In the heat of the moment, plenty of people are calling Marshawn Lynch’s career-best 79-yard touchdown run Sunday the best run of his career. It certainly was another unbelievable effort by Beast Mode, but those people apparently have short memories.
While Lynch’s cutback dash past and through the Arizona defense was a sick run, especially for a guy who had a queasy stomach early in the game, it was only his second-best run ever. His 67-yard Beast Quake run against New Orleans nearly four years ago still stands as the superlative play of his career.
That is not to diminish the Beastly beauty of this latest run, which was remarkably similar to the one that sealed Seattle’s upset win in the 2010 playoffs. On both runs, he started left, cut back right to the sideline and then knocked down a defensive back (or two) on his way to the end zone. And he also finished each run with a satisfying backward dive into the end zone.
So why is the Beast Quake better? He broke eight tackles and the backs of the Saints, putting the Hawks up 40-30 with 3:22 left in their upset of the defending champs in Pete Carroll’s first season in Seattle.
This one was a close second, though. It came in a significant game against a great defense on a night Lynch had fought through stomach turmoil. Call it the Dry Heave Weave, the Puke ‘n’ Juke or just plain Sick.
Here’s how Lynch’s Desert Storm unfolded:
He ran left behind blocks by tight end Luke Willson (who had his own spectacular game) and guard J.R. Sweezy, cut back to the right off a block by Paul Richardson and headed for the sideline with Arizona defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Rashad Johnson in hot pursuit.
They chased him for 20 yards before finally catching him — and had to rue the decision as Lynch bowled through both of them along the sideline and managed to stay in bounds.
Alex Okafor, who had slowed down his pursuit as it appeared Peterson and Johnson would drive Lynch out of bounds, tried belatedly to catch Lynch, but he whiffed on a diving tackle attempt at the 20-yard line and Lynch outran Antonio Cromartie and the rest of the Arizona pursuers.
Lynch capped it off with his familiar flourish — the twisting dive into the end zone (maybe that is why his back bugs him so much, or maybe it is therapeutic) — and the Hawks led 28-6.
Lynch finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries — a stark contrast to the measly 39-yard rushing day he had against Arizona four weeks ago.
It was the kind of monster-effort game that Lynch has long been known for — especially in Seattle — and makes you wonder how he and the team could possibly want to split up after this season.
His teammates — offensive and defensive — mobbed him in the end zone after the 79-yard bulldozer run, proving once again just how much he is loved on this team.
Carroll was so thrilled about Lynch’s play, he might have forgotten about the Beast Quake.
“I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve never seen a better run than Marshawn’s run tonight,” the coach said. “It reminded me of O.J. Simpson against Ohio State, I think, whatever the heck that was. Cutting back and finishing and all of that stuff. It was as good a run as I can ever remember seeing. It was so much fun to watch that.”