RENTON, Wash. – Marshawn Lynch could deflect Seattle’s inability to establish any sort of run game to a young and inexperienced offensive line or the Seahawks simply not being able to stay on the field.
Instead, he’s putting it squarely on himself.
“I’m the only one running,” Lynch said Wednesday. “Who else’s fault could that be or who else’s responsibility could that be?”
It’s been more than a season since Lynch was brought to Seattle to be the bulldozing interior runner the Seahawks sought for Pete Carroll’s system. And in that year, Lynch has yet rush for more than 100 yards in a regular-season game.
The problems aren’t simply his. Seattle’s offensive line most of last season was in continual flux. It was addressed this offseason when Seattle spent its first two picks in the NFL draft on shoring up the right side of its line with James Carpenter and John Moffitt.
But while they’re younger, that doesn’t mean they’re better. Four times this season, Lynch has failed to gain at least 40 yards rushing in a game. His season high of 98 yards on 12 carries in Seattle’s most impressive performance – a 36-25 win over the New York Giants – is the highest total in Lynch’s 18 regular-season games with the Seahawks.
The only time he’s topped 100 yards since arriving from Buffalo was last year’s NFC wild-card playoff game Seattle won 41-36 and was capped by Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown run that caused a seismic event to be recorded near the Seahawks’ home stadium.
“We need to run the ball this weekend and we’re going to go after it,” Carroll said. “That’s the only way we can look at it.”
It wasn’t the lowest point from a production standpoint since he joined the Seahawks, but it was impossible not to notice Lynch’s frustration last week against Cincinnati. Often with little room to run, Lynch finished with 24 yards on 16 carries. His 1.5 yards per carry was the worst of his career in any game in which Lynch got more than 10 carries.
Lynch flung his arms in disappointment and later was seen animatedly jawing with coaches on the sideline.
“That means he cares. That’s what we want,” Seattle center Max Unger said. “I’m not going to get mad at him for being (upset).”
Seattle’s run game as a whole has been one of its biggest woes, even as the pass game is showing signs of improvement. The Seahawks are 31st in the league, averaging just 77.7 yards rushing per game, the result of a choppy transition.
When Seattle began the season, the goal was controlling the clock and using Lynch while quarterback Tarvaris Jackson continued to get acclimated to his new team. As the offense continued to struggle, the Seahawks discovered that speeding up the tempo was more to Jackson’s strengths.
The perfect scenario Seattle would like is its win over the Giants when Jackson and backup Charlie Whitehurst – after Jackson was injured – threw for a combined 315 yards while Lynch and Seattle’s other backs added nearly 150 yards on the ground.
But the two weeks since – with Whitehurst starting both – were steps back. Lynch was inactive against Cleveland with back spasms but the Seahawks produced only 137 total yards in a 6-3 loss. Jackson was excellent coming off the bench to throw for 323 yards against Cincinnati, but it came at the expense of the run game.
“We go up and we go down and we also put ourselves in a position in the game where we go down and in passing situations and that hurt. … More repetition for the run game would help,” Lynch said.