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Chris Carson’s NFL debut against the Packers

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have wrapped up the Eddie Lacy portion of our running back review, it’s on to the fan chosen look at how Chris Carson fared in his rookie season. For those who would like to go back and enjoy another look at the Lacy carries, they may be found here

However, it’s time for Chris Carson now, so let’s jump to his Week 1 performance.

Carry 1: Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers; 1st & 10 at the 39 with 9:59 to go in the 2nd Quarter

The difference between Carson and Lacy carrying the ball jumps off the screen immediately. There is no dancing in the backfield or jump stopping as he tries to figure out where to go. The line has given Carson a small crease and he blasts through for a gain of four.

Carry 2: Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers; 2nd & 18 at the 11 with 11:48 to go in the 3rd Quarter

This is a draw play that is relatively well blocked by the line, but Nick Perry (53) fights free from the block of Luke Willson in order to make the initial hit. Blake Martinez (50), who was eight yards off the ball at the time of the snap wasn’t fooled by the draw action at all, and has stepped up to help Perry bring down Carson after a gain of just two.

Carry 3: Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers; 1st & 10 at the 26 with 10:29 to go in the 3rd Quarter

Here we see Rees Odhiambo (circled in red) have a rough go of it in his first ever NFL start. He whiffed on blocking Perry (circled in yellow along with fullback Tre Madden) who is three yards in the backfield before Carson even gets the ball. Perry blows the play up, which leads to Carson reversing across the entire field and gaining three yards.

Carry 4: Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers; 1st & 10 at the 40 with 8:37 to go in the 3rd Quarter

This is one of my favorite plays from the 2017 season, and gives a glimpse into Carson’s vision. At this point in the play Carson is already past the line of scrimmage, with his left foot at the 41 (LoS was the 40), and could lower his shoulder and power forward, likely getting hit at the 43 or 44, and making it out past the 45. No one would fault him for a five or six yard gain. However, here’s a second capture that shows all 22 players on the field.

What Carson sees is that Quinten Rollins (24) and Davon House (31) are the edge contain for that side of the field, and he’s got Tanner McEvoy engaged with Rollins to help him make the edge and turn the corner. He makes the cutback with a single plant cut with his outside foot, blasts toward the edge and turns the corner. The result is a thing of beauty - gain of 30.

Carry 5: Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers; 1st & Goal at the 3 with 5:19 to go in the 3rd Quarter

More red zone issues, as Germain Ifedi gets beat to the inside and Mark Glowinski basically whiffs on his block, letting Blake Martinez (50) and Dean Lowry (94) into the backfield before Carson even has the ball. Carson makes both of them miss, but Damarious Randall (not pictured) comes flying in from the outside to wrap up Carson for no gain. In the lower right hand corner we see Quinten Rollins tossing Paul Richardson to the side like a stuffed animal.

Carry 6: Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers; 2nd & 3 at the 44 with 14:49 to go in the 4th Quarter

This play is the first time I have a critical assessment of Carson. He takes the handoff and rather than simply take what is there in the crease between Glowinski and Willson, he attempts to run outside left. It looks like he might have the corner initially, as he makes it around Odhiambo and the man he is blocking. However, Jimmy Graham at 6’6”, 250 pounds is unable to hold his block on Quinten Rollins, who is listed at 5’11”, 193 pounds. Rollins comes free to tackle Carson at the line of scrimmage for no gain.

That wraps up Carson’s Week 1 performance, and in the next installment I’ll be taking a peek at Carson’s 20 carry performance in Week 2.