Marshawn Lynch rumbling toward big payday with Seahawks
The Seahawks haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher in the past five years but Marshawn Lynch looks like a sure bet to end the drought.
Seattle Times staff columnist
Marshawn Lynch ran right and found trouble, not that it mattered. Trapped in a glut of would-be tacklers and his own teammates, Lynch kept moving and pushing, moving and pushing, grinding as if his next meal depended upon it.
His will eventually led him to cut left, and then tackle Russell Okung scraped a defender off him. After 15 yards of exhilarating, unyielding effort, the Seahawks running back, aptly nicknamed Beast Mode, celebrated in the end zone.
It was, you know, the usual.
He only broke six tackles. He didn't even cause an earthquake this time.
"I thought he was done on that carry," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I was as surprised as anyone."
It's safe to say the Seahawks finally have a running game again. And it's impossible to overstate the importance of Lynch in the resurrection.
Despite playing with an upset stomach, Lynch rushed for a season-high 148 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks' 31-14 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday night. It was his fourth triple-digit performance in the past five games. He has run for at least 88 yards in six of the past seven games. Barring injury, Lynch, who has 854 rushing yards, seems certain to become the Seahawks' first 1,000-yard running back since 2005, their Super Bowl season.
Really, there's just one thing left to be said regarding Lynch.
He will be a free agent after this season.
The Seahawks have begun the season with a different running back in each of the past five years, but they have found The One, and he's only 25 years old.
Not that Lynch will be making any public demands. The running back is quite shy. After the game, he answered one question and vanished. He disappeared from the media horde the same as he had during that remarkable 15-yard touchdown run.
He praised the offensive line, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and the entire team before looking to exit.
"We came out victorious," he said. "Everybody's happy. Now, we're onto our break. Thank you."
And he was gone. Strange, yet charmingly humble. That's Marshawn Lynch — a bundle of excellence and an oddity who has become an essential part of this team.
Yes, running backs are plentiful, and most have short careers. Yes, it's unwise to invest too much in a player whose value decreases with every hit. Yes, the Seahawks learned this harsh lesson with Shaun Alexander, who signed a mega contract after his 2005 MVP season and wound up being released two years later.
But Lynch is a different breed. He's way south of age 30. He doesn't have major injury concerns. Most important, he has chemistry with a young, rapidly improving offensive line, and unless his contract demands are outrageous, there's no reason to break up a good thing, especially since the Seahawks know how long it can take to fix a run game.
The Seahawks haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher in the past five years. It's the second-longest drought in the NFL. Only the Detroit Lions, who haven't had a running back reach quadruple digits since 2004, have struggled longer.
Do the Seahawks really want to start over again at running back? Since Alexander, the Seahawks have looked everywhere for production: Maurice Morris, Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett, Edgerrin James (remember?), Justin Forsett. They couldn't find an answer, partly because their offensive line was in disarray.
Now, they have promise. If Lynch's hide-and-seek touchdown didn't impress you, how did you like his 40-yard score? It was the perfect combination of blocking and explosive running.
"Man, unbelievable," fullback Michael Robinson said. "The guy blows my mind every time we step on the field."
As this season has progressed, Lynch has shown he's more than a grinder. He's making big plays. He's catching passes. He's turning the Seahawks into what the franchise wants to be: A run-dominant, ball-control offense.
To do that, the Seahawks have invested four high draft picks on offensive linemen since 2009, brought in O-line guru Tom Cable (after bringing in uber guru Alex Gibbs, who retired) and traded for Lynch.
The plan is working. All it requires now is experience and retention.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @Jerry_Brewer
|Making a habit of 100 yards|
|Marshawn Lynch has five 100-yard rushing games for the Seahawks, and four have come in the past month.|
|Jan. 8||Seahawks 41, Saints 36||19||131|
|Nov. 6||*Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13||23||135|
|Nov. 13||Seahawks 22, Ravens 17||32||109|
|Nov. 27||Redskins 23, Seahawks 17||24||111|
|Dec. 1||Seahawks 31, Eagles 14||22||148|
|*Only game of the five on the road.|
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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