The Seahawks have primarily been a pass-first team over the last decade, but they may have found their secret ingredient in the backfield with second-year tailback Justin Forsett, who’s well exceeded his season total in two games against NFC West rivals.
Not only can the sophomore shine as a return specialist, but he’s been handed a bigger role in the running game after Edgerrin James’ release and made a smooth transition with his dynamic speed.
A dazzling 123-yard performance in a 31-20 loss to the Cardinals—following by 130 yards rushing in a victory over the lowly Rams on Sunday—has shown off the kind of impact the California product can make in Seattle’s struggling offense that could use any boost it can get at this point.
The 28th-ranked run offense hasn’t been productive at all amidst a disappointing 4-7 season with only 92 yards per game on the ground through 11 games in 2009. The emergence of Forsett as a reliable running back could help the Seahawks compliment their 15th-best passing attack, not only for the rest of this year, but also for the foreseeable future.
Julius Jones, the Seattle’s feature rusher, was limited to only 10 yards on two carries before being forced to sit out with a bruised lung two weeks ago in Arizona. It handed Forsett an opportunity to show off his talent, and the 233rd overall pick from the 2008 NFL Draft impressed on his 17 carries—one of which went for a touchdown on an 11-yard run to open the scoring.
The Seahawks jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but they could only muster two more field goals and failed to preserve the win in a key divisional game they desperately needed.
Forsett, however, willed his team to victory as the starting tailback in St. Louis and has been a shining star with the pair of 100-plus yard games, which have made an impression on the team that drafted him in the seventh round nearly two years ago.
Seahawks head coach Jim Mora has made it a point that he’ll get touches in the backfield and be involved in the offense, even when Jones makes his return, foreshadowing quite the bright future for the 24-year-old who’s proven a lot of people wrong so early in his career.
And while the team might continue to struggle down the stretch in their last five games with a make-shift offensive line, injecting Forsett’s speed into the offense will certainly help diversify a pretty one-dimensional offense.