Occupying the depth chart behind Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael had never carried the ball in the postseason.
He was inactive in 2013 and didn’t see the field in 2014.
But when Lynch decided on Friday that he was not able to play because of residual effects of the stomach surgery he underwent in November, Michael got his opportunity.
Sunday, against a stingy Minnesota Vikings defense, Michael led all rushers with 70 yards on 21 carries, and also pulled in a pass for 14 yards in Seattle’s 10-9 win in the wild card playoff round.
Michael said he wasn’t at all fazed by being cast into the starter’s role after watching Lynch get most of the snaps during the week.
“No, of course not, not at all,” Michael said. “The thing is, it’s all about the team. It’s got to be about the team, whether it’s Marshawn or Fred (Jackson), somebody has got to get the job done.”
Michael is delighted he has the job to do. A second-round draft pick who failed to live up to the Seahawks’ expectations, Michael was traded to Dallas this season only to be cut by them and picked up by Washington.
When the Redskins decided to cut him, too, the Seahawks brought him back to help fill the void left by injuries to Lynch and his replacement, Thomas Rawls.
Maybe the most important statistic for Michael was the absence of fumbles on a day when the wind chill reached minus-25.
“We’re not used to this environment,” said Michael, a native of Beaumont, Texas. “It was so cold, but we fought through it and got a tremendous win.”
Michael picked up 102 yards on 17 carries last week in the regular-season finale against Arizona. Several times, when he broke into the open field, it was clear how tenaciously he was holding onto the football. Is that a point of focus?
“Ab-so-lute-ly,” Michael said with emphasis. “I’m focusing on that every play. Not just making the plays, and holding onto it, but making the right reads on every play, and just contributing to the team in every way I can.”
Michael and the offense had a difficult challenge most of the day as they ended up scoring all their points in the fourth period.
“It was an ugly win, but we got it done,” Michael said.
Coach Pete Carroll was asked about Lynch’s prospects for returning next week for the game at Carolina.
“I don’t even know,” Carroll said. “Just wait and see and take it one day at a time.”
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440