Friday Faceoff: 2009 Seattle Seahawks Offensive MVP Is RB Justin Forsett

Scotty KimberlyAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2010

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Justin Forsett #20 of the Seattle Seahawks  runs against the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field on September 13, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

For anyone unfamiliar with the Friday Faceoff , please read the overview found here .

This week's prompt: Name the 2009 Seattle Seahawks' Offensive MVP.

Trying to name an MVP for the 2009 Seattle Seahawks’ offense is like trying to name the smartest girl in the Miss Teen South Carolina Beauty Pageant … Sure, there may be a right choice, but it’s not going to be ideal.

The 2009 Seattle Seahawks offense finished 25th in the NFL in points per game (17.5), 25th in yards per play (4.9), 26th in turnover margin (-8, which has some reflection on the defense as well), and… drum roll please… dead last in average time of possession. 

The ranks could be worse, as 25th still puts the Seahawks above seven teams in a certain category, but consider the implications of these ranks.

The Kansas City Chiefs scored more points per game, the Washington Redskins averaged more yards per play, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a better turnover margin. Sure, the ‘Hawks consistently bested the Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, and St. Louis Rams, but if that’s all the ‘Hawks can outperform, the offense is in a dire state.

From the wreckage of this 2009 catastrophe came an unusual offensive MVP: backup running back and former seventh-round pick Justin Forsett .

I’ve seen other choices at this spot already (two articles have named TE John Carlson as the offensive MVP), but, in my opinion, no other player gave this offense as much of a spark as Justin Forsett in 2009. 

Season Production

Forsett finished the 2009 campaign with 114 rushes for 619 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. Additionally, Forsett hauled in 41 receptions for 350 yards and one more touchdown. 

Forsett's 5.4 yards per carry was good for fourth in the NFL, and his reception and receiving yard totals landed him in the top 15 for running backs in 2009.

Remember, this was accomplished by a running back who served as backup for the majority of 2009.

These numbers are even more impressive, however, when viewed in terms of how efficient he was every time he touched the ball.


Quantity-driven statistics, such as yards and touchdowns, can be misinterpreted at times. For example, Julius Jones ran for more yards than Justin Forsett last season. That statement, however, leaves out the fact that Jones did so with over sixty more carries !

Because Forsett's number of touches paled in comparison to other NFL running backs, his stat-of-the-year was yards-per-carry. 

Forsett averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2009, which was good for fourth best in the NFL, behind only Felix Jones (5.9), Chris Johnson (5.6), and Jamaal Charles (5.6).

To put this in an even more impressive spotlight, consider that Forsett’s 5.4 yards per carry were better than Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Adrian Peterson

Sure, Forsett averaged more yards with fewer touches, but it is indisputable that averaging 5.4 yards per carry is top-tier performance (not to mention that Forsett averaged 5.4 yards per carry without an offensive line ).

Full Workload Performance

If one wanted to assess Forsett on quantitative statistics, such as yards and touchdowns, instead of his production per touch, I propose that the sample size to be assessed would need to be limited.

Most running backs will tell you that unless they receive consistent touches (i.e. the majority of carries) it is difficult to both establish a groove running the ball and break big plays.

In 2009, Forsett received double-digit carries in only four games. As one could predict, Forsett fared considerably better in those games.

Justin Forsett averaged 15.75 carries, 99.25 yards, 6.30 yards per carry, and 0.75 touchdowns in the games in which he received 10 or more touches: 

Project that over a 16 game season, and you're looking at 252 carries for over 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns!

Before anyone cries out, "No way he could maintain that pace!" or, "A full-time workload would wear him down!" understand that I'm not saying he would do this, just that he could .

Plainly stated, his production when he received 10 or more touches was equivalent to a 1,500-yard running back, and that is elite production.

Could Forsett cut it as a full-time back? Maybe, maybe not, but he has certainly earned the right to be considered as a third-down back (think Kevin Faulk), especially considering his skills as a receiver. 

Could another player be chosen for MVP? Sure, but in my opinion Justin Forsett is the MVP of the 2009 Seattle Seahawks offense.

In a season mired with inefficiency, Justin Forsett provided the Seattle Seahawks something which they clearly lacked… Hope .