Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls ran for 209 yards in the Seahawks' 29-13 Week 11 win over the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday at CenturyLink Field, adding three grabs for 46 yards and two total touchdowns, a franchise-record rushing effort for a rookie and the second-most rushing yards ever by a Seahawks running back.
Here's how Seahawks teammates, coaches, and 49ers opponents reacted to Rawls' third 100-plus yard rushing game of the season:
(On Thomas Rawls...)"We're all just fired up about what Thomas Rawls did. To see a young guy come through and be so physical and so tough and to make the most of an opportunity. It shouldn't be a surprise to us because he's really played well when he's had his chance to start. I was thrilled with the way the guys rallied to help him. He'd be the first to tell you that the guys up front did a really good job today, run-blocking and making space for him and protecting in general, so a really fun day."
(On what stands out about the way Thomas Rawls runs…)"On the first, he catches the swing route, you see him run up the sidelines, that's the stuff that jumped out when we were watching him as a college player, that he'll attack guys down the field. To me, that was the first impression I got about Thomas, that's why I liked him from the start. He has that mentality about him, he's a very aggressive kid, and a very aggressive style of runner, and I think that's probably what we like the most about him. He did a lot of good things with his feet today. He made some nice little moves and cuts and wiggling through the line of scrimmage. The fact that he's got this nature about the way he finishes runs, and how tough he was, is something we really love."
(On the running game and Thomas Rawls…)"Anytime you don't have Marshawn there, you miss him. He's the best running back in the NFL, arguably, and such a special player. To have a guy like Thomas Rawls step in for him and make the runs that he's making, you have to credit the offensive line. They were physical today. They attacked the whole game, from the get go all the way to the end of the game, and Thomas found the holes and broke tackles. The tight ends and the receivers blocked well and got big first downs for us. "
(On what makes Thomas Rawls so effective…)"I think the best thing about Rawls is the way he works. You're not surprised because every time he comes to work, he comes full force. He's going to work his butt off, he's going to run to the end zone every time. He loves the game of football. To have three great running backs; you think about Marshawn Lynch, arguably the best running back in the National Football League, and then to have Fred Jackson, a guy who's 34 years old, who's a great, unbelievable vet, who can do it all, he understands the game, he can catch the ball extremely well, he runs the ball well, and then to have a guy like Thomas Rawls, a rookie who's extremely talented, to have him be able to look up to guys like Marshawn Lynch in terms of the running game and also Fred Jackson and all that stuff. It's good football. We have three great running backs out there."
(On Thomas Rawls' performance…) "It's always a team effort. For us receivers, we don't want to be one-dimensional. It's not all about running routes and catching the ball. We always emphasize being able to make those blocks, making those key blocks, and we envision it every single week. We talk about it every single week, and the coaches day in and day out say, 'That's a touchdown block, make that block.' We take pride in that and all of the receivers did a great job making those blocks today."
(On Thomas Rawls' running style...) "He understands the scheme really well. When we're running a Y-zone play he makes one cut and he really gets upfield. We've had some really good success with that."
(On how proud he is to have a 200 yard rusher...)"It has been a while. Usually we run for some tough yards but hats off to the young guys. Gary Gilliam, Patrick Lewis, Justin (Britt), all these young guys have kind of rotated in. Those guys did a really good job today."
(On Thomas Rawls performance…) "He's getting better every week. He looks like he's been watching 24 a little bit. The way his style is, downhill, people can't bring him down. He runs over people. It's really impressive, really impressive."
(On if his approach is any different when Rawls is starting instead of Marshawn Lynch…) "No, we know we've just got to give him a little space and he'll make something happen."
(On Thomas Rawls' performance…) "It's awesome. He's been doing it since he got here. He's a hard runner; he commits everything to it and I am excited to watch him continue to grow."
(On the running game…) "Any time you get over 200 yards rushing, you've got to give credit to the offensive line and the receivers blocking downfield. It was fun to be a part of it."
(On the difference between Rawls and Lynch…) "I think he is quicker. He is a little shiftier than Marshawn – he can get in and out of cuts fast. He likes to beat you up, too, and he likes to bring the pain to you. That's one of the things he was able to do today and finish some runs."
(On talking with Thomas Rawls…) "I talk to him a lot. I talk to him after every series, after every timeout if I can. I walk up to him with what I am seeing, he is asking questions, and I try to do the best I can to give him the knowledge that I see."
(On Rawls running for over 200 years…) "Any time you play like that – any time you go over 200 yards as a rusher – your offensive line is doing something tremendous [and] the receivers are doing a tremendous job blocking downfield. He did a tremendous job today, and as a team we did a great job running the ball."
(On Thomas Rawls performance today…) "I don't even know how to put it in words. 200 yards on the ground the way he runs the ball. You've got to give him a lot of credit. He's got a lot of heart, he's got a lot of toughness. But I've got to give some credit to Marshawn [Lynch] too because he coaches him up and he's always in his ear telling him what he should do right and what he's doing wrong to get him better. But give a lot of credit to Rawls to taking that teaching and applying it, and being highly successful in this offense."
(On Thomas Rawls style of play...) "Looking for contact, the shiftiness. Marshawn has a little bit more pizazz to him, but Rawls is an extremely gifted runner. We're thankful he's on our team."
(On Thomas Rawls performance today…) "He had a great game. He was making plays everywhere. And that's something that we saw from him all the way in OTAs. He has a lot of talent and he runs the ball really hard, and he's a playmaker."
(On Thomas Rawls' performance...) "He's been working hard all season. With the opportunities he has been given with Marshawn out and banged up he has taken advantage. I think his breakout game might have been Cincinnati. He had 160 and this game he broke it even more. He's been working since he got here. In the spring, he does the extra reps, the extra work. You're just proud and happy for him."
(On the offense's success running the football…) "It helps out big time if we're able to run the ball and stop the run. Thomas Rawls showed his behind today. He did his thing to rush for 200 and some odd yards in an NFL game. That's impressive, so hats off to him. When we do have a good running game like that, it definitely helps the whole thing."
(On having a 200+ yard rusher...) "I'm excited. Not only for the O-Line but for Thomas Rawls, he's a rookie. He had a great impact today. That's when it's most beautiful, when the guy you least expect has a big day like that. Everybody should feel the energy and love when you ball out. All the hard work pays off."
(On Thomas Rawls…) "He's just got that hunger. The desire to win. The desire to get through you and get past you. He's just a hard runner, and he does his best for us and for himself."
San Francisco 49ers LB Michael Wilhoite
(On Seattle running back Thomas Rawls…) "My hats off to him. I think he ran the ball well, tough runner, physical, fast. I think also to come back to us we didn't do what we're supposed to do. We missed tackles. We weren't in the right gaps. What you saw against Atlanta was very good team defense. We didn't play that today."
San Francisco 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks
(On Seattle running Thomas Rawls compared to Marshawn Lynch…) "Marshawn is hard to bring down. He [Thomas Rawls] can get up the field a lot quicker."
San Francisco 49ers NT Ian Williams
(On if he was surprised by Seattle running back Thomas Rawls' performance…)"No, he's a good running back. He has a bright future and we are going to see a lot of him in the future. What is done is done."
San Francisco 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman
(On the run defense…) "I think [Thomas] Rawls wanted to prove himself to the Seattle Seahawks today so he came out there with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. We have to play better, we have to tackle better and if we do that I think today would've been a lot different."
The sun was out, the 12s were out, and the Seahawks got it done at CenturyLink Field, sweeping their NFC West rival, San Francisco 49ers for the season with a 29-13 win.