The Seattle Seahawks have made it a point the past few years to find an eventual successor to running back Marshawn Lynch.
The search has proven as futile as trying to bring down Lynch one-on-one in the open field. After all, one doesn't earn the moniker "Beast Mode" for having a willingness to step aside gently.
Robert Turbin and Christine Michael each failed in their bids to become the heir apparent to Lynch and were shipped out of town before the season began, opening the door for an undrafted rookie to stake his claim to the backup job - and possibly more.
More from FoxSports
Thomas Rawls got his chance when Lynch was KO'd by a hamstring injury during Sunday's game and literally ran wild with the opportunity, piling up 104 yards on 16 carries as the Seahawks notched their first win with a 26-0 romp over the Chicago Bears.
"I was prepared to be the starter," Rawls told the team's official website after the game. "That's just my whole standard, my mindset. No what what, Even if i'm the second or third string back, I'm always going to be prepared to be ready."
Quarterback Russell Wilson termed it a "lights-out" performance by Rawls, who became the first Seattle running back other than Lynch to eclipse 100 yards since Turbin in his 2012 rookie season.
"The way he ran today was exactly the way we had seen him in college," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Very aggressive, very downhill, really stomping those feet and running at people, and showed the ability to make people miss. ... That's a fantastic day for this kid."
That college Carroll spoke of is not exactly considered a football factory. Rawls spent one year at Central Michigan after transferring from the University of Michigan. Although he appeared in nine games overall and seven full games due to injury or suspension, Rawls rumbled for 1,103 yards and 10 TDs on the ground.
"He¹s a talented football player and a talented athlete and he has an aggressive mindset which you have to have at the running back position," Central Michigan coach John Bonamego said of Rawls. "Those guys don¹t get to our level nor the NFL if they don¹t have a lot of toughness because it¹s a very demanding position both athletically and physically."
Still, his chances of making the Seahawks' roster appeared bleak until Turbin suffered an ankle injury that eventually led to his release and Michael was traded to Dallas, leaving veteran Fred Jackson as the main competition for the backup slot. Carroll even admitted he wasn't sure what the team had in Rawls until Sunday's stellar effort that included second-half runs of 21, 18 and 17 yards.
"He ran really hard and really tough and gave us a real kind of personality about the way we like to run the football," said Carroll. "Really didn't get a good feel in the preseason, but today it was really evident that he could be a factor and help us out."