Best of Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch runs Seattle to Super Bowl
The Seahawks offense begins and ends with Marshawn Lynch. If Marshawn is going well, the Seahawks are going well. Since Seattle is playing in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, I think it's safe to say "Beast Mode" had another big year.
Lynch registered 301 carries for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns (tied for a career-high) during the regular season. He's continued to pound the ground in the postseason, wracking up 249 yards and 3 touchdowns on 50 carries in wins over the Saints and 49ers.
The best part about Marshawn Lynch -- he's not just a one dimensional player. Lynch also plays a key role as a receiver out of the Seahawks backfield, catching 36 passes for a career-high 316 yards and 2 touchdowns this year.
While some of the Seahawks like to play big and talk big, Lynch prefers to let his actions speak for themselves. He produced too many highlights to count this season, but I've picked out the best of the bunch and listed them below.
Dominate the Saints
Marshawn Lynch had some great individual performances this season, but his best highlights happened in the postseason. With rain dumping and wind gusting at CenturyLink Field, Lynch manhandled the Saints defense in the divisional playoffs on January 11th. He carried the ball 28 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The best run of the bunch was an impressive 31-yard 'Beast Mode' moment that put Seattle on top 23-8 in the 4th quarter.
Spark Against San Francisco
The Seahawks offense was struggling to muster much offense against the 49ers in the NFC Championship on January 19th -- until Marshawn Lynch came to life. Trailing 10-3 early in the third quarter, Lynch went "Beast Mode" on a thunderous 40-yard touchdown run to even the game at 10. That spark helped launch Seattle to a 23-17 victory and a spot in Super Bowl XLVIII. Lynch finished the game with 109 yards on 22 carries.
Let's just say the 49ers didn't like to face Marshawn Lynch this season. Long before his huge run in the NFC Championship, Lynch single-handedly crushed San Francisco on September 15th in Seattle. "Beast Mode" carried the ball 28 times for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also snagging 3 passes for 37 yards and a score. All three of Lynch's touchdowns came in the second half, helping to life the Seahawks to a 29-3 victory.
Three Touchdowns -- Again
One three touchdown performance in a season is impressive, but Marshawn Lynch actually did it twice. Squaring off against the Vikings on November 17th, Lynch powered in for a 4-yard score as time expired in the first quarter, pushed across the goal line on a 1-yard touchdown run in the second, and then caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson in the fourth. The result -- a 41-20 victory against Minnesota.
Two TDs Against Titans
Locked in a much tighter game than expected against Tennessee on October 13th, Marshawn Lynch put up some of his best numbers of the season, helping to lift the Seahawks to a 20-13 win. Lynch registered 21 carries for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns (the only person to score points in the game for Seattle aside from kicker Steven Hauschka) and also tacked on 4 catches for 78 yards, including a 55-yard reception to open the fourth quarter.
There was no bigger stretch for Marshawn Lynch this season than what he put together against the Buccaneers on November 3rd, and then the Falcons on November 10th. I'll start with the game against Tampa Bay: Lynch had 21 carries for 125 yards in a 23-20 win. Against Atlanta, Lynch ran 24 times for a season-high 145 yards and a score. In the two games combined, "Beast Mode" averaged an incredible 6-yards per carry (his average over the entire season was 4.2 yards).
Hero In Houston
The Seahawks had to get out of some tight spots this season, especially in Houston on September 29th. Trailing 20-3 at halftime, Seattle rallied for a 23-20 overtime win. The Seahawks can thank Marshawn Lynch for most of their offense in that game. He ran 17 times for 98 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown, while also catching 3 passes for a team-high 45 yards. His 143 all-purpose yards were more than half of Seattle's total yards (270) that day.
The Seahawks had no problem crushing the Giants 23-0 at MetLife Stadium on December 15th, but Marshawn Lynch had trouble running the ball that game. He had 16 carries for just 47 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown. What he couldn't do on the ground, Lynch made up for in the passing attack. He caught 6 passes for a team-high 75 yards, including a 30-yard reception that helped set up Steven Hauschka for a field goal at the end of the half.