SEATTLE — This time around, the Seattle Seahawks didn’t need a miraculous run from Marshawn Lynch to beat the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs.
They just needed Marshawn to be Marshawn, which on Saturday meant 28 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns to key a 23-15 victory that sends the Seahawks to the NFC championship game.
This performance didn’t include anything as spectacular as the 67-yard touchdown run that clinched a playoff win three years ago — though a 31-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run was pretty impressive — but it was every bit as important on a day when the weather made throwing the ball a tough task for two of the game’s best quarterbacks. “I think it’s pretty much the same as always,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said when asked to rank Lynch’s performance among his best in Seattle. “He battles every week, and when you give him chances, he makes plays. He’s had such a consistent run for us for three years now. … He just continues to crank it out for us. You have to love his last touchdown run though, that was maybe Beastmode II. It was a cool way to end that game and give us the chance and the score we needed to put it away.”
Lynch also gave the Seahawks their only first-half touchdown, scoring on a 15-yard TD run to give the Seahawks seven points after a Saints fumble. That run featured a classic Lynch moment, when he began strutting into the end zone from a couple yards out despite the pesky little detail that cornerback Corey White was still trying to tackle him.
Of course, trying to tackle Lynch and actually doing it are two very different things.
“I don’t run to get tackled,” Lynch said.
Lynch, who began talking to the media last week following a fine from the NFL for not doing so — that $50,000 fine is being held in abeyance so long as he keeps talking through the postseason — still isn’t saying a lot, but his game spoke plenty loud Saturday.
And Lynch’s big game was good for Seattle not only because it helped them advance in the playoffs, it also, along with his Week 17 performance, serves as an encouraging sign going forward. In five games prior to Seattle’s regular season finale, Lynch never gained more than 72 yards and never averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry. Against St. Louis in the regular-season finale, he had 97 yards averaging 4.2 per carry, and on Saturday he had 140 yards and a robust 5.0 yard-per-carry average.
“He got to rockin’ today,” said fullback Michael Robinson. “Man he was having fun, he was dancing, all that stuff. That’s what you want to see out of the man. You want the man happy, trust me. … You want him angry running, but you want him happy about what’s happening.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.