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Lynch coming back for seconds
During the at-times giddy locker room scene that followed Sunday’s home opener, Michael Robinson was explaining why Marshawn Lynch was able to rush for 100 of his 122 yards in the second half.
“You might get pumped up to hit 24 (Lynch) in the first quarter and he might get three yards,” Robinson, the team’s Pro Bowl fullback, said after the 27-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys that was more impressive – and dare we say dominating – than even the lopsided score indicated.
“But in that fourth quarter, you really don’t want to hit him. He gets stronger. Our offensive line gets stronger.”
Across the locker room at CenturyLink Field, defensive tackle Alan Branch was nodding and smiling – even without knowing exactly what Robinson was talking about. Branch knows all about trying to tackle No. 24. He played against Lynch in 2010, Lynch’s first season with the Seahawks and Branch’s last as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.
“I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, but just the way he was saying it, I knew he must be talking about Marshawn,” Branch said Tuesday, when the players were in for meetings and conditioning between off days because this week’s game is on Monday night against the Green Bay Packers.
“When Marshawn gets those feet moving …” Branch continued before stopping to shake his head. “When you put your weight on a normal back, you just kind of drag them down. He’s not that guy. He’s definitely going to pump his feet. So you’ve got to gang tackle him. You’re not going to make a tackle just by yourself because he’s got so much leverage and he can cut on a dime and get back to full stride.”
The proof is in the numbers Lynch is putting up. After getting those 22 yards on 10 first-half carries on Sunday, with a long run of seven, Lynch broke a 16-yarder on the first play of the second half. On an eight-play, 90-yard scoring drive later in the quarter, Lynch had a 36-yarder.
In the fourth quarter, when the Seahawks drove 88 yards in 12 plays, Lynch went for five, six, seven and the final three yards for the touchdown.
Although his half-by-half rushing efforts were closer in the season-opening loss to the Cardinals – 40 yards on 10 first-half carries, 45 on 11 second-half carries – last season Lynch ran for 621 of his career-high 1,204 yards and seven of his career-best 12 rushing TDs in the second half.
It’s by design, and designed to wear opposing defenses down as the Seahawks continue to pound away with Lynch.
“I don’t think we really changed that much,” center Max Unger said when asked about Lynch’s half-by-half totals against the Cowboys. “It was just kind of getting our act together and figuring out what we wanted to do against their defense.
“And the more touches Marshawn gets the more effective he is.”
Frank Omiyale, who started at left tackle against the Cowboys for a bruise-kneed Russell Okung, said the Seahawks were just doing things the Tom Cable way. Omiyale also played for the Seahawks’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach when both were with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.
“It’s what Cable preaches, ‘Hey, we’re going to get two, we’re going to get three.’ As long as we don’t get negative runs, we’re going to just keep pounding and those runs of five and eight are going to come,” Omiyale said. “That’s definitely the way it played out this week.”
And it doesn’t hurt that the Seahawks are playing this way with Lynch leading the way.
“I’ve been around some great backs – Warrick Dunn in Atlanta and (Matt) Forte in Chicago – but I’ve never been around a back like Marshawn,” Omiyale said. “So I’m definitely glad to be a part of it.”