With just four games left to play, the Seahawks sat one game behind the 49ers in the NFC West having won five consecutive games, including beating their bitter division rivals in overtime in Week 10. With a 10-2 record, coach Pete Carroll's team not only remained in the hunt for a division title but also had a shot at the NFC's top seed.
Then, starting with a road trip to Los Angeles in Week 14, injuries ravaged the team. Seattle was particularly hit hard at running back, losing three ball carriers to season-ending injuries in a three-week span, including Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and C.J. Prosise.
Decimated by injuries in the backfield, the Seahawks entered their much-anticipated Week 17 rematch with Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement to join then-rookie Travis Homer as the team's primary backs heading into the playoffs. The tandem struggled in the finale as well as the playoffs, though "Beast Mode" did score four touchdowns in three games upon his return.
After losing three running backs to serious injuries in the final month of the 2019 season, the Seahawks didn’t want to find themselves in a similar position in 2020. With Penny still months away from returning following reconstructive knee surgery and Carson working back from a cracked hip, the team prioritized adding another proven veteran to the mix, signing Carlos Hyde to a one-year deal last month.
Once a familiar foe in San Francisco, the 29-year old Hyde enjoyed a breakout season for Houston in 2019, surpassing 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and helping the Texans advance to the Divisional Round of the postseason. Now entering his seventh season, he couldn't pass up the chance to play in Seattle.
"It's been a place I've always wanted to be since I left San Francisco," Hyde commented earlier this month. "Going against the guys for four years in my time being in San Fran, I just see how they always ran the ball, back to when Marshawn [Lynch] was there. The ways they ran the ball, I just felt like it was a strength in my game."
Most specifically, Hyde was drawn to how frequently Seattle runs the football out of shotgun, something he excelled last season in Houston as well as earlier stops in his career in San Francisco and Ohio State at the college level.
Making excellent progress recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Hyde expects to be ready to roll whenever training camp starts. While he understands Carson will remain the Seahawks' bell cow back, he's ready to compete for carries in a competitive backfield that also will feature Homer and rookie DeeJay Dallas.
"I know the second spot is open, maybe the first spot," Hyde stated. "I'm going to compete for the first spot, make sure I solidify myself and go from there."
Though he's not a perfect replacement for Penny skill set-wise, the Seahawks expect the battle-tested, bruising Hyde to give them a jolt as a complement to Carson. His presence will also allow the team to be patient about bringing the former first-round pick back to action.
What can Seattle expect from the ex-Ohio State standout? Check out my latest film breakdown as I analyze Hyde's running style as well as pass protection while revisiting six games from his stellar 2019 campaign.