Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch runs the ball against Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields during the second half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports photograph
They knew he was coming. No matter what the lead was, they knew he was getting the ball.
But they still could not stop him.
Once again, Marshawn Lynch bulldozed his way through Green Bay’s defense.
For some reason, it did not seem like he was having all that great of a day. Despite some big runs here and there, it did kind of seem he was relatively held in check for most drives.
Sure, he picked things up at the end, but when going back to the stats it is obvious that his relatively decent play was being overshadowed by the miscues across the rest of the team.
I went back to look to make sure, and there was definitely a trend happening:
January 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
1st Quarter: 2 carries, 6 yards
2nd Quarter: 7 carries, 31 yards
3rd Quarter: 8 carries, 43 yards
4th Quarter/OT: 8 carries, 77 yards
I was right in thinking that he did not accomplish much early; before halftime, he didn’t even reach 40 total yards and had one play (14 yard run) that was more than five yards.
He did begin to heat up in the third quarter, but it wasn’t until the fourth quarter where his play became obvious enough to take notice.
That’s where, as expected, you can clearly see Lynch got better as the game progressed. It isn’t a surprise either that as his play got stronger so did the team around him.
Once they went back to their strength (running), they were able to take control from the Green Bay defense that hadn’t allowed them a point until 2:09 remaining in the game.
Had they not had Lynch to fall back on for that energetic and emotional boost in the most critical of junctures, Seattle would have lost.
Because they did, he was able to bang through a worn-out defense that just wanted to hurry up and get out of there before … well, before what could have happened did happen.
If Seattle still decides to part ways with that man in the offseason, they are making an emphatically terrible decision. Running back may not be a premium position anymore, but he is one of the few that has an unfathomable extra gear that is key to his team’s ability to function at a frightening level.
*Sigh* … A guy can dream, right?
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