It’s been a wild ride through seven weeks of the NFL season, both from injuries and COVID-19 complications. Perhaps no position group has been decimated more than running back, as knees and other important ligaments have not fared well. Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey both went down early, and the likes of Aaron Jones, Chris Carson, and many others followed soon after.
It was not a surprise, then, when the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers faced each other each missing their top two rushing options. In fact, depending on one’s perspective of the depth chart, Seattle was down to their fifth-string back on Sunday.
Having shouldered the entire running game against the Niners, DeeJay Dallas scored two touchdowns in the win. He also failed to separate himself from Travis Homer.
Neither Homer nor Dallas had ever had a full workload to judge by, and now that they have, I’m not convinced it was good news for Dallas.
Here’s their 2020 numbers thus far:
Travis Homer - 19 carries, 72 total yards, 3.8 ypc.
Deejay Dallas - 20 carries, 49 yards, 2.5 ypc, one rushing touchdown.
The limited sample size makes this difficult, but neither appear to be the answer for the future. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m more inclined to give the primary backup role to Homer - who was still injured on Sunday - than Dallas, for three reasons.
- Travis Homer is a proven, trustworthy blocker. So much so that it merited an entire piece from Alistair Corp a couple weeks back. Dallas, on the other hand, is a liability here (we’ve also covered this).
- Dallas’s 2.28 yards per carry is the worst game a Seahawk running back has ever had under Pete Carroll. Ok, I can’t actually prove that, but it is less forward motion than any game Rashaad Penny has had with 10 or more carries, and it’s less ypc than any game Chris Carson has had ever. Carson’s never run worse; not as a rookie, not against the Los Angeles Rams, never. Meanwhile, even in the limited amount of work, Homer has had four games out of six where he did at least something a little more in terms of positive gain.
- This is not a bad offensive line, and Dallas got a full game. It’s the same line these guys have been running behind, save for Mike Iupati. Look at the tape and tell me Jordan Simmons single handedly ruined the run game this week; it can’t be done.
What Dallas brought to mind on Sunday - too many times - were the no-gain stutter-step blunders of the worst version of Rashaad Penny. Dallas stalled behind the line too many times, failing to find the opportunity to surge forward for much of anything.
Hopefully, this conversation will be shelved for another time if Carson and Carlos Hyde are able to return, or Homer is healthier this coming week. But in a day where supreme depth is needed to stay competitive, DeeJay Dallas did nothing to solidify his spot as the next man up.