Rawls is adequate 'Beast Mode' alternative

Here is a look at the statistical leaders for the both the Steelers and Seahawks heading into the Week 12 contest at CenturyLink Field.

Thomas Rawls may not have a catchy nickname but the Seahawks' undrafted rookie running back has been doing a representative Marshawn Lynch imitation all the same.

And at least two Steelers aren't surprised.

"He did the same thing when he was in college," rookie defensive end L.T. Walton said. "He ran hard."

Added practice squad running back Fitz Toussaint regarding Rawls: "He's a hard worker and he runs with passion so I'm definitely not surprised."

Rawls is poised to replace Lynch (sports hernia surgery) as the starting running back for the fifth time this season when the Seahawks host the Steelers on Sunday in Seattle.

Rawls is Seattle's leading rusher with 604 yards and a 6.0 average per carry as an NFL rookie.

He's surpassed over 100 yards rushing in three of his four starts in place of Lynch, including a 30-carry, 209-yard effort in Seattle's 29-13 victory over San Francisco last Sunday.

Rawls also caught three passes for 46 yards against the 49ers and had one touchdown rushing and one receiving.

"He doesn't look that big but if you see him in person he's kinda big," said Toussaint, who spent the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons with Rawls at the University of Michigan. "He's a bruiser. It's like trying to tackle a tree stump. His best thing is to run through guys and that's what he shows."

Rawls, 5-foot-9 and 215 pounds, only carried the ball 73 times for 333 yards during his three seasons at Michigan, including three carries for 12 yards in 2013.

His response was to transfer to Central Michigan as a graduate student and play out his final year of NCAA eligibility.

Rawls only played in nine of CMU's 13 games last season, reportedly due to injury, legal and academic issues. But he still managed to rush for 1,103 yards and average 5.3 yards per attempt.

"He's the type of guy that just wants to come to work every day," said Walton, who played with Rawls at Central Michigan last season. "He's a bulldog. He's not going to run out of bounds. He's going to run right at you."

Rawls cited "a better opportunity because I'm still chasing my dream," among his reasons for leaving Michigan for Central Michigan.

He's been living that dream this season with the Seahawks.

"He did what he had to do," Toussaint said. "I taught Rawls some things. Rawls taught me some things.

"The main thing we tried to teach each other was to run with passion."

QUESTIONABLE - TE Matt Spaeth (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (knee)
PROBABLE - LB James Harrison (knee), S Shamarko Thomas (knee), LB Terence Garvin (knee), CB Brandon Boykin (ankle)

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