BY Art Thiel 06:22PM 10/04/2020

Thiel: Carson takes the hit to make Seahawks 4-0

In a game when Wilson was human in the humidity, RB Chris Carson reminded all that the Seahawks can still gash on the ground. Defense wasn’t bad either.

RB Chris Carson took some pressure off Russell Wilson Sunday in Miami. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest file

After a gruesome-looking knee injury from a foul deed a week earlier, RB Chris Carson figured to be atop a Seahawks injury list longer than the Columbia River. Yet there he was Sunday, in hot, humid Miami.

Going into the injury tent for what could have been a concussion.

But no. It was “merely” a crushing blow to the chest, causing him to sit out a couple of series.

By game’s end, he had 80 yards rushing on 16 carries, and 20 yards on three catches. He had a pair touchdowns, and the most vital inch of the game — the margin by which he gained a first down at the Dolphins 47-yard line with 1:42 left to preserve the Seahawks’ surprisingly taut 31-23 triumph (box).

There were more flamboyant plays, but none were grittier than his final touch against a defense stacked to stop him. The Seahawks are 4-0 for many reasons, but the ability to count on Carson when everyone knows what’s coming remains an essential part of the story. Even after the Seahawks have abandoned their trademark, run-first offense.

“Exceptional,” said QB Russell Wilson.

“Stud,” said coach Pete Carroll.

“He’s an animal,” said WR DK Metcalf.

Carson’s recovery from a knee strain after he was gator-rolled last week by Cowboys DT Trystan Hill was surprising enough. But to return after the second-quarter hit, which forced a fumble recovered by C Ethan Pocic at the Miami 24, bordered on the remarkable.

“They hit him really flush, right into his chest — it was just a hell of a hit,” Carroll said. “They didn’t know whether he got his head hit or not.

“That’s not a surprise to us that he would bounce back after he took a hell of a shot. That is a terrific football player.”

Absent Carson, the Seahawks drive died two plays later on a fourth-and-3 at the Miami 18 — the Seahawks’ first red-zone failure of the season after 11 chances. There was no guarantee Carson would have made the difference, but the odds for success would have been much higher.

RB Carlos Hyde was left home with a sore shoulder, leaving the backup rushing chores to second-year Travis Homer and rookie DeeJay Dallas. They contributed, but they aren’t Carson.

“When I came (to Seattle), I told Chris, we’re we’re here to help you, bro,” Dallas said. He’s the lead horse. We go how he goes.Β  Today he was balling it. It just amped me and Travis up. You ball a little bit harder. He does set the tone.

“The boy had some crazy stuff happen to him against Dallas. But he came back out and showed that he’s a warrior.”

His value was underscored on a day when Wilson wasn’t as sharp as the first three games.

He did throw two touchdown passes for 16 this season, tying him with Peyton Manning for the NFL record through four games. Even though going 24 of 34 for 360 yards would be acceptable behavior nearly everywhere, his passer rating of 112 was his lowest, thanks in part to an end-zone interception that ended the first possession of the second half.

That was the first pick this season fully attributable to him. A couple of drops Sunday didn’t help his stats. Nevertheless, staying unbeaten in the NFL requires verses, not just the same chorus. Carson helped get the Seahawks 98 yards rushing, likely more with a full game.

Wilson did go interstellar on the final possession of the first half. Ahead just 10-9 after a Miami field goal with 28 seconds left, Wilson led the Seahawks over 75 yards in four plays, the biggest of which was a 57-yard bomb to WR David Moore. Homer scored his first career touchdown on a three-yard reception.

“Fantastic,” Carroll said. “We work on that stuff a lot. It’s exactly the situations that we’d like to feel really comfortable in. Russ did it beautifully.”

Beautiful was not a term for Seattle’s defense, but “acceptable” was, particularly in view of the injury absences of three starters, SS Jamal Adams, CB Quinton Dunbar and LB Jordyn Brooks. The defense gave up a season-low 415 yards and forced the Dolphins into field goals instead of touchdowns five times. They intercepted QB Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, and had at least three picks slip from the collective grasp.

Noteworthy for Carroll was the denial of long passes over the top. The longest pass by Miami (1-3) was a 26-yard catch-and-run from a running back.

“We kept them in front of us all day long and made them work their way down,” he said. “Backups got the job done. Yeah, that’s an improvement.”

