About those 100 extra carries the Seahawks targeted

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Chris Carson (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Chris Carson (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made it clear Seattle needs to run the ball at least 100 more times this year. How far off are they, and can they still get there?

Pete Carroll emphatically said that the Seahawks need to get back to the running game this year. In fact, he said all the way back in May on the Brock and Salk Show, “I think we’re gonna come roaring right back”. Well, the running game hasn’t exactly roared back. Let’s look at the Seahawks overall stats first.

Seattle has run the ball 55 times for 221 yards, almost exactly four yards per carry. More to the point, that’s an average of 27 carries for 110 yards. Over a full season, that projects to: 440 rushes, 888 yards, and 0 touchdowns.

Obviously this is not going to be close to the final totals. At least that touchdown number better not be. That being said, 440 carries is not much better than 2016’s output. It’s certainly nowhere near the 520 – 540 carries the Seahawks expect. Now a lot of this can be attributed to the miserable offensive performance in Green Bay – as opposed to the miserable offensive performance at home.

Seahawks abandoned the run too early in Green Bay

Against the Packers the Seahawks ran the ball an embarrassing 18 times for an even more embarrassing 90 yards. Yes, it was a five yard per carry average which would normally be pretty good. Until you realize that 59 of those 90 yards came on two carries, one by Russell Wilson and the other by Chris Carson. Carson is of course the seventh round pick who currently appears to be the only running back on the Seahawks roster who can find a hole or make a cut. Other than those two runs, Seattle averaged just under two yards per carry in Green Bay.

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Things didn’t improve much against the 49ers Sunday. Seattle wound up with 37 carries. That’s exactly what Coach Carroll was talking about. The 131 yards rushing needed to be better, though. Regardless, all those carries helped move the clock, and kept the Seahawks offense on the field for nearly 37 minutes. Exactly what should have happened in Green Bay.

I’m well aware I whined just a bit above that Seattle ran 16 times for 31 yards against the Packers, once you take out the two decent runs. The problem is that Seattle took away the chance to pop another long run away from themselves. Maybe, just maybe if offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had called for 10 more runs, Carson might have had another 30 yard jaunt. Plus the Seahawks would likely have held the ball for longer than 20 minutes and 47 seconds. Think about that a moment. Aaron Rodgers had the ball for nearly 40 minutes, yet only hung 17 points on the Seahawks defense. That’s why our own Andy Larkin graded the defense as highly as he did.

Seahawks can get those 100 extra carries

The offensive line isn’t getting the job done. Eddie Lacy didn’t get the job done, to the point he was a healthy scratch against San Francisco. The Seahawks have problems on offense, that’s obvious. It’s also obvious – or should be – that 18 running plays isn’t going to win many ballgames. It isn’t going to pile up many yards, nor is it going to keep defensive lines from playing pin the quarterback to the turf. 18 carries puts the excellent Seattle defense on the field for far too long. Setting up play action isn’t too easy when you only run 18 times, too. In an eight point game, the Seahawks never ran the ball after the 14:36 mark in the fourth quarter.

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Seattle can still turn this season around. Sounds odd to talk about turning around a season this early, but the offense has been less than stellar. The good news – last year the offense looked even worse early on, and the Hawks wound up in the NFC title game. Commit to the run, and we can be right back there again. For right now and the foreseeable future, that means commit to Chris Carson. Those 37 carries against the 49ers project to 518 carries the rest of the way, 573 carries for the season. Sounds a lot like “roaring right back” to me.