Given the ever-shrinking value of NFL running backs, Marshawn Lynch’s two-year extension with the Seahawks is a semi-big deal. After all, he’ll soon be 29, which is practically the witching
No running back is very safe anymore. Almost all are viewed, by their fourth or fifth season, as expendable — utterly replaceable. Lynch’s case is a little different, though. Not only is he a big-time producer, he’s a big-time producer in the playoffs. He’s a huge reason Seattle has played in the last two Super Bowls (and as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be a huge reason the Seahawks play in any others in the next few years).
Lynch’s 2014 postseason was one of the best in recent memory for a back. Here’s where it ranks in the 2000s, based on rushing yards per game (minimum: three games):
TOP 5 POSTSEASONS BY A RUNNING BACK IN THE 2000S
|Year||Running Back, Team||G||Att||Yds||Avg||TD||PG|
|2012||Frank Gore, 49ers||3||63||319||5.1||4||106.3|
|2014||Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks||3||63||318||5.1||2||106.0|
|2001||Marshall Faulk, Rams||3||64||317||5.0||3||105.7|
|2009||Shonn Green, Jets||3||54||304||5.6||2||101.3|
|2006||Thomas Jones, Bears||3||55||301||5.5||4||100.3|
Amazing, isn’t it? Gore, Lynch and Faulk put up almost exactly the same numbers.
But beyond that, only two backs in NFL history have had more 100-yard rushing games in the playoffs than Lynch. And before he’s done, he might be No. 1.
MOST 100-YARD RUSHING GAMES IN THE PLAYOFFS
|Years||Running Back, Team||No.|
|1997-98||Terrell Davis, Broncos||7|
|1991-96||Emmitt Smith, Cowboys||7|
|2010-14||Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks||6|
|1990-95||Thurman Thomas, Bills||6|
|1982-83||John Riggins, Redskins||6|
Paying any 29-year-old running back top dollar is a risky business, and rarely justified in these pass-crazy times. But if any back is worth it, Lynch is — to this particular team, at least. The Seahawks lean heavily on him, not just to reach the postseason but to win once they get there. It’s one of the things that makes Pete Carroll’s club so refreshingly unconventional. The franchise running back, an endangered species in pro football, is alive and well in Seattle.