Let's take a look at what the Seahawks rushing attack has produced this season, thus far:
Week One, At San Francisco: 22 rushes for 64 yards. 2.9 yards per carry. Marshawn Lynch rushed 13 times for 33 yards (at 2.5 ypc), Justin Forsett 3 times for 3 yards, and Michael Robinson once for 2 yards. The longest 'rush' was actually Ben Obomanu on an end-around for 13 yards.
Week Two, At Pittsburgh: 13 rushes for 31 yards. 2.4 yards per carry. Marshawn Lynch carried it six times for 11 yards. Justin Forsett, 3 for 10 yards, and Leon Washington, 1 time for a loss of 2. Tarvaris Jackson led the Seahawks in 'rushing' with 3 attempts (probably scrambles) for 12 yards. Yeesh.
Week Three, vs Arizona: 30 attempts for 122 yards. 4.1 yards per carry. Marshawn Lynch led the way with 19 attempts for 73 yards on a 3.8 ypc clip. His long run was 23 yards. Leon Washington carried the ball three times for 29 yards, including one 21 yard run. The Seahawks finally got a few 'explosive' plays out of their run game. That's something.
Week Four, vs Atlanta: 15 attempts for 53 yards. 3.5 yards per carry. Marshawn Lynch carried it 8 times for 24 yards, 3.0 ypc. Again, the Hawks never got any traction. Seahawks long carry here was 11 yards by Lynch.
Week Five, at New York: 29 attempts for 145 yards. This spells progress. Marshawn Lynch had a big day, rushing 12 times for 98 yards, 8.2 ypc. He padded this number with a 47 yard rush, the longest for the Seahawks on the year to that point. The Hawks averaged 5.0 yards per carry on the ground and got a big upset win.
Week Seven, at Cleveland: 17 attempts for 65 yards, 3.8 ypc. Lynch was a pre-game scratch and Leon Washington carried the ball 7 times for 39 yards to lead the Seahawks. That is 5.6 yards per carry but for some reason the Seahawks didn't run the ball with any regularity, instead passing 30 times with Charlie Whitehurst. Quite unsuccessfully, I might add.
Week Eight, vs Cincinnati: 20 rushes for 61 yards, 3.1 ypc. Lynch carried the ball 16 times for 24 yards. Ouch. Washington carried it twice for 34 yards, which I'll take. The Bengals have a very good rush defense but this game the Seahawks couldn't get anything going, and threw the ball 40 times, a ratio of 2:1 in favor of the pass.
This game coupled with the performance in Cleveland might have been a turning point for the coaching staff in deciding that running the ball was priority number one, outcome of the game be damned.
Week Nine, at Dallas: 30 rushes for 162 yards, 5.4 yards per carry. The Seahawks best rushing performance on the year, and probably in Pete Carroll's tenure. Lynch carried it 23 times for 135 yards (5.9ypc) and the Hawks finally ran the ball as much as they passed (30:30). They lost the game to a good Dallas team, but we saw glimpses of what this offense is capable of on the ground.
Furthermore, the Hawks ran the ball late in the fourth quarter while trailing, which demonstrated the steadfast dedication to creating that offensive identity.
Week Ten, vs Baltimore: 42 rushes for 119 yards, 2.8 ypc. The ypc in this game isn't much but the Seahawks rushed it 42 times to 27 passing attempts and demonstrated they could put a game away by protecting the lead with the run. By pounding the rock on the ground for the final five-plus minutes in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks did exactly what they had set out to do early in the season - create a lead then keep it by grinding clock and wearing down the defense.
That brings us to Week Eleven. The Seahawks have lost John Moffitt and James Carpenter and the last two weeks' gains on the ground (literal and figurative) are now tenuous and fleeting. It's now up to backups Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini to step in and keep this thing moving forward (literalyl and figuratively).
McQuistan has three starts since 2008. Giacomini, one start in his career. It's not going to be easy, but the Seahawks face the worst rushing defense in the league this week in St. Louis so the baptism by fire will at least be against a less-than-elite defense.
I have no doubt the Hawks will stick with the run, and possibly stick with it regardless of the score in the game. McQuistan and Giacomini will be gaining valuable playing time experience and it's time to sink or swim. Will the Hawks maintain forward momentum? Will they become one-dimensional again? That's what I'll be watching today.