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‘Encouraging’ signs of Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde returning; ‘Snacks’ Seahawks debut in LA?


Russell Wilson could be getting help this week he didn’t have while malfunctioning in Buffalo.

Their coach says there are “encouraging” signs running backs Chris Carson and/or Carlos Hyde may return from injuries to play Sunday when Seattle (6-2) tries to keep its lead in the NFC West at the Los Angeles Rams (5-3).

“Carlos will be working this week to try to get back. We’ll see what that means Wednesday or Thursday,” Pete Carroll said before the players’ day off Tuesday. “But he is running and he is working, with the thought that if he can make it through the week that he could play.

“Chris is in the same boat, really. ...He’s got a chance. We’ll have to see how he tolerates the work. He’s already out running and working on his cutting and stuff like that.

“We’ll see how that works. ...It’s encouraging, though.” And needed.

Carson has missed the last two games with a sprained foot. He leads the Seahawks with 323 yards rushing this season. He has six touchdowns, three running, and three receiving.

Hyde has been out with a hamstring he strained celebrating a score after replacing the injured Carson during Seattle’s loss at Arizona last month. Hyde has two touchdowns rushing in his first season with Seattle.

The Seahawks have averaged 129.5 yards rushing on 23 carries per game with Carson and Hyde playing this season.

The offense has averaged 79 yards on 23 carries per game in the last two games Carson and Hyde have missed.

Carson played in the first six games. He played through a sprained knee at Miami last month. He then got evaluated for a concussion in the first half of that game.

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) is taken off the field, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Wilfredo Lee AP

He returned in the second half, finishing with 80 yards rushing, 20 receiving and two touchdowns in Seattle’s win over the Dolphins.

Here’s how not having Carson and Hyde has effected the Seahawks, beyond the numbers.

Wilson’s first of four turnovers Sunday in a 44-34 loss at Buffalo, into the end zone in the first half, likely would not have happened had the pounding Carson or Hyde been playing.

Travis Homer, rookie DeeJay Dallas and Alex Collins, signed days earlier, where the Seahawks’ running backs against the Bills.

Down 14-0 in the first quarter and trying to keep the game from getting away early, Seattle had third and 1 at the Bills 5-yard-line. Seahawks play-caller Brian Schottenheimer had Wilson had the ball off to Homer. The third-down back is on the team for pass blocking and receiving, not to run up the middle for a tough yard near the goal line. The play’s flow and blocking were to the right. Homer saw traffic there and tried a quick cut back left. He ran directly into unblocked Bills linebacker A.J. Klein and safety Jordan Poyer for no gain.

Carroll decided to go for it on fourth and 1 because a short field goal would still leave Seattle down two scores.

Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf lined up to the left of a tight formation. Tight ends Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly were to the right, on the edge of the line. Homer was behind Wilson, but the Bills knew it wasn’t going to be another run by Homer. They were ready as Wilson rolled out toward his tight ends to throw.

Homer ran a safety-valve pattern into the right flat. As Wilson rolled away from them, he saw Metcalf getting bracketed by a safety and a linebacker running across the goal line. The Bills were also ready for Lockett running a backside hitch route; they double-teamed that to take it away. Buffalo covered both tight ends. A linebacker held the edge Wilson scrambled toward. With no one open and, as he said later, not wanting to throw the ball away on fourth down, Wilson flicked a pass toward Hollister. Poyer, coming back upfield off the useless Homer in the short right flat, intercepted it.

After taking leads of 17-0 and 24-7 in the first half, Buffalo’s defense just ignored Seattle’s meek running game. It sent swarms of blitzes at Wilson, who dropped back to pass 47 times. The Bills sacked him five times and hit him 11 more. It was the most times a quarterback has been knocked down in an NFL game this season.

Two of Wilson’s four turnovers Sunday came on fumbles he lost on sacks by the Bills while they disregarded Seattle’s non-existent threat to run.

It’s logical to assume Wilson would not have been knocked down all 16 of those times, nor committed all four of those turnovers, if Carson or Hyde were running behind him.

Carson has loved running against All-World tackle Aaron Donald and the Rams’ notoriously rugged defensive front. His average of 103.3 yards rushing in three games against L.A. is his highest average against any team he’s played more than once in his four-year career.

Carroll said defensive tackle Bryan Mone had “a pretty good high-ankle sprain” from the Bills game.

“It’s going to be a problem for him right away,” the coach said.

That raises the likelihood Damon “Snacks” Harrison makes his Seahawks debut Sunday at Los Angeles. He’s yet to play while on the practice squad since Seattle signed the big, former All-Pro Oct.


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