RENTON, Wash. — The meeting sticks out in Pete Carroll's memory.
The Seahawks head coach was talking with assistant Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell when they decided they were done with the gimmick offenses. Seattle was going to take the plunge and commit to a run-first mentality.
Since making the change in early November, the Seahawks are 4-2 and have become the most productive run team in the NFL.
"You don't need to be like everybody. I don't want to be normal," Carroll said Wednesday. "So we're working hard at it and we'll find how it goes. And we'll work with the people that we have and the talent that we have and go in the ways that's best for us. As a matter of fact, right now, I'm really pleased with the direction it's going."
Having won four of five to slip back into the edges of the NFC playoff picture, the Seahawks (6-7) go to Chicago this week looking to extend the finest streak of running success for the franchise in the last 15 years. Seattle has topped 100 yards rushing in six straight games in the same regular season for the first time since 1996, when the Seahawks did it in seven straight.
The stretch of success has thrust Marshawn Lynch into the spotlight — and for more than just his touchdown run in last year's NFC playoffs against New Orleans that has hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Lynch leads the league in rushing over the past six weeks with 706 yards and five games of at least 100 yards, including 115 in Monday night's win over St. Louis.
The last six weeks have had a noticeable effect:
— Lynch is quickly rising up the charts of pending unrestricted free agents this coming offseason and could be in line for the finest pay day of his career.
— Seattle has the second-most yards rushing in the NFL over the past six weeks, trailing only Tim Tebow and Denver's offense.
— Fullback Michael Robinson jokingly said he's spent more time visiting the doctor the day after games as a result of his additional blocking duties.
— And Seattle is taking on an identity it's been seeking since Carroll took over in 2010, thanks in large part to Lynch.
"That's the mentality we're all trying to have. He feeds off his group up front and they feed off him. It just goes hand in hand," Cable said of Lynch. "It's really nice to have a guy that has that violence in him."
Seattle's decision to commit to the run came after the Seahawks fell to 2-5 with a 34-12 loss to Cincinnati on Oct. 30. It came after Seattle experimented with various styles the first seven weeks and found the most success with a no-huddle, fast tempo.
But that's not what Seattle's coaches wanted to be. They always wanted to be based around the run, but were thrust into using different schemes early because of all the offseason changes that included the addition of Cable and Bevell, a remodel to the offensive line and the NFL lockout that prevented any of the changes from being implemented until late July.
Carroll jokingly said he'll "go to bed at the end of the season" knowing what has clicked the last half-dozen weeks could have happened sooner with a full offseason.
"We didn't hit it at the right time with transitioning such a bunch of new guys on the offensive line. That's the one that takes the most time and the most coordination obviously," Carroll said. "You can see what's happened. It's taken us 12 games or something for us to get to that point where we can really see it start to go."
For Lynch, this week is the return to the site of his first game with Seattle during the 2010 season. After being traded from Buffalo to Seattle, Lynch made his debut at Chicago when he rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks' 23-20 win. He was limited to just four carries for two yards when the sides met in the NFC playoffs last January.
"We've hit a stride," Lynch said, "and it's going pretty good."
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