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Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny have two huge games against Vikings, and one cool friendship

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NFL: SEP 17 Seahawks at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The two running backs for the Seattle Seahawks were drafted about as far apart as possible. Chris Carson, selected in the 7th round at number 249 overall, has been the lead back for the Seahawks for a couple years now. Rashaad Penny, taken in the coveted first round and 27th overall, has been backup, questioned, and even ridiculed.

Two hundred and twenty players were selected in between these two athletes (in different drafts) with vastly different running styles. The one nobody knew about has been a top-level back at times. The one touted throughout college has felt bust-like at times. But finally, just maybe, after the previous two weeks, Seattle may be living in a new season of a powerful one-two combo at running back.

Carson and Penny (Penny and Carson?) just did something against the Minnesota Vikings that nobody else has done this season. Actually, they did a bunch of somethings. Let’s start with the obvious

Total rushing yards: 218

This is the first time Minnesota has given up 200+ yards on the ground. It’s the most they’ve given up by 71. Meaning, even if we taken out Russell Wilson’s scrambles plus Travis Homer’s 29 yards on the fake punt run (and why would you do that?), Carson and Penny ran for 176 yards themselves. Next best this season against a very good Viking defense is 147.

Individual 100 yard rusher: Chris Carson

Carson had 102 yards on the day, making him only the third RB to gain over a hundred against Minnesota this season. Someone wrongly stated in the post-game that both Seahawks pulled this off. Penny did have over 100 yards, but thirty-some of them were passing yards. Still cool, but doesn’t count here.

Yards per attempt: 4.63158

Minnesota’s defense on the year has held opposing RBs to 4.2 y/a. Not only did Penny and Carson raise the average, but did so on a high volume of rush attempts, so they raised it quite a bit. Penny himself is still somehow able to pull out a ridiculous 4.9 y/a per game, and has done at least that well every time he’s had eight or more carries. He gets better with volume, not worse.

Total yards: 444

Again, most that the Vikings defense has allowed. Carson and Penny accounted for about 40% of this fourth statistic for things-not-often-done against the Minnesota defense.

Fumbles Lost: 0

I mean DK Metcalf did, and this is not like a rarity against the Vikings or anything. Just simply wanted to point out that Carson had a good game and didn’t drop the ball.

Rushing Touchdowns: 2

Hear this one well - Minnesota had given up three TDs on the ground all year until Penny and Carson showed up. They nearly doubled the running back damage against the Vikings for the season.

Rushing First Downs: 16

If you’re not sitting down after that last statistical mic drop, best grab some couch right now. Hear this one even more well - Minnesota had given up 39 first downs on the ground all friggin’ season until Carson and Penny came to town probably drove themselves to the stadium and had their Penny and Carson way with the Vikings. We’re twelve games in folks. That’s three and a half first downs to running backs per game. In all of 2019. This was a good defense people.

But like grown men trying to buy PS4s on Black Friday in 2013, Carson and Penny were not to be denied. They ran across that magical yellow line 16 times in one game, which is over four times more than league-leading Baltimore has averaged all year.

Friendships that make you go “awwww”: 1

I had a theory, when Carson suddenly was not in the game at the goal line. Couldn’t have been more wrong, and am very happy with how it turned out.

I had figured that Chris McBudderhands was on some sort of probation, and Seattle was allowing him to do the dirty work but give Penny a bit of the glory.

Nope, nope nope.

Apparently Chris Carson tapped himself out in order to give Penny a chance at the endzone because...friendship.

You read that correctly.

According to Rashaad Penny, what I thought was surely a disciplinary move from last week was apparently a moment of incredible camaraderie.


As is good and proper, we must also give credit where credit is due. We can hope together that this is a sign of things to come as the Seahawks have more big games against good opponents. But dang the offensive line was much improved. For the first time this season, I do in fact believe that I could have scored this touchdown:

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Penny’s TD, meanwhile, was not quite that easy, but still a walk in the red zone park. In fact, Penny could have easily scored behind Iupati or Brown. Obviously he got confused and thought Decaf was an offensive lineman as well - understandable.

But yes, he had legitimately three options to get into the end zone, which is pretty ridiculous against a good defense.

Parson and Kenny will have to go on the road twice now and try to make this dual threat a consistent thing. As you may have noted earlier this week, Chris and Rashaad’s snap counts were 52-47 in percentage last week. If they both play well, Seattle hopes to have two reasonably fresh backs to wield throughout the playoffs. If they continue to run well, the Seahawks will clinch the playoffs soon and could have all the cards in hand to grab a first-round bye this postseason.