Marshawn Lynch was overcome by the moment. In the midst of trying to describe what could be argued as the greatest touchdown run in Seattle Seahawks history, a few tears began to form at the edges of his eyes.
Was this the same man who simply refused to be tackled when he sealed the Seahawks’ improbable 41-36 playoff win over the New Orleans Saints with a ferocious and fabulous 67-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter?
Ok, perhaps it was a little sweat too.
But a week after screaming, “We are going to the playoffs!” repeatedly in his postgame interview, Lynch seemed humbled as he was surrounded by media members.
“It’s something to build off of for next week,” he said with a low voice. “It was a pretty good feeling for us all.”
Don’t let him undersell it. The Seahawks lined up at their own 33-yard line with 3:38 left to play, clinging to a 34-30 lead and desperate to just run the clock out for the upset win.
Facing 2nd down and 10, Seattle wanted some positive yardage and perhaps a first down. What they got instead was a highlight that will be played over and over.
The play call was “17 Power.” And it hadn’t been called once the entire game.
“I don’t even know if it was even in the game plan,” said right tackle Shawn Locklear. “We had called zone plays all game.”
But the zone play on first down was stopped for no gain. So why not try something new?
“Everyone just blocked down and he went right over the guard,” Locklear said. “That’s an old school power football.”
And it was perfect for an old school runner, who doesn’t shy away from contact, and instead relishes it.
“Marshawn has the speed, but he’ll also run you over,” said teammate Craig Terrill. “He’s got his own unique style.
Lynch has famously called it “Beast Mode.”
Initially the run didn’t seem destined for the end zone; it barely seemed destined for a first down. Lynch squeezed through a small opening provided by fullback Michael Robinson and the left side of the line and then cut back to the right. He broke the tackle of linebacker Scott Shanle at the line of scrimmage. And then he powered through the tackles of safety Darren Sharper and nose tackle Remi Ayodele.
“The offensive line did a great job with getting me to the secondary and instincts took over for me,” Lynch said. Once in the secondary, Lynch wasn’t satisfied.
“He’s just out there trying to get every inch,” teammate Marcus Trufant said. “He’s a fighter. He fights for every yard on every play.”
Jabari Greer came at Lynch from the left, and he simply ran through the tackle barely slowing down. The next to try was Tracy Porter. His attempt was met with a stiff arm from Lynch. But that wasn’t enough. Lynch simply threw Porter with his free hand to the ground like swatting at pesky fly.
“That’s the whole mentality he’s brought to us,” said teammate Brandon Stokley. “One guy cannot bring that man down.”
From there, defensive end Alex Brown dove for Lynch’s feet from behind, but he stepped out of it at the 17-yard line.
Lynch then headed toward the goal line with blockers all around him. And just about when he was ready to score, he sidestepped a tackle attempt from Roman Harper before leaping into the end zone, sending Qwest Field and the sidelines into a raucous frenzy.
“It was mayhem,” Terrill said. “We were going crazy. I don’t think anyone expected that.”
With that play, in that situation, not much was expected.
“If you get 4.1 yards on that play, you are patting yourself on the back,” Hasselbeck said.
It’s a testament to Lynch’s tenacity.
“That was a beastly run by him,” Sharper said, unknowing of Lynch’s nickname. “He had lot more hunger than we did trying to bring him down.”
When told about all the tackles he broke, Lynch smiled and said: “Is that right? I was pretty much determined.” Lynch admitted it was the biggest run of his career.
But is it the greatest run in Seahawks history?
“It ranks pretty high for me,” said center Chris Spencer. “I remember Shaun Alexander having an 80-yard run against Arizona. But to do it in the playoff game, I think so.”
Locklear ranked it in the top three, while Terrill and Stokley were a little more effusive in their praise.
“I’ve never seen such a great run,” Terrill said. “That will go down as one of the best runs ever, especially considering the situation.”
Said Stokley: “It was the best I’ve ever seen. It was unbelievable. He just ran through the whole team.”