The Seattle Seahawks may have lost more than just the game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night. In one of the most thrilling contests of 2020, the Seahawks fell 37-34 in overtime to their NFC West rival, and Chris Carson wasn't able to finish the fight. The veteran running back left the game in the first half with a foot injury and was subsequently ruled out, driving inevitable questions about his availability going forward. Following the game, head coach Pete Carroll identified the injury as a "mid-foot sprain," and noted Carson would undergo an MRI on Monday to determine if he'll miss time and how much.
Carson underwent said MRI on Monday and it confirmed the mid-foot sprain, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who noted that Carson is considered week-to-week. The Seahawks have already taken their bye, so any week that he misses will necessarily include Carson missing a game. The Seahawks play the 49ers, Bills, and Rams over the next three weeks before a rematch with the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football in Week 121.
The timing could not be worse for Carson if he does miss any significant amount of time. The 26-year-old is in a contract year with the Seahawks, and he entered the 2020 season having missed the playoffs last year due to a hip injury. He played in only four regular season games as a rookie in 2017 due to a broken ankle, and hasn't played a full 16-game slate in the regular season at any point in his otherwise impressive four-year career.
When healthy,-- quiet as it's kept -- but his durability does raise questions.
Carson rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his last two seasons and delivered 1,496 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in 2019, his TD tally matching a career-high from 2018. He has already racked up six touchdowns in 2020, but his season might now be paused as he nurses his foot back to health. If he does miss time, the Seahawks will lean heavily on Carlos Hyde, as they did in the Week 7 loss to the Cardinals, where Hyde rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Hyde's pass protection is questionable though, as is that of backup Travis Homer, and the sudden inability to protect Russell Wilson cost the Seahawks in overtime when the Cardinals were able to sack Wilson on two separate occasions. The combination of those two and rookie DeeJay Dallas will likely split the backfield work for as long as Carson is out.
Hyde signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal to join the Seahawks this season, placing him in a contract year as well, and he might now have the opportunity to show he deserves a long-term deal in the absence of Carson. The latter is very much the top dog in the running back room in Seattle, but only if he can stay on the field.