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Originally published December 14, 2011 at 10:03 PM | Page modified December 14, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Hard-nosed Seahawks bucking NFL's passing trend

Seattle's run-first approach is unconventional as quarterbacks assault passing records.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Sunday

Seahawks @ Chicago, 10 a.m., Ch. 13

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RENTON — The Seahawks aren't swimming upstream against the NFL's prevailing current.

They're running into it. Repeatedly. The Seahawks have spent the better part of the last six games handing the ball to running back Marshawn Lynch and running headlong against the trend that the NFL is becoming a passing league.

"I don't care which way the trends are going in the league," coach Pete Carroll said. "It's about what's best for us and the way we want to go at it."

Seattle's way is straight upfield without hesitation. Get it and go, and the Seahawks are running the ball better than they have at any time since Super Bowl XL.

It is a throwback approach, something that runs against the grain of today's NFL in which 10 quarterbacks are on pace to throw for 4,000 yards this season. New Orleans' Drew Brees and New England's Tom Brady, at their current rate, will each surpass Dan Marino's season record for passing yards at 5,084. The Packers' Aaron Rodgers and Giants' Eli Manning both have a shot at it, too.

Can the Seahawks really answer those kind of offensive fireworks with 3 yards and a cloud of dust?

"There's a lot of ways to play this game," Carroll said. "And the way we're choosing to play is the way that we're really excited about the overall impact that we can have."

Understandably. Seattle has rushed for more than 100 yards as a team in six consecutive regular-season games, the first time since 1996 the Seahawks have done that in one year.

The run of success actually started with a loss in Dallas, a game in which the Seahawks decided to recommit to the running game that was the central emphasis of the offseason.

"We had the philosophy from Day 1," said Darrell Bevell, Seattle's offensive coordinator. "It just took a while to get back to it."

The Seahawks are 4-2 since refocusing on the run.

"I don't think people have the patience or the toughness to run the football the right way," said Tom Cable, Seattle's offensive-line coach. "To say you're going to be a running team, it's a commitment because sometimes you don't want to watch 3-yard runs."

There is one measure that trumps everything.

"If you're winning, that's all anybody cares about," Cable said. "At the end of the day, one of the reasons I came here and was so excited about being here, Pete wanted to play great defense, great special teams and run the football. And I just think that's how you win football games."

That's not to say Seattle doesn't want a Pro Bowl quarterback. It is the most important position on the team, and the Seahawks' long-term solution at that position remains the biggest question going forward.

But there's still progress to be made in the meantime as Seattle has shown over these past six games when it has put one foot in front of the other, steadily gaining momentum in the run game.

"Not everybody has a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning," Cable said. "Really, there's some elite guys who have those gaudy numbers, but everybody else is floundering, and they don't know, 'Do we run it today or do we throw it today? Let's try this.' "

There is no doubt about the direction in Seattle. It's straight ahead and on the ground.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @dannyoneil

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