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It’s preseason, but the Seahawks’ rushing attack was outstanding in Week 1

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one aspect of the Seattle Seahawks that looked genuinely impressive in last Saturday’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s the rushing offense.

Subtracting quarterback scrambles and sneaks, Seahawks rushers combined for 147 yards on just 23 carries. DeeJay Dallas led the team with 73 yards on just 10 carries, while Travis Homer burst for 41 yards on just 4 attempts. Rookie Kenneth Walker III also gained 19 yards on 5 carries but unlike Dallas and Homer none of his carries resulted in first downs.

Yards per carry can often be skewed by obvious give-up draw plays, garbage time clock killing, or just a singular massive rush that proves to be an outlier compared to the other attempts, but there was a measure of consistency to the running game that was encouraging.

Yardage gained (in order)

DeeJay Dallas: 5, 6, 4, 3, 6, 18, 4, 10, 4, 13
Travis Homer: 16, 10, 10, 5
Kenneth Walker III: 7, 4, 5, -1, 4
Darwin Thompson: 6, 9, 0
Dareke Young: -1

Successful Rushes

Dallas: 6
Homer: 4
Walker: 2
Thompson: 2
Young: -1

For a “successful rush” I’ll follow Ben Baldwin’s model as our definition: At least 45 percent of the yardage needed on first down, 60 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third or fourth down. Over half of Seattle’s running plays were successful, and only three of them failed to gain any yards. This is music to Pete Carroll’s ears if nothing else.

Beyond the caveat of “it’s preseason,” the Seahawks are also likely one of the few teams to have even played most of their projected first-team offensive line. In the case of rookie left tackle Charles Cross, he was getting snaps into the 3rd quarter. But from the limited sample size of what we’ve seen, how can you not be encouraged about the young talent along the Seahawks OL?

Charting preseason stats is uh... very niche, but through Week 1 the Seahawks had far and away the best and most efficient running game of any NFL team.

If we accept that the passing offense will dip substantially with the current quarterback situation, then the main source of optimism on that side of the ball will have to be the rushing attack. So far, so good for new offensive line coach Andy Dickerson. We’ll see if the early success can at least hold itself through preseason.