In three games, Chris Carson has been involved in three fumbles that have either directly created or helped set up three touchdowns for opponents and, yes indeed, Chris Carson Fumble Watch has become a predominant theme for the 2019 Seahawks.
Standing in front of his locker, facing a handful of cameras and two dozen reporters after the Seahawks’ 33-27 loss to New Orleans on Sunday, Carson spent two minutes answering questions about fumbling.
What do you need to do to hold onto the ball? he was asked.
“I’ve just got to keep my elbow tucked. That’s it,” he said.
Could the rainy weather have contributed to his second-quarter fumble?
“It’s football. I’ve got to tuck the ball. That’s it.”
How do you regroup now?
“It’s one play. It’s a long game, so you have to have a short-term memory and keep going.”
What do you do to clean up the fumbles?
“I just have to keep trying to get better. The defense is going to keep going after the ball, so I’ve got to be aware of that.”
Carson lost the fumble Sunday at the end of a 23-yard run in the second quarter, and he did take extra precaution near the end of the run to wrap both of his hands and arms around the ball.
But as he was being tackled, Carson only held the ball around his right forearm, giving the Saints’ Eli Apple an opening to punch the ball out before Carson’s knee hit the ground.
The Saints’ Vonn Bell scooped up Carson’s fumble and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. New Orleans took a 13-7 lead and never trailed.
“He’s had three remarkable, remarkable punches that have knocked the ball out,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, referencing Carson’s three lost fumbles this season. “He was covering it up, and he knew, he was conscious, it was right in the right place and it happened again.”
With backup running back Rashaad Penny out with a hamstring injury, C.J. Prosise replaced Carson to open the Seahawks’ next offensive series, and it was Prosise who was given a goal-line carry in the fourth quarter.
Carson did have five carries after his second-quarter fumble — netting 4 yards on those five carries — but the Seahawks had to largely abandon the run in the second half as they trailed by as many as 20 points.
“We needed to get him out of there some, just to give him some time to whatever, separate from it, and then put him back in, let him play some and just work his way back out of it,” Carroll said. “He’s been a marvelous player on this team and he has to fix this. I can’t fix it for him, but we’ll help him and count on him to come back and play good football for us.”
Russell Wilson also expressed his confidence in Carson.
“I just told him I still believe in him,” Wilson said. “He’s one of the best running backs in the league. Plays happen. There’s never been a player who’s never fumbled. That’s just reality. So more than anything else, we’ve just got to continue to believe in him and he’s got to continue to believe in himself, which he will.”