When legendary Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch returned to the NFL to play for the Oakland Raiders, one of my biggest concerns was that he would look like a shell of his “Beast Mode” self. At 31 years old, having not played at all in 2016, and spending much of 2015 injured, I hoped that he still had something left in the tank.
Through the end of November, Lynch’s numbers were decidedly pedestrian. He only racked up 457 yards rushing on 123 carries, a paltry 3.72 yards per rush, not too far off from his 2015 numbers. Against the Denver Broncos, Lynch carried the ball 26 times for just 67 yards (and a touchdown), with no rushes for longer than 7 yards.
Then December happened. Beast Mode came back.
From week 13-17, Lynch gained 434 yards on the ground on just 84 carries, with two touchdowns scored.
His 5.17 yards per carry from week 13-17 ranked 2nd among all qualified rushers, with Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley besting him by seven-tenths of a yard. Lynch was also 4th in rushing yards, behind only Kenyan Drake, Gurley, and Kareem Hunt. He notched a pair of 100-yard performances -- his only ones all season — against the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers. His 101 yards on 19 carries against the Chargers saw him eclipse the 10,000 yard mark for his wonderful career.
Lynch finished the season with 207 carries for 891 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 20 catches for 151 yards. Believe it or not, Lynch finished 9th in both DVOA and DYAR among qualified running backs, ahead of the likes of Leonard Fournette, Jordan Howard, and Devonta Freeman.
It should be noted that Derek Carr turned in a slew of mediocre outings when Lynch performed better. Evidently Marshawn Lynch can only make Russell Wilson a good quarterback, but he’s not a miracle worker.
Oakland obviously didn’t even come close to making the playoffs, so there’s a new coaching staff in town. It looks as if head coach Jon Gruden wants Lynch to shoulder more of the running game heading into next season, something that often wasn’t the case this past season.
The Seahawks will (hopefully) see Lynch again on October 14th, as Seattle and Oakland will play a regular season matchup in London, England.
Is Marshawn Lynch a future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer?
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Damn right he is!