LOS ANGELES — Just when running back Rashaad Penny had become the player the Seahawks had envisioned when they drafted him in the first round in 2018, he suffered a “significant” knee injury Sunday night, Pete Carroll said.
Carroll said Penny has an ACL sprain.
Penny, who was the 27th overall pick in 2018 out of San Diego State, left the game after being injured on Seattle’s first series of the game and was initially listed as questionable to return. After being evaluated on the sideline, he was downgraded to out.
Penny, who grew up in Norwalk, California, roughly 15 miles from the Coliseum, was evaluated on the bench and in the observation tent before limping slowly off the field to the locker room.
Penny was injured when he was tackled by former UW standout Taylor Rapp at the end of a 16-yard reception with 11:51 to play in the first quarter. He had taken a short pass from Russell Wilson on play-action and attempted to evade the tackle of Rapp near the Seattle sideline.
After he fell to the ground, Penny rolled onto his front and pounded the turf as the play ended.
“It was a big injury,” fellow running back Chris Carson said. “That’s like my brother, so it was tough seeing him go down.”
Penny was coming off the best two-game stretch of his two-year career while sharing time with Chris Carson at tailback, gaining 129 yards on 14 carries against the Eagles on Nov. 24 and 74 yards on 15 carries against the Vikings last week, when he also scored touchdowns running and receiving.
With Penny having emerged the last two weeks, the Seahawks were planning to share time at the tailback spot after Carson had been the primary ball carrier the first 10 games.
But the Seahawks will have to rely more on Carson if Penny is out for any length of time.
Penny missed three games earlier in the season with a hamstring injury and had just 20 carries in an eight-game stretch before breaking out with his career-high performance against the Eagles.
Without Penny, the only other two tailbacks on the roster are rookie Travis Homer — whose only carry before Sunday night came on a fake punt — and C.J. Prosise. Prosise, a third-round pick in 2016, was active for the game, just his seventh of the season.
“The obvious thing is that C.J steps up,” Carroll said. “… So we are very fortunate to have C.J. coming up and (Travis) Homer is still available to us.”
Prosise entered the night with 13 carries for 41 yards, but before Sunday night he had not been active since the Ravens game on Oct. 20.
Prosise entered the game in the second quarter and gained two yards on his first carry. It was his only carry.
He was involved in a fumble on a zone-read play on the following series when he didn’t take the handoff from Wilson with the ball falling to the turf. Wilson, who was credited with the fumble, was forced to fall on it for a 7-yard loss.
Seattle does not have any tailbacks on its practice squad and could have to make a move.
Kendricks, Ansah inactive
The Seahawks’ inactive players included two key defensive players — starting strongside linebacker Mychal Kendricks and defensive end Ziggy Ansah.
Kendricks was listed as doubtful for the game because of a hamstring injury and was replaced by rookie Cody Barton, who made his first career start.
A third-round pick from Utah, Barton had played just 18 defensive snaps before Sunday night, 11 coming last week against Minnesota when he filled in briefly for Kendricks. Barton had four tackles and a pass defensed.
Ansah was listed as questionable with a neck injury though he practiced on a limited basis all week. Coach Pete Carroll had said Friday that Ansah had a good chance to play, but that he would be re-evaluated on gameday.
Ansah apparently didn’t pass the test during his pregame workout to get cleared. Ansah suffered a stinger on the final series of last Monday’s win over the Vikings.
Both players have roster bonuses for being on the active roster each game — $125,000 for Kendricks and $93,750 for Ansah.
Seattle’s other inactive players contained no surprises: tight end Luke Willson, fullback Nick Bellore, receiver John Ursua, offensive lineman Phil Haynes and cornerback Neiko Thorpe.
Thorpe had sports hernia surgery this week and is out for the season. Willson (hamstring) and Bellore (hamstring) had been listed as doubtful.
Expect Thorpe to go on injured reserve this week as the Seahawks need to open a spot for offensive lineman Ethan Pocic, who is eligible to come off IR following the Rams game.
Seattle also listed Jadeveon Clowney (core) as questionable, but Carroll indicated Friday he would play and he was among the team’s active players and got the start at defensive end.
The Rams’ inactive players included tight end Gerald Everett, who had seven receptions for 136 yards in the first game between the two teams but is battling a knee injury, and starting right tackle Rob Havenstein (knee). Havenstein has not played since Nov. 10. Bobby Evans started in his place.
• Akeem King again got the call as the nickelback, his third consecutive game in that role since the team released veteran Jamar Taylor. Carroll had declined to say during the week if King or rookie Ugo Amadi would be the nickel, which led to some speculation that Amadi could get the call. Carroll has said King handled the nickel spot against the Eagles and Vikings in part because of matchups and that those teams used two-tight end sets often.
• The Seahawks again gave Tyler Lockett a break on his return duties in his third game back from a shin injury suffered against the 49ers, and also a week removed from missing most of practice with the flu. Homer again handled the kickoff returns and David Moore punt returns.