SEATTLE — In a game where the Seahawks’ offense lacked consistency, Chris Carson was a model of dependability Sunday. He’s been so throughout the year.
And when the Seahawks needed someone to make a play in a surprisingly tight game against the lowly Cardinals, there Carson was bursting through the line for an electric 61-yard run that set up a crucial second-half touchdown and led Seattle to a 27-24 win at CenturyLink Field.
“That was a great job by the offensive line of blocking that up,” Carson said, “and we knew a big play was going to happen with the linebackers playing so close to the line wanting to stop the run.”
Somewhat quietly, Carson has established himself as one of the NFL’s premier backs. His 122 rushing yards on 19 carries pushed his season total to 1,151 yards, and his 7-yard first-half score gave him nine TDs for the year.
“I think Chris is definitely a top back in the league,” Seahawks center Justin Britt said. “He’s showed it, and he had another great game today on a day where we weren’t really clicking up front. Chris is one of those backs where you want to go out and fight to the whistle and sometimes past the whistle to give him the opportunity to break a big run like he did today.”
Six times now, and for the third straight game, Carson has surpassed 100 yards rushing. Carson’s first 100-yard game of the year came Week 3 against Dallas — next week’s playoff opponent — when Carson carried a season-high 32 times for 102 yards.
Carson has been a beneficiary all season of a much-improved, made-over offensive line led by position coach Mike Solari.
But in a game when Arizona committed to loading the box to stop Carson, the Cardinals simply couldn’t.
“There are going to be times like that where the run game is going to take a minute to get going,” Carson said, “but we were one play away from having a big spark, and that’s what happened today.”
It’s easy to see flashes of Carson’s punishing running and compare the style to that of recent transcendent talent Marshawn Lynch, but with a physical style comes added injury risk.
Seattle only saw glimpses of Carson’s ability last year after he suffered a fractured leg the fourth week of the season. Carson has proved his ability to stay healthy this year, and he’ll certainly have a big stage next week to showcase his worth against the NFL’s leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys.