Tuesday in Hawkville: Marshawn Lynch as tempo-setter

Posted Nov 12, 2013

Marshawn Lynch always sets the tempo for the Seahawks’ offense. But in Sunday’s big win over the Falcons in Atlanta, the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back got it going even earlier than usual.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 12, when the players had their “off” day and the coaches were compiling the game plan for Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field:


That’s exactly what Marshawn Lynch always does for the Seahawks’ offense pretty much every week. But in Sunday’s 33-10 romp over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, the Beast Mode back seemed to get the beat going even earlier than usual.

On the Seahawks’ first possession, an 11-play, 48-yard drive to a field goal, Lynch touched the ball six times and produced 28 of those yards and two of the team’s three first downs.

Asked about Lynch’s early impact after the game, coach Pete Carroll seemed almost surprised at the question.

“Marshawn always sets the tempo for us,” he said. “So yeah, I agree with you. But that’s kind of how he is. He’s been playing so consistently, so aggressively.”

But Lynch’s second effort to gain 3 yards on a third-and-2 run and then running through an attempted tackle by safety William Moore on a third-and-4 reception to gain 9 yards were beastly even for Mr. Beast Mode.


“He’s a very confident player, and he does a great job playing in man coverage. He can play zone, but his strength is getting his arms on WRs in bump-and-run and disrupting routes.”

Herman Edwards, a former NFL coach and now ESPN analyst, in ranking Richard Sherman as the top cornerback in the league

Upon further review, Carroll offered Monday: “The idea is to make the defense move, make them move and get them in motion, and then he reads accordingly and takes advantage of the spacing that comes from that. And he does it all kinds of ways. He jumps over them sometimes. He breaks through them. He gets clear shots at it. He gives us a great variety of ways to get it done.”

Lynch finished with a season-high 145 rushing yards. He remains second in the NFL in rushing (871 yards) entering this week’s game against the Vikings. Lynch also is third in total yards (1,084) and first downs (55); and tied for ninth in scoring (48 points) among non-kickers.

But Lynch also had an arm in one of Russell Wilson’s two touchdown passes, as Wilson gave the ball to Lynch, who stopped and threw back to Wilson, who then launched a 43-yard scoring pass to Jermaine Kearse.

“You know Marshawn, for a guy that’s as big as he is, he can throw it pretty well,” Wilson said with a smile after the game when asked to evaluate Lynch the passer, rather than Lynch the runner.  “He threw a strike, I’ll say that. I wouldn’t call it a ball. He threw a strike – a little wobbly – where I could catch it and throw it deep to Jermaine.”


In the first 10 games, the team’s top pick in April’s NFL Draft had only slightly more carries (nine, for 37 yards) than he did games where he was inactive or did not play (seven). But Sunday, Michael almost doubled his season output by getting eight carries in the fourth quarter against the Falcons and gaining 33 yards.

“It was terrific to get him out there,” Carroll said. “We’ve been looking for a chance. We saw what we saw in preseason, that he’s got exceptional quickness and he’s got big-play ability in him. He needs these plays to grow with us and really so we can all feel comfortable with him in there. It was a great opportunity and he did a really good job with the chances that he had.”


Lynch’s season-high 145-yard, one-TD rushing performance in Sunday’s game against the Falcons has been nominated for FedEx Ground Player of the Week at

Also nominated are the New York Giants’ Andre Brown, who had 115 yards and a TD in a 24-20 win over the Oakland Raiders; and the New Orleans Saints’ Mark Ingram, who had 145 yards and a TD in a 49-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys. You can vote here for Lynch.


The Seahawks’ steady-as-he-kicks kicker has taken over the league lead in scoring with 93 points after kicking four field goals and three PATs in Sunday’s win at Atlanta. Hauschka also is tied for fifth with 34 touchbacks on his kickoffs.


With their next victory, the Seahawks will become the seventh team in the franchise’s 38-year history to win 10 games during the regular season, and the second in four seasons under coach Pete Carroll. Here’s a look at those other double-digit team and how they did in the postseason:

Year Wins Postseason
2005 13 Lost in Super Bowl
1984 12 Lost in divisional round
2012 11 Lost in divisional round
1986 10 Did not qualify
2003 10 Lost in wild card round
2007 10 Lost in divisional round

After fashioning a season-best 134.6 passer rating against the Falcons, Wilson is fifth in the league at 101.8, which also ranks him No. 3 in the NFC behind the Saints’ Drew Brees (108.9) and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (108.0). Wilson is No. 10 in third-down passer rating at 87.0.

Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman are tied for third in the league in interceptions with four each, while Golden Tate is fifth in punt return average (13.7).

The Seahawks share the NFL lead with 13 interceptions and are tied for second in total takeaways with 22. They are plus-7 in turnover differential, which ranks sixth. The defense ranks No. 3 in average yards allowed (289.0), second in average passing yards allowed (178.0) and 15th in average rushing yards allowed (111.0). The offense is No. 2 in average rushing yards (153.4), 11th overall (362.0) and 24th in average passing yards (208.6).


The players return from their “off” day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Vikings on what is “Competition Wednesday” on the Carroll calendar. But this week it could be called “Welcome Back Wednesday,” because wide receiver Percy Harvin is schedule to participate after being activated off the physically unable to perform list Monday; tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini are expected to take the next step in playing for the first time since Week 2 (Okung) and Week 3 (Giacomini); and All-Pro center Max Unger and defensive end Red Bryant also should return after missing the game against the Falcons with concussions.