He gave us a great effort when Chris couldn't go… He played a great football game. I mean, he played a great football game. He was so competitive and so elusive and so tough, and they're hawking the football and he would not give it up. He played a great football game. He found out when we were here at the stadium that he would get a start.
"Mike just came through beautifully. Our guys really believe in this guy. It's because of all of the work he has done since he has been here. He has been so tough and so aggressive and so competitive, he's just right at the heart of the kind of guy we like having on our club. So for him to come through in a big way was great."
Davis downplayed his big game, repeatedly giving credit to the line that helped the Seahawks rush for 171 yards on 34 carries, good for a 5.0 yards-per-carry average.
"I can't stress it enough, the guys up front are doing a great job," said Davis, Seattle's second 100-yard rusher in as many games. "We're relying on those guys, they're relaying on whoever the back is behind them. It just lets you know that whoever goes in, they're doing their job."
Carroll too was impressed by what he saw from the offensive line of Duane Brown, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi, who also helped Penny have his best game, gaining 49 yards on nine carries.
"These guys up front did a terrific job today," Carroll said. "There have been some teams that have had a hard time running on (Arizona), and to put up 170 is awesome. That's right where we want to get to. We can play off of that, we can fit off of that, we can put our team together off of that. It's the closing of the circle that we talk about—special teams, defense and then running the football. I'm really fired up for where we are in the last two weeks."
Quarterback Russell Wilson, who was sacked twice for the second game in a row after taking 12 sacks in the first two games, also noticed the standout performance of the line both in how they protected him and particularly in run blocking.
"You've got to give credit to the offensive line," Wilson said. "They're blocking their tails off and they're physical as can be, and just to see those guys doing what they do best is cool."
And despite coming into the game uncertain of his role, Davis said nothing really changed for him when he found out he would start in place of Carson.
"It's no biggie," he said. "I come in every game like I'm going to be the starter, I practice every week like I'm going to be a starter, so it isn't a surprise to me when that time comes. I always prepare like that chance is going to come."
Davis' teammates had no doubts that he would come through given the chance, because even though he hasn't seen a lot of playing time this season, they've seen the work he has put in in practice, dating back to when he was on the practice squad last year through becoming the starter late in the season.
"That's Mike Davis," receiver Doug Baldwin said. "That's what he does day-in and day-out, every day. We're not surprised. We've seen him be a beast for the past (two) years, and when he gets his opportunity, he shows everybody else what he can do."
Added Wilson, who helped Davis score his first touchdown with a physical block 20 yards down field, "Mike Davis stepped up in a huge, huge way. He was the star of the game, just making so many plays. He's an explosive player, he works the right way, he's a professional, he comes in ready. He's just always learning, always ready to make plays. He has done that so many times, so that was huge for us."
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' 20-17 road win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 of the 2018 NFL season.