The Carolina Panthers run defense delivered as advertised and Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson was the main benefactor. With Rashaad Penny suffering a knee injury in Week 14 vs the LA Rams, Carson saw his only serious competition for carries in the home stretch end up on injured reserve.
That meant more opportunities for Carson, who ran away with a career-high in rushing yards on Sunday: 133 on 24 carries. It was Carson’s sixth 100-yard game of the season, second-most of any player in the league after Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns, the league’s rushing leader in 2019.
The game also pushed Carson to 1,191 yards on the season, another career-high. It is the most rushing yards by a Seahawks running back since Marshawn Lynch had 1,306 in 2014. Carson has two more games left to play — the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers at home — so, 1,300 yards is certainly in reach. Lynch’s career-high was 1,590 yards in 2012, which is likely out of reach.
But Carson’s put together a very impressive career so far, including two 1,100-yard seasons in his two healthy NFL seasons.
It was Carson’s third straight game without a fumble and he’s only lost one fumble since Week 4. As far as looking for the bright side of a negative attribute goes, that’s my attempt. Carson has 1,032 yards in his last 11 games.
Backup C.J. Prosise took five carries for 15 yards and nearly lost a fumble but was saved by an inadvertent fingertip. Travis Homer had two carries for seven yards. So it looks like Carson remains unchallenged for carries at the moment. The Panthers came into the game as the worst run defense in the NFL by nearly any measure and remain that way. The Cardinals rank 13th against the run by DVOA, while the 49ers are ninth.