"Marshawn came up to me and said, 'Look young 'un, I'm going to pass you the torch for the day, you know what to do," Rawls said. Lynch, Seattle's top back, was ruled inactive for the game with an abdominal injury.
Rawls didn't just take the torch, he had the best game ever by a Seattle rookie running back, rushing for a team rookie record 209 yards and a touchdown score to lead the Seahawks to a 29-13 win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
"We're all just fired up about what Thomas Rawls did," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "To see a young guy come through and be so physical and so tough and to make the most of an opportunity."
It was the first time Seattle had a player rush for more than 200 yards since Shaun Alexander had 201 yards against Green Bay on Nov. 27, 2006. Rawls has started four games this season and has the two best rushing games for the Seahawks. The previous best was Rawls' 169 yards on Oct. 11 against Cincinnati.
Rawls' biggest play of the day, though, came on a pass in the fourth quarter. Rawls swung out of the backfield, made the catch and blew past 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite to go 31 yards down the left side for a touchdown.
"I think he thought I was going to go out of bounds," Rawls said. "But little did he know, I'm not going out of bounds. I'm looking for contact."
The score gave the Seahawks a 29-13 lead and effectively ended the hopes of the 49ers (3-7).
Things we learned about the 49ers:
1. The 49ers had trouble on offense for much of the game, and that likely played into coach Jim Tomsula's decision in the fourth quarter to punt twice instead of going for it on fourth down trailing by two scores, once with about five minutes to go and then again about a minute and a half later. "We figure there, let's get the field position, let's get a stop," Tomsula said.
2. Coach Jim Tomsula said the 49ers effort was "lifeless" early, as the Seahawks drove for touchdowns on their first three possessions -- the first time Seattle had accomplished that feat since Dec. 11, 2005, in a win against San Francisco.
3. The 49ers entered just a game behind the Seahawks, but now stand at 3-7. "We just didn't do enough to win the game," offensive lineman Joe Staley said. "It's very frustrating and embarrassing."
--DT Glenn Dorsey left with a knee injury on the 49ers first defensively play of the game, and coach Jim Tomsula said the team is worried Dorsey may have an ACL injury. Dorsey will have an MRI on Monday. "Glenn means a lot to this team on and off the field," Tomsula said. Linebacker Navorro Bowman said Dorsey's absence "really hurt" the 49ers in run defense.
--QB Blaine Gabbert is the team's unquestioned starter after Colin Kaepernick was placed on injured reserve this week, but Gabbert said it doesn't change his approach. "The mindset has been the same since I started last week," Gabbert said. "Just take it and run with it." Gabbert is now 37-for-59 passing this season for 449 yards and three touchdowns along with two interceptions.
--RB Shaun Draughn rushed 12 times for 37 yards, and his longest play went for nine yards. With Carlos Hyde missing his third straight game, the running game was all on the shoulders of Draughn and he wasn't able to find any openings. The only other 49er with a rushing attempt on Sunday was QB Blaine Gabbert, who scrambled four times for 22 yards.