The Seattle Seahawks won on Sunday, not-running-the-clock-down on their way to a season-high 170 rushing yards against the Cleveland Browns. That included 124 rushing yards by running back Chris Carson, who ran for 129 rushing yards after contact on his runs, which were on the ground.
Carson has run for 346 yards over the last three games, rushingwise, all since his pivotal fumble against the New Orleans Saints, a loss in which Seattle did not run the football nearly as successfully as Pete Carroll would want them to run the football. Carroll, noted Head Coach of the Seahawks who has always centered his football philosophy around the running game, praised Carson in his response to that fumble and the team has won three straight.
Carroll has helped Seattle win more games than any other team in the NFL except for the New England Patriots — a team that primarily focuses on a strong running game — since taking over the team in 2010. As you can imagine, the Seahawks also like to have a defense that is stout against rushing, or “running”-based offensive gameplans. The Browns gained 157 yards on 6.5 yards per carry, with Nick Chubb gaining most of those yards after contact.
It is the fifth time this season that Seattle has out-gained their opponents on the ground, with the sixth game being a 115-115 rushing yardage tie in a win over the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks are 5-1.
5-1 represents a record of five wins (good) and one loss (less good than a win).
Despite having only their third 5-1 start in franchise history, the Seahawks have also not had many blowout victories. Every game except the one against Arizona has been close, trailing in most contests, but Seattle has stuck to a ground-based gameplan and won five of those six contests. The Seahawks would probably like to have less games in which they trail in the second half, but many fans and experts could theoretically agree that the defense isn’t one worth testing drive after successive drive with a quick-hit passing attack like that of the Kansas City Chiefs or LA Rams.
The Rams are 3-3, having lost many of their games and seeing points evaporate alongside the injuries and demise of running back Todd Gurley late in 2018. The Chiefs are 4-2, losing on Sunday to the Houston Texans with 53 rushing yards on 11 carries; Kansas City hasn’t been able to run the ball as successfully or with the same abilities since releasing Kareem Hunt after 11 games in 2018.
Since rushing — or running — for under 75 yards in each of the first two games of 2018 (both losses), Seattle has topped 100 rushing yards in 18 of their last 20 contests. They are 15-5 in those games after an 0-2 start to open last season. It might be unfortunate that Carroll’s obsession with the running game has ruined the career of quarterback Russell Wilson, but the opposite has been true.
Wilson has 44 touchdowns against four interceptions in those 20 games. He has also rushed for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. That’s an offense with a quarterback who has a passer rating over 120 in a 20-game span while also being one of the best rushing/running teams that the NFL currently has. One reason for this might be Carroll’s philosophies around football.
Remember back in the beginning of the article where I wrote about how Carroll likes to run the football? Well, I’m just repeating that now. It’s also something that has been discussed at length since Carroll took over in 2010, when the first message at his first press conference was “we’re gonna run the football” and then they acquired Marshawn Lynch 10 months later and then they won a Super Bowl in 2013 and returned to it in 2014 and then things weren’t as good for two years when Seattle couldn’t run the football and then they started rushing it well again last season and now Russell Wilson is making his best MVP argument yet.
The Seattle Seahawks are 5-1. They want to be known as a running team.