Starting in place of an injured Marshawn Lynch, rookie Thomas Rawls gashed the San Francisco 49ers' defense for 255 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a 29-13 victory in Week 11. Here's what you need to know:
- Marshawn Lynch has never rushed for 160 yards or combined for 200 yards from a scrimmage in a game. Undrafted Rawls accomplished the former in his previous start versus the Bengals and pulled off the latter in a dominant performance Sunday, cutting sharply and lowering his shoulder with a violent running style to become the first Seahawks back since Shaun Alexander in 2006 to clear 200 yards in a game. Rawls has reached 100 rushing yards three times this season, while Lynch has topped 75 yards just once.
Showing their most balanced attack of the season behind an improving offensive line, the Seahawks piled up 508 yards on 28 first downs. Nobody is claiming that Rawls is already a better player than Lynch, but the rookie is more dynamic in space and offers chunk-play potential. The Seahawks can't just leave him on the shelf once Lynch returns to full health. Rawls has earned a larger role going forward.
- Blaine Gabbert has shown more promise in two starts than a regressing Colin Kaepernick had in eight. Although the 49ers (3-7) scored just 13 points, Gabbert matched the total points scored by Kaepernick's offense in the last three games combined versus Seattle. A highly athletic Gabbert orchestrated three impressive drives: a 92-yard, two-minute drill entering halftime and a pair of field-goal drives early in the third quarter. We'd like to see more series-to-series consistency, but it was still a promising outing considering the preseason-level surrounding talent at his disposal. Gabbert appears to have made tangible strides since flaming out in Jacksonville.
- The Seahawks' defense continues to struggle versus tight ends, as Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek combined for 100 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. For the season, opposing tight ends have generated 56 catches for 712 yards and seven touchdowns against a secondary that had been historically great in the previous two seasons.
- Rawls wasn't the only rookie with a star turn on Sunday. Third-round wideout Tyler Lockett burned Jimmie Ward for a 24-yard touchdown and bowled over rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt to reach the end zone on an 11-yard score. With help from Lockett, Russell Wilson enjoyed perhaps his finest afternoon of the season, connecting on 12 of his first 13 passes.