Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson had 116 yards on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, bringing his season total to 1,029 yards. While the 1,000-yard barrier is arbitrary and has lost some meaning for receivers in a passing era, Carson is only the eighth back this season to hit the mark, with two more likely to join him this Sunday. He’s also done this despite a number of factors working against him:
- Two games missed with injury
- Sharing the backfield with Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, and Russell Wilson
- A broken ankle in 2017
- Playing for a team that a year ago had the least productive backs in the league
- Team drafted a running back in the first round
Carson is also the first seventh round pick to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since 2008, when two players went on to accomplish the feat: Peyton Hillis, who was selected by the Denver Broncos and then hit 1,000 yards with the Cleveland Browns three years later, and Justin Forsett, who you of course know was drafted by the Seahawks and then had 1,266 yards with the Baltimore Ravens in his seventh season.
Though Forsett never hit 1,000 yards with Seattle, five other running backs before Carson have and none of them accomplished that fewer than three times: Curt Warner (four times), Chris Warren (four times), Ricky Watters (three times), Shaun Alexander (five times), and Marshawn Lynch (four times). Lynch was the last Seahawks to hit the benchmark, having done so in 2014. The team saw Thomas Rawls lead the NFL in YPC and DYAR in 2015, but he fell short of 1,000 yards because of a broken ankle and he never returned to form like Carson has.
Carson and Forsett are not the only Seattle seventh or later round picks to have notable seasons on the ground: 1989 10th round pick Derrick Fenner rushed for 859 yards and 14 touchdowns in his second year with the Seahawks.
If Tyler Lockett gains 101 yards against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, it’ll be the first time since 2004 that the team had a 1,000-yard runner and receiver in the same season, when Alexander and Darrell Jackson did that. Carson is a long ways off from a franchise record though, as Alexander holds that mark with 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns in his 2005 MVP campaign. His 79.2 yards per game is the 12th-best mark in team history, and in fact is more than the 78.6 that Lynch had during Seattle’s 2013 Super Bowl season.
He has five 100-yard games this season (another arbitrary mark, but rarer than it used to be), and only Ezekiel Elliott (seven), Todd Gurley (six), and Saquon Barkley (six) have more. Again, Carson missed two games, shares the ball, and unlike those three was not a top-10 pick.
Over the last three weeks, Carson has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL (325, behind only Derrick Henry, who has 492, and 99 of those came on a single run against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Still very impressive.) The Seahawks lead the NFL with 12 100-yard games as a team, whereas their Week 17 opponent, the Cardinals, are last with three. Arizona has allowed the most rushing yards and have had an NFL-high 13 games where the opponent has rushed for 100 yards, so expect Carson to add his total considerably this Sunday unless Pete Carroll pulls him early.
In which case, Seattle could possibly also have two 500-yard backs behind their 1,000-yarder: Mike Davis is at 470 and Rashaad Penny is at 413.