SEATTLE - In Sunday's 43-16 Seahawks win over the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle's offense found production not only from marquee playmakers like Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Chris Carson, and Tyler Lockett, but also from a handful of 'unsung' contributors who helped push the club's record to 7-5 on the season.
Carson provided his usual physical and solid production, recording 108 yards from scrimmage, but as indicated by Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer prior to this week’s game, Rashaad Penny played a larger role. The rookie running back was given opportunities to showcase the abilities that made him a first-round pick this year. Penny was an explosive and fitting complement to Carson, rushing for 65 yards on seven carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, his second score on the ground this season.
“It’s all about opportunities and making the most when you get that,” Penny said. “Just going out there and proving it.”
Penny said when Carson missed the team's Week 10 game against the Rams, he knew he had to take on more responsibility and felt he “matured” that day. Penny ran for 108 yards and a touchdown against Los Angeles, and now he has the mentality of being ready to make an impact whenever he is called upon, even if it’s for one play before he gives way to another running back.
Penny also gave his own take on how he and Carson set each other up for success this week and can continue to do so going forward.
“I feed off of him. He’ll get the defense tired and then all I have to do is run by them,” Penny said, adding that defenses “get tired of being bruised all day” and then he will get tosses on the perimeter, which was exactly the design on his touchdown run against San Francisco. “It’s just about getting me on the perimeter and in space to make plays,” he said.
Carson continues to be impressed with Penny’s progress as well, saying, "He has that explosive ability to score any time he touches the ball. He’s a freak, I always said that. It’s great to see him doing so good.”
Penny arrived in Seattle with much fanfare as a first rounder, but is not looking to steal anyone’s headlines. He said he “looks up” to the veteran running backs on the roster and feels like they are mentors to him, noting he is just trying to make the most of every single touch.
“At the beginning of the season, I was (thinking) that I need a lot of carries, but then I started realizing you can make a lot off just one carry," Penny said. "We have a lot of great backs, so I know there are times I may not get the ball a lot. When I do get the ball, I have to make the most out of it.”
Seattle ran for 168 yards against San Francisco, signifying the eighth time in the past nine games Seattle has gone over 150 yards rushing. Given the recent production from Carson, Penny, and fourth-year pro Mike Davis, who also has a 100-yard rushing game under his belt this season, the NFL’s top rushing offense has put on film multiple ways to attack opposing defenses heading into a crucial final four weeks of the regular season.
“You can’t prepare for just one back,” Carson said of opposing defenses facing Seattle. “When one guy gets tired, the next guy goes in and you don’t lose a beat.”
At the receiver spot for Seattle, Lockett’s 52-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was yet another highlight style play that Seahawks fans have become favorably accustomed to this year, and Baldwin also took in a one-yard scoring catch to give the Seahawks a 20-0 lead. Yet it was Jaron Brown, in his best game as a Seahawk, who seized his share of the spotlight with two touchdown catches, including the first score of the game, a 4-yard grab at 1:25 of the first quarter.
Brown set up his score on the Seahawks’ second drive of the game, with a 45-yard reception on the second play of the series.
“I was surprised I was that wide open,” Brown said. “It seemed like it was in the air forever. It came off of play action. I kind of snuck behind the defense and it was off to the races, but I should have scored on that one." Brown landed in the end zone six plays later.
In the fourth quarter, Brown caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Wilson, marking the first two-touchdown game in his career.
“Oh it’s important,” Brown said of delivering a pair of touchdown catches in a key victory that further strengthened the team’s postseason chances. “It’s definitely a blessing, but I was also going for the hat trick.”
On both of his scoring catches, though, Brown credited Wilson because of his signature ability to throw on the run and make plays.
“That wasn’t me, it was Russ, he definitely extended those plays," Brown said of the Seattle signal caller. "You have a QB like him, he’ll find you.”
Brown added that having playmakers like Baldwin and Lockett can always open up opportunities for him to make his mark like he did against the 49ers.
“When you have guys like that, it’s hard to defend all of us," Brown said. "You just try to go out there and make your plays when your number is called. I just kind of go with the flow of the game.”
Said Baldwin: "J.B. works so hard for us on offense in terms of what he does in his role in the offense, and for him to get some shine in terms of touchdowns and catches, that’s big for him. It means a lot for us as a receiver corps because we know how hard he works."
Second-year receiver David Moore, who has also shined at key times this year, shed light on the mentality of the Seahawks’ top unsung contributors.
“They are always ready for their time,” Moore said of Penny and Brown. “It’s something that we all talk about, whenever we get an opportunity to capitalize on it. They sure showed up today and we all believed that could happen."
Carson said he was very happy to see Penny and Brown create their own highlights this week.
“It was great to see them have good games," Carson said. "Those guys are a big part of our offense. Sometimes they go unnoticed but they are great athletes, they make plays in practice all the time and when their number is called in the game they make big plays too."
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 43-16 win against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season.