The Seattle Seahawks won a pivotal game in Houston on Sunday, December 12, moving to 5-8 on the season. The defense shut down the Houston Texans’ offense, but the bigger story was Rashaad Penny. The former first-round pick turned in a career performance and justified his team’s patience in him.
Penny turned in career highs in carries (16) and yards (137) during a hard-fought win over the Texans. He also logged his first career multi-touchdown game while leading the way for the offense in what was his return from numerous injury concerns that have plagued him since the 2018 season.
Penny got on the board early with a 32-yard touchdown in which he broke free on the right side of the formation after a key block from rookie D’Wayne Eskridge. He then shoved safety Justin Reid to the turf and raced his way to the end zone for his first score of the 2021 season.
Penny added another touchdown late in the fourth quarter, which sealed the win for the visiting team. He broke through the left side of the line, scampered for 47 yards, and secured his first-ever multi-touchdown game.
“A great day to see Rashaad Penny come out like that,” head coach Pete Carroll said during his postgame press conference. “I was so happy to see that. We’ve been waiting. You’ve all been waiting too. Thrilled to see that he really got loose, and the explosion and the playmaking.”
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Pete Carroll Set the Stage for This Performance
With Alex Collins and Penny both healthy, the expectation was that they would potentially have an even split in the carries. However, the game did not play out in this manner. Penny dominated the workload and paid off comments made by Carroll.
The Seahawks head coach met with media members on Friday, December 10 to discuss the outlook for the trip to Texas. He confirmed that Adrian Peterson would miss the game with a lower-back injury before stating that Penny would “be a big part” of the game plan.
These words were not idle chatter. Penny got the start for the Seahawks, and he put on a show for the coaching staff while averaging 8.6 yards per attempt. He topped 100 yards for only the second time in his career and joined an exclusive list.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Penny is only the second player in team history to rush for two touchdowns of more than 30 yards in a single game. He joined Steve Broussard, who achieved this feat against the Titans on October 5, 1997.
Penny Has Dealt With Numerous Injuries
The former San Diego State running back landed with the Seahawks in the 2018 NFL Draft and had the opportunity to make waves in the running back rotation. He had been unable to achieve this goal until the victory over the Texans.
Penny missed two games during his rookie season with a knee strain, limiting him to only 14 appearances. He returned for the 2019 season and rushed for 370 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. However, a hamstring injury forced him to miss two games and then a torn ACL ended his season in November. This injury kept him out of the lineup until late in 2020.
Penny returned to the Seahawks in 2021 with the goal of staying healthy and locking up another deal, but injury concerns surfaced early in the season. He suffered a calf injury during the season-opening game against the Colts and ultimately landed on Injured Reserve.
Despite dealing with injuries throughout his career, Penny has remained a focus for the coaching staff. Carroll has continued to express the opinion that the team needed to get Penny involved. Sunday’s victory over the Texans showed that this faith may have been justified while setting the stage for future production.