An obvious plan was to establish the run, since it was such an area of obvious vulnerability for the San Francisco 49ers.
It seemed to be the perfect chance for Seahawks back Thomas Rawls to get some easy yardage, and work back into playing condition heading into the playoffs after missing some time with an injured shoulder.
But Rawls managed a scant 14 yards on eight carries through the early part of Sunday’s game, and the real surprise was rookie Alex Collins, who led the Seahawks with 55 yards on seven carries as Rawls got the chance to rest up for Seattle’s playoff game next weekend.
“I thought he looked really good,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Collins, who had his best game of the season, after showing promise in last weekend’s loss against Arizona.
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“He made some really good statements the last few weeks and gave us a very comfortable thought he could get in there and do some really good stuff — catching the ball as well.”
Carroll cited an good pass-protection block Collins made that helped save quarterback Russell Wilson.
“Something coach (Sherman) Smith has us focus on, being complete backs — working on our catching and blocking,” said Collins, a fifth-round pick out of Arkansas. “He wants it to be when any one of us goes in, he doesn’t want us to be a loss in the game, so we all try to perfect everything as far as blocking, running hard, catching out of the backfield or from wide out.”
Carroll said earlier in the season that Collins had not been physically prepared for the NFL initially, but as the season has gone on, he’s far better equipped to display the talent he has.
“When I first got here, I was just trying to get the pace of the game, the speed of the game, and it was definitely a lot faster, so I had to condition myself to go a lot faster and a lot longer,” Collins said.
No, he hadn’t planned on having as many carries as he ended up with, but he’s not complaining.
“I came into the game with the mindset that whatever they want me to do, I’ll do it to the best of my ability,” Collins said.