The national media is going all Beast Mode over Marshawn Lynch’s game-saving performance Saturday in a 23-15 NFC Divisional playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Lynch rushed for 140 yards on 28 carries and scored both touchdowns for the Seahawks, including a clinching 31-yard score with 2:40 left in the game that brought back rumblings of his epic 67-yard run three years before in the playoff against the Saints. Here is video of the two runs. Though not as impressive as his earlier run, which became an instant YouTube classic and was dubbed “Beast Quake” because the crowd’s reaction at CenturyLink Field registered on seismographs, scientists said after the game that early indications are that seismograph readings exceeded those from his earlier run.
The national media was out in force Saturday for the game and is weighing in on Lynch’s performance and an entertaining YouTube video even is out.
First the video, called “Feed the Beast” which was posted in comments on one of our Seattle Times stories. It includes a rap song of the same name that is said to be the debut release by Northwest recording artist GooPah, who said to be from Monroe. The song can be downloaded here.
Here’s national media reaction from The Seattle Times and national media.
The weather conditions turned this game into a street fight, a game of will above skill. So it figures that Lynch, who is addicted to crashing into people, was the standout.
His fingerprints are all over the Seahawks’ 23-15 victory, mostly because his hand had to land somewhere after all those vicious stiff arms. Beast Mode, the soft-spoken, hard-charging running back, set a franchise playoff record with 140 rushing yards on 28 carries. He scored the Seahawks’ two touchdowns. When the game got close in the fourth quarter, when Seattle couldn’t afford to be conservative in the bad weather anymore, Lynch sealed the win with a 31-yard dash that local seismologists anticipate will register greater than his famous Beast Quake run three years ago against the Saints.
In 2011, Lynch’s 67-yard, earth-moving rumble clinched an epic Seahawks upset and symbolized that the soft Seahawks of the past were in the process of a rugged makeover.
This Lynch run? It was merely the latest confirmation that the Seahawks are not the team you want to see in a dark alley — or in a Biblical storm.
“I don’t run to get tackled,” Lynch said.
Lynch’s performance couldn’t have come at a better time. The Seahawks use the run to set up their passing game, and entering Saturday, Lynch had gone six straight games without reaching 100 yards. He had not gone more than three consecutive games in a season without reaching that mark since 2011, so questions of “What’s wrong?” were simmering beneath the surface.
Lynch answered resoundingly Saturday. He consistently showed great vision, patiently waiting before planting his outside foot and turning upfield. He did an excellent job with cutback runs, getting clean through openings or running through off-balance defenders who had over-pursued.
Next week Lynch will play in his first NFC Championship Game, against the winner of Sunday’s 49ers-Panthers game. He gained 43 yards on 17 carries in a season-opening win at Carolina, and rushed for 98 and 72 yards in games against San Francisco this season. The long-range weather forecast is for morning clouds and afternoon sun, not that it matters. If there’s one certainty, it’s that Lynch will get plenty of opportunities to make the game his own.
Marshawn Lynch‘s name rarely comes up when putting together a short list of the best running backs in the NFL.
Lynch is just a throwback — a punishing bulldozer who goes through opponents rather than around them. Lynch was in vintage Beast Mode against the New Orleans Saints in Saturday’s divisional playoffs, wearing down an otherwise game Rob Ryan defense in a 23-15 win at CenturyLink Field.
Lynch finished with 28 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Of those yards, 108 came between the tackles, according to ESPN. He did it on a day when the weather was brutal, the passing game was non-existent and Percy Harvin‘s return was temporary. Pete Carroll needed Lynch more than ever, and his star delivered.
Apparently, all that exhaustive talking to the media the past two weeks didn’t tire out Marshawn Lynch. He carried the load all day, rushing for 140 yards on 28 carries and scoring two touchdowns, a 15-yard run in the second quarter and a 31-yard scamper that put the game away late in the fourth quarter.
When he got around the edge, there was no one for Marshawn Lynch to hit. Directly ahead was open field, the end zone and the Seattle Seahawks’ place in the NFC championship game.
Once again, Lynch overpowered the New Orleans Saints in the postseason.
‘‘That was maybe ‘Beast Mode II.’ I don’t know but it was a very cool way to end that game and give us the score that we needed,’’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
We’ve long beaten the “running backs are fungible” drum but we feel confident in writing that Marshawn Lynch is on the very short list of exceptions. He put the sputtering Seahawks offense on his back and still managed to run through the Saints‘ defense all afternoon.
Lynch had 69 yards in the first half and finished with 140, including a 31-yard fourth-quarter run that should have put the game out of reach earlier, but a late botched onside kick gave the Saints one last chance.
Turns out, that didn’t matter and now the Seahawks, thanks largely to Lynch’s ability to get into the end zone, are headed to the NFC Championship game.
On that final run, he had a stiff-arm against Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis that was typical of his tough running style.
“It’s a part of the game,” said Lynch, who spent a couple of minutes with the media after the game only because he’s obligated to do so.
Lynch was reprimanded by the NFL this past week for avoiding the media all season. His postgame answers were all short and soft-spoken, and after a couple of minutes, he said, “Thank you, I appreciate it” and ducked out of the locker room.
His teammates were more than happy to talk about him.
“That’s what makes him one of the best, if not the best, running back in the National Football League,” Russell Wilson said.
Lynch, despite creating more playoff tremors against the Saints, had a quiet regular season by his thundering standards. He picked the best time to power back up to ‘Beast Mode.’
It had been six long games since we saw his full wrath. Before Saturday, Lynch’s most recent 100-yard performance was on Nov. 10, Week 10 at Atlanta. After putting up such games in 11 of 18 total games in 2012, he was just 3 of 16 this season. The much-needed boom against New Orleans had less to do with eating Skittles and a lot more to do with his blocking.
A big reason was the reshuffling the Seahawks had to do up front because of injuries. Left tackle Russell Okung missed eight games and right tackle Breno Giacomini missed seven. Center Max Unger was out for three and right guard J.R. Sweezy was out for one. They also changed things up again at left guard for the playoffs, as versatile backup Michael Bowie started there.
We’re accustomed to seeing impressive rushing performances week-in and week-out, but these games are decidedly more difficult to find in the postseason. This was Lynch’s third playoff game with over 130 yards rushing; Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith achieved that feat only twice, according to ESPN Stats and Info, and only Terrell Davis (five) and Thurman Thomas (four) did it more times than Lynch has. That’s good company to keep.
Without that last score, the result of the game — and the NFC playoff picture — could have been different. The 12th man was loud on Saturday, but it was the 11th man — Marshawn Lynch — who made the difference.
Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.