By Chris Cluff
Marshawn Lynch, RB #24
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Experience: 6 years
It took three quarters for the Seahawks to figure it out, but when they did, Marshawn Lynch went Beast Mode once more.
At the start of the fourth quarter Sunday against the Jets, Lynch broke off a 17-yard run off left guard. The Seahawks scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Sidney Rice on the next play, giving them a 21-7 lead. On the next drive, Lynch burst off left tackle for a 15-yard gain and then broke tackles on an eight-yard touchdown dash that was called back for holding. The Seahawks ended up scoring anyway, on Golden Tate’s 23-yard throw to Rice.
Up 28-7, the Seahawks wanted to run out the final seven minutes, and Lynch got the drive going with one of his patented 18-yard runs. That was Lynch’s final carry, giving him 124 yards on 27 carries. He had just 39 yards in the first half and also lost a fumble, but he came alive in the second half to go over 1,000 yards for the second straight year. It also was the fourth straight game he had rushed for at least 100 yards, tying the team record set by Shaun Alexander during the 2005 season.
“I think people take for granted that he’s going to run for 100 yards a game,” left guard John Moffitt told reporters, per The Seattle Times. “But what they don’t realize is that sometimes when we’re not set up the best in our blocking schemes, he still makes yards off of it. When things aren’t going exactly right, he’s right there. You’ve got to appreciate that. The effort he gives and the way he runs is really phenomenal.
“I’m not saying that he’s not a highlight-film runner because he has runs that are amazing, but he’s the guy who’s going to get 5 yards every time. Four yards. Five yards. Four yards. He’s always going forward and always driving his legs. It’s really awesome the way he plays.”
Lynch now has run for 1,946 yards in his last 19 games and is on pace for a career-high 1,608 yards this season — quite a switch from the 836 rushing yards he had in his first 18 games in Seattle.
The Seahawks’ 2010 trade for Lynch, in which they send fourth- and fifth-round picks to Buffalo, has looked better with every carry over the last year. And Lynch is earning the $31 million contract he signed in March.
Lynch, who reportedly bought his linemen Gucci watches after he received his big contract last spring, congratulated teammates on helping him reach 1,000 yards for the second straight year.
“I told him, ‘No, congratulations to you,’” fullback Mike Robinson told reporters, per the News Tribune. “It just shows what type of guy he is.”
Lynch didn’t have anything to say about it. Offensive tackle Russell Okung said, “Marshawn would rather speak with his actions and speak with his pads. And he tends to do that pretty well.”
Lynch led the NFL in rushing in the final nine games last season as he became known far and wide for his crush on Skittles. He is second in the league behind Adrian Peterson this season and has been running under the radar, for the most part, breaking tackles all along the way.
Center Max Unger told The Seattle Times, “That guy makes so many yards on his own. You can’t ask for more out of a running back. I can’t tell you, the amount of hits (Lynch takes) and the difficulty of running the ball in the NFL and to have a guy like that, you’ve really, really, really got to support him.”
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.