First, we pointed out that Christine Michael had to bear plenty of the blame for Seattle’s awful running game. Then we noted that C.J. Prosise somewhat quietly seemed to be surpassing Michael as the Seahawks’ lead back. And then suddenly on Friday, Michael appeared on the injury report and it seemed Prosise was likely to make his first career start ... though it came as no surprise to people who read this blog, I think. Not that everyone agreed, as the Christine MIchael-CJ Prosise issue was the first time in my career that I got consistent hate e-mail from fans.
I think that hate e-mail might stop now. Or at least, put it on pause.
On Sunday night, Prosise carried the ball 17 times for 66 yards (3.9 YPC) but also caught seven passes for 87 yards. Though it’s not conventional for a Pete Carroll starting running back to get more than half of his yards through the air, who really cares at this point? Prosise’s 153 total yards is obviously a season-high for a Seattle running back, and Michael only once had more than 90 total yards during his first eight games.
In fact, Marshawn Lynch’s career-high for rushing yards in a game is 153, and for total yards is 177.
Prosise has now gone over 80 receiving yards in two of his last three games, but his rushing wasn’t bad on Sunday night either. He gained six yards on 1st-and-10, six yards on 1st-and-10, 10 yards on 1st-and-15, three yards on 2nd-and-1, seven yards on 1st-and-10, five yards on 2nd-and-3, six yards on 2nd-and-10, five yards on 2nd-and-8 ... there were some missed goal-line opportunities, but Prosise consistently setup the Seahawks with better field position or gained first downs as a running back, something Michael had struggled to do.
But also, Michael seemed to do better as a backup than he did as a starter, gaining 22 yards on five carries.
If Thomas Rawls returns next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, and that seems likely, I would still expect Prosise to be the starter. This is just for one week as Rawls gets back into game mode, just as it was in Week 1 vs the Miami Dolphins when he carried it 12 times and then the following week, had seven carries for -7 yards against the LA Rams. It’s going to take a little time before Rawls is back to full speed, but i fully expect him to be the starter as Seattle heads into a playoffs push in December, with Prosise as a heavily-used backup. After doing plenty of Prosise research following the draft, I felt he could have a Tyler Lockett-type impact as a rookie, eventually making a lot of key plays in the second half of the season. That seems to be what we are witnessing now.
What that means for Michael isn’t known yet, but things definitely got more complicated with Alex Collins getting one carry for two yards and fumbling on Sunday night. Collins may not be the guy you roll with as the insurance to Rawls, so Michael could stick around for a while.
But the dudes you’ll see on gameday for the most part will be Rawls and Prosise, with plenty of Prosise being utilized in the passing game.