For opponents of the Seattle Seahawks, perhaps the only thing (and one uses “thing” advisedly) scarier than Marshawn Lynch is the prospect of Lynch running as part of a top-quality offense.
The raw (“raw” also applies to the Hawk running back) numbers from Seattle’s nationally telecast 31-14 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday (Dec. 1) indicate just an 18-yard offensive dominance over the visiting club. Indeed, the Eagles’ vanquished running back LeSean McCoy chirped after the game that, while he respects the 5-7 Seahawks, he still considers 4-8 Philly to be a “far better” team.
McCoy, evidently not a numbers analyst, had 84 yards on 17 carries. Lynch? He had a — here it comes — beastly 148 on 22 carries: 6.7 per tote.
Here again, imagine The Beast (as Lynch’s many fans prefer) behind a line that isn’t patched up with players too young, too hurt, or too confused by play configurations. Speculate about Lynch, at the tender age of 25, in a backfield with a mobile, healthy, experienced quarterback instead of Tarvaris Jackson, who can’t pass with proficiency because of the pectoral-muscle ailment that has plagued him for weeks.
Against the Eagles, Lynch started early and stayed late. His 15-yard “run” that started the Seahawks scoring looked more like a human tsunami. Minutes later he veered to the right out of the backfield and wound up with a 40-yard touchdown. Halfway through the third quarter Lynch had 25 yards on four carries that set up Jackson’s 11-yard scoring pass to emerging threat Golden Tate.
In short: He’s playing like the proverbial man on a mission, and Seahawk managers are eminently aware that the mission could lead to a lucrative — and well-earned — new contract for the free agent to be.
Meanwhile, Hawk fans continue to marvel about the team’s nagging inconsistency. A coworker headed to Thursday’s game was asked why she was so keen on supporting a team that blithely gave away an apparent must-win opportunity by blowing a 10-point lead Sunday (Nov. 27) at home against Washington. She shrugged and said that, while she always hopes the Hawks win, going on four decades of being an eyewitness has led her to conclude that they’ll be disappointing now and then.
Thursday’s game started on just such a disappointing note. The not-yet-great Tate evidently wasn’t aware that he was part of the starting line-up, which accounted for the home team trying to start its first possession with just 10 men on the field. Tate is playing because of another key injury, which will keep Sidney Rice on the sidelines the rest of the season. Later, Tate made up for being errant with his acrobatic touchdown grab, perhaps the Hawks’ most aesthetically pleasing pass play of the season.
The Seahawks also benefited by the performance of another improbable defensive hero. Instead of Red Bryant, this time it was linebacker David Hawthorne, who positioned himself for a fourth-quarter pick-off of a Vince Young pass and rambled 77 yards for his team’s final score.
The locals benefit from a 10-day stretch before welcoming conference foe St. Louis. “Welcoming” is the key word. The 2-9 Rams represent a schedule break for just about any foe. The Hawks, with five wins and perhaps seven by season’s end, already are just mediocre enough to have removed themselves from any reasonable chance at getting one of the heralded quarterbacks in next year’s draft.
So what’s left to excite fans? A very scary thing wearing number 24.