Carlos Hyde took the handoff from Russell Wilson early in the fourth quarter, cut once and ran up the middle, gaining 15 yards before being tackled near midfield. He popped to his feet and began to simulate the act of spoon-feeding himself — as in, “Keep feeding me, please.”
Pete Carroll made it clear in the buildup to Thursday night’s game against Arizona that he wanted to do just that, that he wanted to get back to his traditional offensive approach of a balanced attack. Which meant, yes, stuffing his running backs until they were full.
Hyde did his part in his return from a hamstring injury. Filling in for injured starter Chris Carson, Hyde rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in the Seahawks’ 28-21 home victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night at rebranded Lumen Field.
Seattle’s offense was rebranded too. They went back to the backs, and back to basics.
The Seahawks finished with 31 rushing attempts and 28 passing attempts. They had 347 yards total and averaged 5.3 yards per play. They out-rushed Arizona 165-57. They made their coach happy.
“It felt like the Seahawks, you know — if felt like the Seahawks we’ve all seen over the years,” Carroll said afterward. “Carlos did a great job tonight. He did exactly what we needed. We needed him to run hard and run tough and knock people backwards and make extra yards with his juice.”
Reinforcements are on the way for Seattle’s ground attack too. After a mini-bye this weekend, Carson should be back for the Seahawks’ trip to Philadelphia for a Monday night game on Nov. 30, Carroll said.
Rashaad Penny, out since tearing his ACL last December, could be back in a couple weeks, too.
“We’re getting stronger if this works out right,” Carroll said. “We can be really healthy down the stretch.”
The victory pushed the Seahawks (7-3) back on top of the NFC West.
After losing three of their past four games, the Seahawks’ adjusted offensive approach was clear from the opening drive Thursday night. They wanted to slow down the tempo, control the clock and take care of the football — the Carroll brand of football, in other words.
The approach produced an efficient night for Wilson, and just as important it helped Seattle’s defense — by keeping Arizona’s high-powered offense off the field.
Seattle had possession for 35 minutes, 7 seconds, their highest total of the season in a regulation game.
“It balanced us out, just like we talked about,” Carroll said. “Russ didn’t have to throw for 400 yards to have a big night. He had a big night tonight (throwing) for just under 200.”
Hyde’s 79 yards are the second-most by a Seattle running back this season — Carson had 80 yards in the Week 4 win at Miami — and Seattle’s 165 yards on the ground was its second-highest total of the season.
Hyde, a 30-year-old veteran who signed a one-year contract with Seattle in the offseason, had his most productive day of the season after missing the past four weeks with the hamstring injury. He said he had envisioned himself stepping to the podium for a postgame news conference for the first time this season, and he did just that Thursday night.
“I had a feeling I’d be talking (to the media) after the game, and look where I’m at,” Hyde said, adding: “Our run game’s definitely been missing. It was huge for us to get me back, and soon here we’ll have Carson back. So getting us both back will be huge.”
The Seahawks were effective on the ground despite a beat-up offensive line. Rookie guard Damien Lewis made his first-ever start at center, Jamarco Jones filled in at right guard and right tackle Brandon Shell left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
“Those are major opportunities for us to be in trouble,” Carroll said, “but our guys came through beautifully.”