When the Seattle Seahawks running backs are healthy, they feast.
After rushing for 174 yards last week vs. the Jets in Week 14, Seattle’s running game came up clutch again on Sunday vs. the Washington Football Team. The Seahawks had 181 yards on the ground against WFT’s front seven, which proved to be crucial in building up a 20-3 lead through three quarters.
Seattle surpassed 100 rushing yards by halftime and began the third quarter with a statement drive. On the fourth play of a 75-yard march, Carlos Hyde took a handoff, found a hole and avoided a tackle by Ronald Darby, darting 50 yards downfield for a touchdown that gave Seattle a 20-3 lead.
Chris Carson led Seattle's 1-2 punch, rushing for 63 yards on 15 carries.
“I think the running game is really alive for us,” Carroll said after Seattle clinched a spot in the postseason with the 20-15 victory. “I think when you play us, you gotta get ready.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson added 52 yards, including a 38-yard run in the second quarter that was part of Seattle’s 98-yard touchdown drive following Haskins’ first interception. For the fifth-straight game in the last six weeks, the Seahawks have run for over 100 yards.
The Seahawks also saw the return of Rashaad Penny, who has been recovering for the past 54 weeks from a season-ending ACL injury sustained in Week 14 of the 2019 season.
“It’s truly a blessing to have Penny back,” Hyde said. “It’s been a long road for him. I’m sure he was a little nervous today, but I was really excited for him, to see him out there getting reps. He was excited to even be here. He was happy to just travel this week, so hats off to Penny, proud of him and his comeback. But sky’s the limit for him.”
Penny, the Seahawks No. 27 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, had two carries for six yards in his season debut. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the goal of Sunday was to simply break Penny back in.
“For Rashaad to get a couple carries, that’s all we hoped to get,” Carroll said. “This is a long, long recovery and return and we just wanted to get him out there. So, he did it, he’s played in a game. Now next week we’ll be able to do more with him and use him more. That’s worked out perfectly well for us today.”
The Seahawks backfield could be a huge problem for their upcoming opponents: the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Despite both Carson and Hyde suffering injuries earlier in the season, Seattle’s three-headed monster is now healthy heading into the final two games of the season, including a pivotal game for the NFC West title next Sunday vs. the Rams.
“It’s good to have us healthy at the end of the season,” Hyde said. “If we all stay healthy, finish the season strong, we can go into the playoffs and we can really be a force to be reckoned with, especially if we get us all three going in a game-- that can really be scary.”