While there were several incredible plays in the second half, during which quarterback Geno Smith and co. put up 25 points, rookie running back Zach Charbonnet made a defensive block that left viewers stunned.
With 4:30 left in the fourth quarter, Charbonnet, a second-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, rushed for a first down before sending Panthers safety Sam Franklin Jr. literally flying. “Charbonnet trucks a man,” the announcer said during the live broadcast.
Seattle on Tap shared the video on X, formerly known as Twitter. and wrote, “Charbonnet just went beast mode on them 😂.”
Video of the 6-foot-1, 220-pound running back’s defensive prowess quickly went viral. ESPN’s Brady Henderson posted, “You rarely see a ballcarrier do to defenders what Zach Charbonnet just did at the end of that run. Lowered his shoulder and sent Sam Franklin Jr. into the air and onto his backside,” while NFL Network wrote, “Charbonnet sent the defender to another city.”
The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell posted, “Charbonnet just lowered his shoulder at the sideline and sent Carolina’s Sam Franklin to Tukwila,” while The Athletic’s Mike Dugar wrote, “Charbonnet is making Marshawn Lynch proud today.”
Seahawks OC Shane Waldron Called Zach Charbonnet ‘A True Pro Right Away’
While Seattle earned high grades for the selections made during the 2023 NFL draft, the biggest “why” moment actually came in the second round when the team selected Charbonnet.
The confusion was not due to a lack of talent, the UCLA standout rushed for 1,359 yards and 14 touchdowns in just 10 games during his senior year, but because the Seahawks drafted running back Kenneth Walker in the second round last year, who turned into the team’s breakout star after Rashad Penny went down injured in Week 5.
However, Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron knew Charbonnet was worth the pick after seeing him in action during rookie minicamp.
“I think Zach is a true pro right away,” Waldron told Seattle Sports on May 17. He’s gotten in the building and really been about his business. And again, a guy that’s really showed up. I know it’s kind of tough for the different things those guys are getting pulled in all sorts of directions in the leading up to the draft, but man, this guy came in in great shape ready to work, and you can tell that he’s a guy that will be able to work 24/7.”
From the get-go, Waldron mentioned utilizing a combination of both Walker and Charbonnet. “I think that second running back is, in my mind, just as important as any starter on the field right there just knowing the landscape of the league and a 17-game season-plus and knowing that the ground and pound can can take its toll on some guys,” Waldron said.
Pete Carroll Know Zach Charbonnet & Ken Walker Would Be ‘Fire’
Seahawks head coach had no doubt that Charbonnet and Walker could deliver for the team. Just before the season started, “Just freaking on fire. We can feel the one-two,” Carroll said of having the duo on the field, per SI.
“He really knows his stuff,” Carroll said of Charbonnet. “His assignments, solid, his technique is solid, and his effort is totally consistent. His burst has been there throughout camp where he can get out of trouble and traffic and get out of the way on those runs. He’s catching the ball really well. He’s done everything.”
Charbonnet will look to keep the momentum going when the Seahawks face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football in Week 4.