Carroll reported no new injuries. The Seahawks continued their mastery over the Eastern time zone, 2-0 this year and 10 in a row, as well as 18-6 over the past seven seasons. In sweltering conditions, they beat an improving Miami team with three first-round picks from the April draft. And Seattle is 4-0 for the first time since the 2013 team did it on the way to becoming NFL champs.

Except that this team plays, except for Wilson, nothing like that team.

“It’s kind of been flipped,” said LB K.J. Wright, who seemed to be everywhere, with eight tackles and three passes defensed. “That (’13) defense was really balling and shutting teams down. Now, it’s the offense looking unstoppable. So when we’re able to bring offense and defense together, we’ll be really hard to beat.”

All they need now is negative virus tests to make a total positive out of the longest trip in the NFL this year.

 


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YourThoughts

  • Husky73

    Carson was short…but we’ll (Seahawks) will take it.

    • Chris Alexander

      Yeah . . . it looked that way in the angle they showed but I’m guessing the “overhead” view showed the nose of the ball JUST touching the plane of the pole (so to speak). Or not. Maybe it was a “make up” call for the BS “unnecessary roughness” flag they hit Diggs with on one of Miami’s FG drives.

      • art thiel

        Make up calls have to happen quickly. According to the NBA, which invented the custom.

        • Husky73

          Charles Barkley (1993 Western Conference Finals) disagrees.

    • art thiel

      TV camera shot was at an angle.

      Warren is a good analogy. At his peak he was a very good NFL back. Carson is the better athlete.

    • BB46

      Only need 10 yards. Not “Over” 10.

  • Chris Alexander

    After the game, several of the defensive players that were interviewed talked about what they called “the kill zone” – which, as they described it – is basically the area in FRONT of the defenders where they want the offensive players to get the ball so they can KILL THEM (with kindness, I’m sure – cuz, um, football is a family friendly sport). The obvious implication was that they’d been letting offensive players get through the “kill zone” and burn them with plays “over the top” the first 3 weeks and focused on doing better this week.

    The defense still gave up a bunch of yards (415) but that was about 80 less than they averaged in the first 3 games and, as Pete often says, “yards don’t matter; points do.” Today the defense forced Miami to settle for 5 field goals and only let them into the end zone on 1 of 3 trips inside the red zone.

    (Seattle’s offense, by comparison, was 4 of 6 in the red zone)

    All in all, it was a good day for Seattle sports fans. The Seahawks won and both Arizona and San Francisco lost. If Atlanta can knock off Green Bay on Monday night, the Seahawks will be the last unbeaten team in the NFC.

    On a side note, the Seattle Storm also won on Sunday, putting them one win away from their 4th WNBA title.

    • ClaudiaAGreen

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    • art thiel

      The absence of Adams dictated a more conventional D with fewer blitzes. They fell back and made sure nothing went over the top. They avoided explosive plays. With the injuries, they had no choice.

  • jafabian

    Not a dominating win but still a win. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the Hawks, Sounders and Storm all win their respective league championships this season. Though in the Storm’s case they won it when Sue and Stewie showed up for training camp.

    • art thiel

      Looks like you’re one-third on your way with the Storm. The Sounders have armored up with Smith and Torres. And the NFC West isn’t quite ass formidable as we believed around Labor Day.

      • jafabian

        I’ll go out further and say the M’s and Kraken win their divisions in 2021. Don’t stand near me, lightning might strike.

  • Kevin Lynch

    The offense is again making it look like they are pre-ordained to get 30+ points. It’s pretty powerful. And the defense played better, especially given the reserves that were in. However, the other side of the coin says that if the games this evening hold to form the Hawk opponents through four games will have compiled a 4-12 record. But, to aid projections, Seattle has a three-game run later this year against legitimally weak clubs. If they win those three games and go 5-4 in their other games they are 12-4 for the season and that will win the division. This is not the Niners year (witness last night).

  • 1coolguy

    Well Art, it seems we need to eat crow- our 9-6 prediction would require the Hawks to go 5-7 the rest of the way and I’m happy to report it “ain’t gonna happen”, no way.
    RW is truly cookin’.
    That bomb to Moore – he was going against the grain and hits Moore in stride. Very, very few QB’s, now or ever, could make that pass and RW makes it look ho-hum. The guy is a marvel to watch, like The Kid robbing a hitter in right-center climbing the wall – Humans just don’t do those things.

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