Eclipsing 1,000-Yard Mark Again, Seahawks RB Chris Carson Silencing Doubters
As one of the few bright spots during a putrid offensive showing by the Seahawks in a 28-12 loss to the Rams in Week 14, running back Chris Carson made a bit of history by surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for a second straight season.
Finishing with 76 rushing yards on 15 carries while adding three receptions out of the backfield, Carson pushed his 2019 rushing yardage total to 1,057 with three games left to play. He joined Shaun Alexander, Marshawn Lynch, Curt Warner, Ricky Watters, and Chris Warren as the only backs to surpass the century mark multiple times in Seattle.
“I had goals for myself, and one of them was to hit 1,000 yards. I would have liked to get the win of course,” Carson said on Wednesday. “But, it’s a blessing. A lot of people tell me to take advantage of that, it doesn’t happen a lot. To hit it in back-to-back seasons means a lot.”
Considering where he came from, Carson’s rise to stardom has been especially impressive. The bruising 222-pound back wasn’t even the featured back at Oklahoma State, rushing for 517 and 559 yards in his two seasons with the program.
Overshadowed by starter Justice Hill, who rushed for over 2,500 yards during those same two seasons, Carson entered the 2017 NFL Draft with little fanfare. But the Seahawks loved his physical running style on film and after taking a flier on him in the seventh round, he’s quickly developed into one of the NFL’s best backs.
In his first full season as a starter in 2018, Carson ran through and around defenders to a tune of 1,151 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He finished the season scorching hot, averaging over 100 rushing yards per game and scoring five touchdowns before earning NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for December.
Returning to offseason workouts in phenomenal shape ready to prove his breakout season wasn’t an aberration, Carson has a chance to set a new career high as early as Sunday against the Panthers.
“It means a great deal to us, it always has,” coach Pete Carroll said in regard to Carson reaching 1,000 yards. “To have a running back that has the attitude that we like to exhibit and the mentality. Chris has been exactly that. We’ve had pretty good style in our running backs over the years and Chris has really generated the consistency. To come back to back and do that [again], that’s tremendous work.”
Despite Carson’s roaring success, the 2019 season hasn’t unfolded without strife and tribulations. Ball security issues have plagued the third-year back, as he’s fumbled seven times and lost four of them. That’s the highest total for a running back in a single season since Adrian Peterson fumbled nine times in 2008.
“He’s been challenged,” Carroll said while reflecting on Carson’s season. “Had to get his way back into the rhythm of things and all that, but he’s done it well. He certainly has maintained the attitude that really stands for all of us.”
According to Carroll, Carson’s ability to block out the noise around him during a “trying year” illustrates his toughness and mental fortitude. He didn’t let his fumble problems derail his season and understanding how vital he was to the Seattle’s success, teammates remained supportive of him through his struggles.
“When he’s carrying the ball, we’re proud to see him run. The defense takes great pride in that as well as the offense. The big guys up front, they’re really proud of the fact that he was able to come back again and get 1,000 yards because those are the guys that had to make it happen. They all share that.”
Only a few years ago, Carson was viewed as little more than a late round prospect. Now, he's officially reached the 1,000-yard milestone in back-to-back seasons, a feat that has become more rare as the NFL has transitioned into more of a passing league.
With friend and teammate Rashaad Penny out for the rest of the season, Carson will be ready to take on an even bigger role setting the tone for the Seahawks’ physical offense heading towards postseason play.
“I always had goals for myself - 1,000 yards was one of them. I always believed in myself when a lot of people didn’t. I’m glad to see that my goals are starting to show and starting to pay off.”