In his two games back with the team for which he starred from 2010 through 2015, Lynch has provided glimpses of the hard-charging style that earned him the nickname “Beast Mode.” While backing up starting running back Travis Homer, Lynch has had 18 total carries for 41 yards and two touchdowns, plus two catches for 25 yards.
The 33-year-old had just seven yards on six rushes in last week’s playoff win over the Eagles, but one of those was a touchdown run in which he shook off a hard shot from a Philadelphia defender and bulled his way through a couple more for the score. That game also featured him tossing aside an Eagles opponent with a vintage stiff-arm, at the end of a long gain off a short pass.
“He does bring an element that we love, and it’s that style and that toughness,” Carroll said of Lynch on Monday on a Seattle sports radio station. Chuckling at the recollection of Lynch’s stiff-arm and touchdown run, the coach added, “He’s got all of those elements that we love, so I think we’ll see more of him in the next couple of weeks.”
Lynch’s return has delighted Seahawks fans and players alike, given not only his on-field talents but his infectious personality. After helping the team win a Super Bowl and appear in another during his five-plus seasons in Seattle, Lynch retired in 2015, but he came back to play in 2017 and 2018 with his hometown Oakland Raiders.
His second season in silver and black was cut short by a groin injury, and Lynch was reported in April to be “not planning to play football again.” He certainly did not appear to be on the verge of another comeback when he was spotted outside the Raiders’ stadium Dec. 15 serving tequila shots to fans before the team’s final game in Oakland.
However, the Seahawks lost their top two running backs, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise, to season-ending injuries the following week. Given that the team had already lost another talented young back, Rashaad Penny, earlier in the season, it was in dire straits at the position, leading to the promotion of Homer, a rookie already on the roster, and the additions of Lynch and another former Seahawk, Robert Turbin.
Through a Week 17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and the win over the Eagles, Homer has led Lynch in snaps (94 to 41), touches (27-20) and yards (109-66), but Homer is a smaller back who might be better suited to change-of-pace and passing-down roles. Lynch has shown he can still be used as an effective battering ram, and whereas the Eagles boasted the NFL’s third-stingiest run defense this season, that area has been a weakness for the 23rd-ranked Packers.
“I think he’s doing great,” Carroll said of Lynch.
At a news conference later Monday, the coach told reporters, “Marshawn will play more this week. He’s ready to, and he’s had enough time with us. He feels confident about what he’s doing and the plan.”
“Give credit to Marshawn for the way he’s attacked this thing,” Carroll added, extolling the signing of Lynch as “such a positive experience” for his team. “He’s really going for it. He’s doing everything our fans would hope he would do. He’s trying to be everything in all aspects of it.
“He’s deserving of seeing some more reps.”