This is the NFL’s 100th season, so they’ve spent this entire year doing countdowns of great and otherwise memorable league moments, players, characters, and plays in league history.
A few days ago, the NFL released its 100 greatest rushing plays of all-time, and you’ll all be delighted to know what is #1. I don’t need to tell you what play it is, but since I already wrote it in the headline, I’ll say it again. Marshawn Lynch’s “Beastquake” against the New Orleans Saints tops the lot, and I can’t disagree.
The context of this run is what really should establish Beastquake as #1. As you all know, these were the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks, heavy underdogs in their own stadium against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. They had a 34-20 lead in the 3rd quarter and the Saints were steadily creeping back into the game. Punting on this drive would’ve put the Seahawks at serious risk of squandering a famous upset.
In comes Marshawn Lynch, whom up to that point had just 64 yards on 18 carries (and no rushes longer than 10 yards). He broke two tackles near the line of scrimmage, shed Darren Sharper and Akin Ayodele, dumptrucked Jabari Greer, stiff-armed Super Bowl hero Tracy Porter back to New Orleans, high-stepped Alex Brown’s desperation ankle tackle attempt, hopped over the frequently burned Roman Harper, and then told the entire Saints franchise to grab a hold of his nether regions. In effect, it was a game-winning touchdown to record one of the most iconic upsets in NFL history, and it was the launchpad for Pete Carroll and John Schneider building a popular, winning franchise.
Damn right it’s the best rushing play the NFL has ever seen, and I don’t think it will ever be topped.
By the way, Lynch’s Beastquake 2.0 against the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 is #8.