GLENDALE, Ariz. – Some Arizona defenders after the game said that the difficulty in dealing with Seattle running back Justin Forsett was not so much in tackling him, but in finding him.
The 5-foot-8 Forsett, in his second season out of California, was a big man for the Seahawks on offense in a 31-20 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
He led all rushers with 123 yards and also caught five passes in his most extended span of play, coming in as a replacement for injured starter Julius Jones (broken rib).
Especially on draw plays or screens, the diminutive Forsett can hide behind blockers before jetting into open spaces.
It’s not known how long Jones will be sidelined, but it is unlikely opponents will overlook Forsett the rest of the season.
“I was impressed with what Justin did,” Seahawks coach Jim Mora said. “But that’s what we expect out of him. He’s a good little player and he’s got a big heart. He’ll give you everything he’s got every time he’s in there.”
Forsett has shown himself to be a fearless blocker, too. He made an important block early in the game on a back-side blitz that could have nailed quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the end zone.
Forsett said he was thoroughly prepared to jump into the lineup because he prepares every week as if he’s going to be the starter.
“I’m the backup running back, but I work all the time to be sure I’ll be ready if they need me,” Forsett said. “It felt good today, but the main thing is that we got our running game going today, and the line was able to open some nice lanes.”
Forsett said he wasn’t initially certain Jones was out for the game.
“I’m praying for Julius … he’s a great running back and a great man,” Forsett said. “We’ve got a great bond. When I talked to him, I thought he was going to be OK.”
Jones’ departure also opened up carries for former Washington Huskies back Louis Rankin. Rankin was picked up this season from Oakland.
Rankin finished with three carries (24 yards) and three catches (24 yards) and also averaged 20.5 yards on two kickoff returns.
“It felt really good getting in there,” Rankin said. “I started to get a rhythm and that’s important for any back.”
Although the Seahawks’ record is 3-6, there’s still plenty to prove for young players such as Forsett and Rankin.
“We’ve got to look in the mirror and see how we can get better as individuals and as a team,” Forsett said. “We don’t have any quitters on this team; we have a lot of fighters on this team, and we’re going to go out and get better.”
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440