Marshawn Lynch back in Seattle?! Talk about a Christmas miracle.
This signing makes complete sense, considering the Seahawks needed a running back bad. Like real bad. They lost three RBs to major injury within the last month — Rashaad Penny (knee), Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (arm) — and heading into the postseason without an established backfield threat isn’t an option for a team that relies so heavily on the ground attack. When Lynch takes the field Sunday evening against the San Francisco 49ers, it will have been 1,505 days since he last played in a game with the Seahawks. The Emerald City reunion comes after Lynch’s initial 2016 retirement and then two seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2017-18).
I still think the Seahawks should’ve given me a call, but I’m all in on “Beast Mode” being back in Seattle.
All of the injuries have left a massive void in the Seahawks‘ offense. The backfield trio of Carson, Penny and Prosise — along with injured tight end Will Dissly (Achilles) — has accounted for 80.9 percent of Seattle’s rushing production. Currently ranking fifth in rushing yards this season with 1,230, Carson will be tough to replace, as his hard-nosed running style provided balance on an offense that features MVP candidate Russell Wilson. In fact, Carson boasts the third-most forced missed tackles (62) and yards gained after contact (1,008) in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
So, what does Lynch still have left in the tank? From 2011 through 2015, he registered 300 forced missed tackles, the most in the league during that span. That equated to Lynch shrugging off a defender on 23.2 percent of his carries, also an NFL high. Will he be the same running back this time around? It’s not likely because it’s a half-decade later and Lynch is 33 years old. That said, based on Lynch’s recent workout regimen, I have no doubt he’ll be able to provide the offense with an effective rushing attack.
No matter how long Lynch has been out of the game, his reputation and history of running over would-be tacklers will force defenses to respect him. He’s a quality running back who will fit the bill and slide right into a familiar offense. He’ll get help from Robert Turbin, who also signed this week, but expect Lynch to get a bulk of the carries.
“He was very serious about getting ready for this opportunity,” Carroll told reporters Tuesday. “And the stroke of misfortune, in some regards, really opens up the door, which happens at times, and he’s ready to take the full opportunity at hand and see what he can do to help us.”
Another huge benefit the Seahawks get from bringing the five-time Pro Bowler back into the fold: His presence in the locker room. Lynch is the type of player who can provide a spark and rally his teammates, and it comes at the perfect time. The Seahawks (11-4) have a chance to take the NFC West with a win over rival San Francisco at home in Sunday’s Week 17 finale. Beast Mode has the goods to help get it done. And who knows? Maybe Lynch and the ‘Hawks can close the chapter on their unfinished Super Bowl business in February.
Now, let’s get to the weekly rankings …
Former NFL rushing leader and NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew will survey all running backs and rank his TOP 10 each week for the final month of the 2019 season. His rankings are based on this season’s efforts alone. Here is MJD‘s list heading into Week 17.
NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week’s rankings.
Check out the FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote.
2019 stats: 15 games | 278 att | 1,361 rush yds | 4.9 ypc | 14 rush TDs | 109 rec | 933 rec yds | 4 rec TDs
McCaffrey’s numbers speak for themselves. The fact that he’s 216 yards from topping
Chris Johnson‘s scrimmage yards record is pretty incredible. It’s not going to be easy to do against a good
Saints‘ defense, but if anyone can do it, it’s Run CMC.
2019 stats: 15 games | 285 att | 1,453 rush yds | 5.1 ypc | 8 rush TDs | 35 rec | 277 rec yds | 0 rec TDs
Despite one of his worst outings of the season, Chubb’s been great in 2019. He leads the league in rush yards, and my guess is he’ll keep that title considering his final opponent is the
Bengals‘ 28th-ranked rush defense. If only every part of the
Browns was as productive as the second-year back.
2019 stats: 15 games | 283 att | 1,235 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 11 rush TDs | 51 rec | 418 rec yds | 1 rec TD
What a disappointing season for the
Cowboys, who are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in after losing to Philadelphia last week. To overtake the
Cowboys must win against the
Redskins and need the
Eagles to fall to the
Giants. It’s definitely doable and the best way to do so is relying on their best player —
something they forgot to do in Week 16.
2019 stats: 14 games | 271 att | 1,329 rush yds | 4.9 ypc | 13 rush TDs | 18 rec | 206 rec yds | 2 rec TDs
Henry did not play in Week 16 due to a hamstring injury but
is expected to suit up Sunday against the
Houston Texans. Thanks to a Pittsburgh loss last weekend, the
Titans are in the driver’s seat for the final spot in
the AFC playoff picture and should get a boost from a well-rested Henry, who’s known for his late-season success.
2019 stats: 15 games | 211 att | 984 rush yds | 4.7 ypc | 16 rush TDs | 47 rec | 431 rec yds | 3 rec TDs
Aaron Jones fumbled on the
Packers‘ opening drive against the
Vikings on Monday, I thought the young running back would have one of those kind of days. It turns out he did have one of those kind of days — a 150-yard, two-TD day! He showed up in a big way for his team — and
fantasy football owners — to help the
Packers reclaim the NFC North. He’s been one of the driving forces of Green Bay’s resurgence as Jones leads the NFL in rush TDs (16) and scrimmage TDs (19) this season.
2019 stats: 14 games | 203 att | 789 rush yds | 3.9 ypc | 12 rush TDs | 29 rec | 186 rec yds | 2 rec TDs
In Week 16’s loss to the
49ers, Gurley had his second-straight game with fewer than 20 touches and the
Rams were 0-2 in those games. Ironically, in games were 3-0 in this season when Gurley had at least 20 touches. That pretty much sums up the season for a
Rams team that missed the postseason a year removed from a
Super Bowl appearance.
2019 stats: 15 games | 202 att | 1,018 rush yds | 5.0 ypc | 10 rush TD | 26 rec | 247 rec yds | 5 rec TDs
With 55 yards on eight carries (6.9 yards per carry), Ingram surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the third time in the last four seasons. The effort helped the
Ravens lock up the top seed in the AFC, and as a result, it looks as though Ingram will get two weekends off to recover from an injured calf. What a solid first campaign in Baltimore for the veteran.
2019 stats: 13 games | 163 att | 758 rush yds | 4.7 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 79 rec | 515 rec yds | 1 rec TD
Kamara got back into the end zone last week for the first time since Week 3 to help the
Saints complete a comeback win on the road. The
Saints running back, who suffered lower body injuries earlier in the season, finally looked explosive again as he ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run in the third. This is the
Alvin Kamara the
Saints need heading into the postseason.
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2019 stats: 15 games | 252 att | 975 rush yds | 3.9 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 34 rec | 273 rec yds | 3 rec TDs
Bengals‘ fourth-quarter comeback to force overtime against the
Miami Dolphins was impressive to say the least. But when you’re trailing by two scores before the start of the second quarter, that’s it (or close to) for the running back. Finishing that game with 50 rush yards, Mixon has a chance to finish the season on a high note against the
Browns on Sunday.
2019 stats: 7 games | 111 att | 583 rush yds | 5.3 ypc | 7 rush TDs | 25 rec | 148 rec yds | 0 rec TDs
Drake deserves mention after logging six rush touchdowns in the last two weeks, leading the
Cardinals to victories over Cleveland and playoff-bound Seattle. He’s proven to be a great fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and should be in the backfield with
Kyler Murray for years to come.
The Ground Index delivered by FedEx ranks NFL running back performances all season long. Check out the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote.