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Teammates of the Week: The Russell Wilson - Marshawn Lynch connection

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It's cliche to say, but Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are the heart and soul of the Seahawks' offense. Not only in leadership, identity, and personality, though obviously those things are huge - Lynch's physicality sets the tone for the entire team, even the defense, and Wilson's confidence and poise is infectious - but these are two guys that the offense literally runs through. If Lynch isn't touching the football, it's because Wilson is throwing it, and if Wilson isn't throwing, it's usually Lynch receiving the handoff. It's obvious, but I do feel the need to point it out - Wilson and Lynch are receiving the vast majority of time with the football in any given game, so having two players of that caliber getting so many touches is a big deal.

Seattle scored four touchdowns on offense last Sunday. Three of them involved Russell Wilson either handing off to Marshawn Lynch or throwing it to him. Despite being sort of the standard fare for the Seahawks, these three plays illustrate how exceedingly important two players, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, are to this Seahawks' offense.

To the tape!

1-4-MIN 4 (:01 1st Quarter) M.Lynch right guard for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Marshawn Lynch got 'his eyes' back when Michael Robinson returned to the Seahawks and while I'm sure there are tons of variables involved, it's probably not totally coincidental that the rushing offense has been jolted to life since RealRob was re-signed.

On this particular play, I think you can see the interplay between Lynch and Robinson in action. This is a wide-zone look to the left - all the linemen, at the snap, move left, and the idea is to either give Lynch the opportunity to get outside in that direction, or make the offense flow too far in response, thus opening up a cutback. In this case, it's the latter.

The Vikings flow with the direction of the play very quickly, getting five defenders in the box almost immediately. Robinson changes course after only two steps, deciding the outside is no good, and Lynch follows his eyes. Robinson immediate instinct to cut up into the weeds turns out to be totally correct, and Lynch uses a great block on the backside by Zach Miller to find the endzone.


This is a classic zone run from I-formation - get the defense flowing one way, cut it back up field.


3-1-MIN 1 (6:31 2nd Quarter) M.Lynch right tackle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.

This one-yard score comes in Seattle's 'jumbo' 3TE set. Mike Rob sets a nice lead block on LB Chad Greenway, but the impressive part of this play, in my eyes, is Lynch's subtle 'sell move' to the outside, which tricks #20 into thinking he's going to bounce it around the edge.

This is one of Lynch's biggest strengths as a runner and one of the things that's least talked about. In the open field, you very often see Lynch set up defensive backs and linebackers by faking inside/outside then juking to the opposite - this is why he runs with a squatty, halting 'rocker-step' style of gait - and why he's so dangerous once he's out of the briar patch.


Beautiful. It's only one yard, but we shouldn't overlook how sick of a run it was.


1-6-MIN 6 (13:22 4th Quarter) R.Wilson pass short middle to M.Lynch for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

This play is more Wilson than Lynch, but they both make really nice plays here. Wilson talked about this touchdown after the game and mentioned that he quickly went through his reads but kept Lynch's little leak route over the middle in the back of his mind.

When he scrambled outside the pocket and two defenders closed on him, he did a little 2nd baseman flip to Lynch, who was perfectly aware that Wilson might see him there.

Because Lynch 'laid it up' after making the catch and because I love making basketball analogies, this play really reminded me of a point guard driving into the paint. After juking a defender, (Chris Paul, we'll say) draws the attention of two or three big men down low that don't take kindly to runts coming into their area, and then when they converge to swat the sh*t out of this audacious little dude coming into their paint, he drops a little bounce pass through traffic to his power forward on the post for an easy bucket.


So now we have baseball and basketball analogies for this play. By the way, I kind of like the Chris Paul - Russell Wilson comparison. John Stockton probably works pretty well too. Wilson does tuck his t-shirts into mesh shorts, so... Anyway, watch it again:


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