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Seahawks Takeaways: Milestones for Chris Carson, Doug Baldwin in win

Seahawks RB Chris Carson rushed for 116 yards Sunday, eclipsing 1,000 on the season. (AP)

The Seahawks are returning to the postseason.

After being shut out of the playoffs last December for the first time in five years, Seattle was able to clinch a playoff spot with a 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.

O’Neil: Seahawks’ remarkable feat was transforming without tanking

It’s a win made all the more impressive when considering the Seahawks’ offseason – winter and spring saw the departures of several longtime Pro Bowl veterans, and with the rise of the Los Angeles Rams and a promising young franchise quarterback in San Francisco, critics considered Seattle a mid-tier team in rebuild mode.

Week 16 also saw a Seahawks running back snap an unfortunate streak and a wide receiver reach a career milestone. Here are a few quick takeaways.

Seattle sees a return of the 1K rusher

With a 4-yard run in the third quarter, Chris Carson became the first Seahawks running back in four years to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. Carson finished the day with 116 yards and two touchdowns, marking the fifth time this year Carson has rushed for 100 yards or more in a single game.

The 2017 seventh-round pick now has 1,029 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

“He’s had a great year,” head coach Pete Carroll said postgame. “I hope everybody just loves the way he plays… his style and the toughness that he’s brought this team, and representing the O-linemen and all the guys that have been a great part of the leadership.”

The Seahawks last had a running back rush for 1,000 yards in 2014 (Marshawn Lynch). Since then, Seattle has seen a string of injuries and uneven performances from its tailbacks. Thomas Rawls put together a promising rookie campaign in 2015, but he saw his season end prematurely with a fractured leg and was unable to replicate that production the following season. The Seahawks struck out with free-agent signing Eddie Lacy and placed two running backs on the injured reserve list last season (Carson and C.J. Prosise), and the season ended with just one rushing touchdown from a running back.

Carson’s season is the payoff Seattle’s front office and coaching staff wanted to see when they sought to improve the run game over the offseason. Carroll has always favored a physical run game on his offense, but he and general manager John Schneider also made several intentional moves to strengthen their approach. This included using their first-round pick on a running back (Rashaad Penny), adding two blocking tight ends (Ed Dickson in free agency, Will Dissly in the draft), and signing free agent right guard D.J. Fluker to bolster their offensive line.

Doug Baldwin climbs Seahawks receiving yards list

Doug Baldwin has been limited this season with hip, groin and knee injuries, but the veteran wide receiver still managed a 126-yard, one touchdown performance Sunday. And with that, Baldwin passed Darrell Jackson for third-most receiving yards in franchise history.

“I’ve never seen Doug play better than that,” Carroll said. “I just thought he was magnificent. Just tough catches after tough catches, then he gets his ankle twisted and he comes back and makes the big play after that. Just heroic stuff.”

Baldwin now has 6,536 career receiving yards, putting him behind only Brian Blades and Hall of Famer Steve Largent. Baldwin is the only player of the the trio to have signed with Seattle as an undrafted rookie.

Baldwin was the recipient of one of Wilson’s three touchdown passes, in what was also a strong performance for Seattle’s quarterback (more on that here).

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