After Stellar Opener, Chris Carson Is Thinking He's Back

Chris Carson never looked quite like himself during the 2020 season while Russell Wilson was busy cooking early. But in the 2021 season opener, he looked much more like the version that rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Seahawks in 2018 and 2019.
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Super assassin John Wick just wasn't himself after going through many of life's trials including the passing of his beloved wife. Many of his prior coworkers and enemies wondered if he would ever return to his prominent, terrifying, assassin self. 

Then his dog suffered an unfortunate end at the hands of some goons that clearly didn't think it through, which unlocked the beast inside the fictional fighter. As he laid waste to those responsible for his dog's demise as well as other scum-of-the-earth beings, many wondered if Wick was returning to form as one of the best assassins of his time. 

Wick boldly declared, "Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back!"

Much the same, aside from the whole assassin part, Chris Carson didn't look like himself in 2020 for the Seahawks either, in part because he missed time with a sprained foot and also because Russell Wilson decimated opponents early in the season throwing the football all over the yard.

But after watching him truck through and run around helpless Colts defenders in Sunday's 26-18 win at Lucas Oil Stadium, I hope no one did anything to Carson's dog (if he has one) because the entire NFL should be quivering in their boots. The bruising, hard-nosed runner is thinking he's back.

Over the entire 2020 season, Carson never eclipsed 80 yards in any of the 12 games he played in. He surpassed that in his first crack at it in 2021, totaling 91 yards over 16 carries, averaging a robust 5.69 yards per carry, which is his fourth-highest average in games where he has at least 15 carries in his career.

Fans mostly know Carson for his physical style, punishing would-be tacklers as they step into the box to stop him. No other stat better paints that picture than his 71 yards after contact in Sunday's win over the Colts. 78 percent of his total rushing yards came after contact.

He also broke six total tackles on Sunday, including four in the run game, which is second-most in the NFL. The highest was Bengals runner Joe Mixon, who had 13 more carries than Carson last weekend.

The former seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma State earned a respectable 67.7 grade on the ground per Pro Football Focus. One would assume that his grade would've been much higher had he not coughed up the football. The fumble occurred late in the third quarter when linebacker Darius Leonard punched the ball out of his hands and Seattle lost possession while in Colts territory.

However, it looks like Carson is rejuvenated in the new scheme guided by offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. The offense was balanced and at the same time aggressive, with Carson benefitting from that immensely and totaling his best rushing day since December 15, 2019 against the Panthers (133 yards). 

2020 was a weird year for everyone and that included Carson. If Sunday in Indianapolis is any indication, he's back. If he truly returns to 2018-2019 form or perhaps even better, defensive coordinators all over the NFL will look at how to try and stop him and utter in fear... "Baba Yaga."