SEATTLE — As always, Marshawn Lynch was a man of few words after Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field.
But against the St. Louis Rams, the play of Seattle’s burly, bruising running back spoke plenty in a 20-13 Seahawks victory.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Lynch rambled for 100 yards on 18 carries to push his season total 1,590 yards, the third-best mark in franchise history and the most for a Seahawks player not named Shaun Alexander.
It was also the best single-season rushing mark of Lynch’s six-year NFL career, topping his 1,204 yards of a year ago.
As is his custom, Lynch begged off all interviews after the game. Teammates, though, were more than willing to speak up on his behalf.
“You just can’t say enough good stuff about Marshawn,” said Seahawks center Max Unger. “He’s a hell of a football player.”
Lynch is so good, Unger added with a chuckle, that Seattle’s offensive linemen “just kind of try to stay out of his way.”
Every time Lynch touches the ball, Unger went on, “he runs really, really hard. And when a guy does that you just want to lay it all out on the line for him.”
As much as the Seahawks have benefitted from the passing and scrambling of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, a power running game has been a big part of the team’s late-season push to a playoff berth, a stretch that resulted in seven wins in the last eight games.
“It’s definitely been a point (of emphasis) for us,” Unger said, “and we were able to do that with a little bit of success this year. And obviously he helps out.”
Lynch came into the game needing one rushing touchdown to match his single-season high of 12, which he set last year. And he appeared to get it with a 4-yard dash around left end late in the game to put the Seahawks in front 20-13 — or so it seemed.
The official nearest to the play signaled a touchdown, but a video review determined that Lynch stepped out of bounds at the 1-yard line just before touching the pylon. Wilson scored with a 1-yard run on the next play for Seattle’s go-ahead TD.
Like the rest of the Seahawks, Lynch started slowly this season. He went over 100 yards just twice in the first six games, but then topped that mark eight times in the team’s final 10 games. His total of 10 100-yard games is one shy of Alexander’s team record set in 2005.
Alexander has the top two single-season rushing totals in Seahawks history with 1,880 yards in 2005 and 1,696 yards in 2004. The only other Seattle running back to go over 1,500 yards is Chris Warren with 1,545 in 1994.
“That kid is unbelievable,” Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said of Lynch. “It just seems like he gets stronger as the game goes on, and that’s unusual in this league.”
Though many NFL teams have a pass-first offensive mentality, “it’s good to see that dominant backs can still be relevant in this league,” Robinson added. “And this time of the year, you still have to be able to run the ball.”