Just one week ago, it appeared that Chris Carson’s season was in jeopardy. He suffered a knee injury following a dangerous gator-roll tackle from Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill. Not only did he make it back in time to play in Week 4 against the Dolphins, but he scored twice in the Seahawks 31-23 win.
Carson finished the game with 80 hard-earned yards on just 16 carries and the two scores. He added three receptions for 20 yards for good measure.
“Chris is a stud football player. He ain’t backing down from anything,” Pete Carroll said. “He’s such a tough football player and a great competitor.”
Apparently Carson arrived at the VMAC last Wednesday feeling better than anyone expected. His knee sprain was minor to begin with, and he was relatively pain-free by the middle of the week.
“I think I’m OK,” Carson told Carroll and the team’s training staff that day.
And Seattle desperately needed him because it ended up being Carlos Hyde who missed Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. It was a physical contest in South Beach, and at one point, Carson briefly left the game after absorbing a big hit.
It looked on the TV replay that Carson may have been knocked out. Instead, Carson just had the wind knocked out of him, and he returned to the game after being checked for a concussion.
“I thought Chris was really exceptional today. He had some unbelievable runs. He was physical. He made plays. He caught the ball well. He’s just been tremendous for us in so many different ways. … He’s a special player, and we’re glad he’s on our team. That’s for sure.”
Both of Carson’s touchdown runs came from 1-yard out. The first came in the first quarter after a Ryan Neal interception. The second was the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter. He now has five touchdowns on the season, three of which have come through the air.
“Chris Carson is an animal, as y’all have seen the past two weeks,” DK Metcalf said.
Rookie DeeJay Dallas, who received the first four touches of his NFL career on Sunday, said he marvels at Seattle’s starting running back.
“He’s the lead horse, and we go how he goes,” Dallas said of Carson. “Today he was balling, and it just amped me and Travis up.”
Carson being in the midst of a contract year is one of the underlying subplots of Seattle’s season. He’s finished top five in rushing each of the past two seasons and remains one of the NFL’s most underrated running backs.
He’ll surely seek a top-dollar deal as a free agent in the ballpark of Joe Mixon’s new four-year, $48 million contract. Carson’s teammates believe he’s worth it.
“I can’t wait until he gets paid, whether it’s here or somewhere else, because he’s definitely top five in my eyes,” K.J. Wright said. “I’ve seen a lot of running backs, and there’s nobody like him.”
Seattle continues to benefit from getting Carson at a bargain of $2.15 million this season. It’s admirable that he continues to put his body on the line before he’s able to secure the money that potentially awaits him next offseason.
Nobody would have thought twice if Carson decided to take a week and ensure his knee was right. Instead, he showed up for the Seahawks and came through in a big way on Sunday.