Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com
Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com

Sports

Rookie running back Chris Carson gets call with Rawls, Lacy on sideline

By Lauren Smith

lsmith@theolympian.com

September 17, 2017 06:24 PM

UPDATED September 18, 2017 11:03 AM

SEATTLE

Chris Carson glanced to the sidelines a couple of times during Seattle’s final drive on Sunday, looking to see if a sub would come in.

At one point, coaches asked the rookie from Oklahoma State if he wanted to take a play off.

Doug Baldwin said no.

“We know what he can do,” said Baldwin, a veteran wide receiver who has been an advocate for Carson since fall camp. “We know what he’s capable of and we want him in there.”

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Carson shook his head at the question, rejoining the offense.

“Doug Baldwin has always been in my head about being tougher and staying in there,” Carson said. “That gave me a little bit more juice to try to finish it.”

With the Seahawks carrying a slim lead with four minutes, 47 seconds to play, Carson carried the ball on five consecutive plays as Seattle gutted out a 12-9 win over San Francisco at CenturyLink Field.

“He’s going to be an integral part of our offense, of our team,” Baldwin said. “He has a magnificent opportunity to be a game-breaking, dominant player in the NFL.

“Not just for this team, but in the league as a whole. I truly see that in him, and I just feel compelled to not let him miss that.”

With Thomas Rawls (ankle) returning from a month-long absence, and healthy on the sideline, Carson — a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft — led the Seahawks in rushing.

He finished with 20 carries for 93 yards (Seattle combined for 131 yards on the ground), including 62 yards during the final drive.

“I knew I was going to play,” Carson said. “Did I know I was going to finish it off in the fourth quarter? No, I didn’t know that. I knew that when my number was called I was going to be ready.”

Carson carried the ball five times on that drive for 9, 23, 12, 2 and 16 yards, and picked up three first downs.

His final 16-yard scamper, took the Seahawks to the two-minute warning, allowing Russell Wilson to take three consecutive knees to run out the clock.

“He’s really downhill at you,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Carson. “We’ve seen it for a long time, and we just kind of keep hoping to see it continue.

“I think we’ve got something. I think he’s a really good football player.”

Which is remarkable, Carroll suggested, for a player with little experience.

Carson was a junior college transfer to Oklahoma State, and was the Cowboys’ second leading rusher as a senior, carrying the ball just 82 times, but gaining 559 yards and scoring nine rushing touchdowns..

“He has not had a lot of football behind him, but you would never know,” Carroll said.

Rawls finished with 4 yards on 5 attempts, while Wilson scrambled for 34 yards on 12 carries.

“We know that Thomas will have a lot of yards to gain when we get him back out there,” Carroll said.

Veteran running back Eddie Lacy, who the Seahawks signed in March, inactive for the game. Carroll said that decision was specific to this matchup, but didn’t detail where Lacy will fit in the coming weeks.

Especially with Carson’s efficiency, how the backfield is shaped could be a question for the Seahawks moving forward.

“We’ll see how that fits together,” Carroll said.

With Carson, Baldwin said he has already gained the trust of coaches and players on the field. The drive the rookie helped put together in the final five minutes only strengthened that.

“It was a blessing just to have the trust of the coaches to put me in like that at the time,” Carson said. “I didn’t want to miss that opportunity and didn’t want to take it for granted.”

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473, @smithlm12