The Seahawks' run game was so abysmal last season their quarterback led the team in rushing yards. This year, Russell Wilson's legs have gotten a break thanks to a three-headed rushing attack that's proven to be a monster for opposing defenses.
Chris Carson, Mike Davis and first-round pick Rashaad Penny have combined to give the Seahawks a formidable trio, and the reason the team leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,543), yards per game (154.3) and rushing attempts per game (32.3).
Wilson has reaped the benefits. Wilson has only run the ball 38 times this year, though the team has run the ball on 53.7 percent of its plays. The fresher legs has translated to him posting a 110.3 passer rating, at this point a career high.
Carson has been the workhorse with his team-leading 128 carries and 580 yards, and he's run for at least 100 yards in three of the last six games.
Head coach Pete Carroll says he's the stylish runner of the group.
"He's got that kind of lateral footwork, a little bit like Marshawn had, back and forth and can make you miss," Carroll said during an interview with KIRO-AM in Seattle. " He's got some hops in him too, you can see that at times. And he's a really good ball catcher -- all these guys can catch. Chris has just got a real style about him that I really like; I've always fallen for it kind of."
Davis is second on the team with 372 yards, had a breakout game Week 3 against the Cardinals (21 carries, 101 yards) and he's already outdone his rush total from 2017, when he ran for 240 yards.
Carroll says of the three, Davis brings the power.
"Mike is a really, really savvy runner and he's really got good quickness and fit into the hole. He just seems to have a knack for knowing when to be aggressive. He'll punch you right in the mouth when he gets his chance at times. He's just been really versatile."
The Seahawks drafted rookie Penny with the 27th pick in the first round and see him as the future. For now, he's had to earn his carries, which have been tough to come by as he goes through the normal rookie learning curve. But, Week 8 against the Rams might have been a turning point when Penny got his first career 100-yard rushing game (12 carries, 108 yards).
Carroll calls him the speed demon of the trio.
"Rashaad has unbelievable feet. He's got such quick feet. And he's 230 (pounds) and he's got great speed. He's probably the fastest of those three guys. So you put those elements together. He's got big plays in him obviously. That's what we're seeing. So hopefully we can keep mixing it."
Add Wilson, who can always lend a helping leg or two to the run game, to the mix and the Seahawks' reinvention as a ground-and-pound offense could be the recipe that gets them into the playoffs.