Seahawks rediscovering run game with number of options
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — In consecutive weeks, the Seattle Seahawks produced consecutive 100-yard games rushing from running backs, which is a massive accomplishment considering the futility the team has faced for more than a season trying to run the ball.
Adding to the novelty of the accomplishment: it was two different running backs reaching the century mark, and neither of which was rookie first-round pick Rashaad Penny.
“We really needed to focus and establish that we could run the football and find our offensive line’s nature,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I think we’ve really tapped into that. That’s really important and it’s a long, long season.”
Seattle’s promise throughout the offseason of returning to being a run-first offense has finally come to fruition in the past two weeks, and not surprisingly the Seahawks have won two straight. Two weeks ago against Dallas, Chris Carson rumbled for 102 yards in a 24-13 victory. He became the first Seahawks running back to reach the century mark after 22 straight regular season games without a back getting to the 100-yard mark.
And last week at Arizona, veteran Mike Davis rushed 21 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the 20-17 win over the Cardinals.
The last time the Seahawks had any running back rush for 100 yards in consecutive games was Weeks 10 and 11 of the 2014 season when Marshawn Lynch did it and Seattle was on its way to a second straight NFC championship and Super Bowl appearance.
Yeah, it had been a while.
“I think our emphasis has been to really make sure and get this knocked out and I didn’t feel like we got it done the first two weeks and if anything, we had maybe gone overboard,” Carroll said. “Carrying the ball thirty times gives you a chance to play really good football and that means you’re really committed and it’s clear. We’ll build from here.”
Carson having a 100-yard game has been an expectation since this time last year when he was showing promise as a rookie before a season ending lower-leg injury. The surprise wasn’t Davis having that much success against the Cardinals, but rather the fact his carries seemed to come at the expense of Penny.
Seattle spent a first-round pick on Penny for a reason, but those skills as a runner haven’t emerged yet. The rookie was slowed during training camp by a small hand fracture that left him only doing conditioning on the side and not getting a chance to take part in most of the preseason. Penny had 20 carries for 43 yards through the first three games, but finally showed some flash last week against the Cardinals with nine carries for 49 yards.
“I’m just getting comfortable and being confident and I that is something that is slowly happening, especially after last week,” Penny said.
Penny said the time on the sideline dealing with the hand injury and the subsequent surgery threw him off track and it’s taken about a quarter of the regular season to finally get back to where he was at the start of training camp. But that means accepting being in a rotation at running back for now. Carson is expected back this week against the Rams and Carroll said Davis will be given more opportunity after his performance last week.
“I’m finally working at being back to who I was and being back into that form and shape of that guy who they drafted,” Penny said. “I can’t do it without the great running backs I’ve got in that room. They pick me up, everyone does.”
NOTES: Seattle signed safety T.J. Green and veteran safety/linebacker Maurice Alexander, and promoted TE Darrell Daniels from the practice squad to fill three open roster spots. Green was a second-round pick of the Colts in 2016 and appeared in 31 games over two seasons. Alexander was in training camp with Seattle and was part of the final cuts. He brings the versatility of being able to play both safety and linebacker. ... Carroll said LB K.J. Wright will not be back this week. Wright has been out since late August following knee surgery.