As we saw with the New England Patriots big 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts later on yesterday, the team that can run the ball the most effectively in a game with adverse weather conditions usually ends up coming out on top. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but both the Seattle Seahawks and Patriots were able to make good on it with wins yesterday. Despite Russell Wilson’s talent and the plaudits he has earned following his second season in the league, the Seahawks are undoubtedly a running team, and everyone in the league knows that this is the ‘Hawks identity. They will do whatever they can to run the ball down your throat with Marshawn Lynch, who embodies that smash-mouth style with his power, explosiveness, and incredible determination on each run.
It seems like Lynch plays his best football when he’s facing the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, and he was clearly the difference in yesterday’s 25-13 win for the Seahawks. Lynch wasn’t as impressive as LeGarrette Blount was against the Colts, but he was just as important to the Seahawks success (probably even more so, considering how bad the passing attack was in the weather conditions). Lynch carried the ball- and the offense- 28 times, and he turned those attempts into a hefty 140 yards and two touchdowns, yielding an average of five yards per attempt on the button. His big 31-yard touchdown run with 2:40 left in the game iced the contest at 23-8, as the Saints could only muster a late TD pass to Marques Colston, who carried the Saints offense.
Both of Lynch’s rushing touchdowns were big gains, and he was easily the best player in the game on either offense. Those 140 rushing yards accounted for over half of the team’s total yards (277), and the Seahawks won despite being clearly outgained by Drew Brees and the Saints offense. Firstly, Brees racked up a lot of garbage yards, and secondly, the Seahawks were able to get one more turnover and did much better on decisive third and fourth downs.
But the man at the front and center of the Seattle Seahawks ugly victory was Marshawn Lynch, who is the team’s most important player on offense and seems to always come up big in ugly games. Wilson will have to shake off the rough day in the NFC Championship game, but the Seahawks offense has a much longer leash with Lynch in the backfield. This is a team that always seems to come up with an important win despite struggles in one area of the game, and they found a way yesterday.