A run through the numbers on Marshawn Lynch’s career
With Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch set to retire after nine seasons in the NFL, here’s a look at his career by the numbers with the help of ESPN Stats & Information and Pro Football Reference:
9,112. Lynch’s career rushing yards, excluding the postseason. That ranks 36th in NFL history. For greater context, only two players ahead of Lynch on that list rushed for more yards in fewer seasons, eight in each case. Five others played nine seasons, same as Lynch. That means the other 28 of the 35 players who ran for more yards than Lynch did so over a longer career. Lynch gained 6,347 of his yards with the Seahawks, who acquired him in a trade with Buffalo during the 2010 season. Lynch is fourth on the Seahawks’ franchise rushing list behind Shaun Alexander (9,429), Chris Warren (6,706) and Curt Warner (6,705).
51. The number of rushing touchdowns Lynch scored from his first full season with Seattle in 2011 to 2015. That total led the league and was six more than Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson during that span. Lynch scored 57 rushing touchdowns in all with the Seahawks, second most in franchise history behind Alexander’s 100. Including the 17 he scored while with Buffalo, Lynch finishes his career with 74 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for 24th in NFL history.
122, 147. The draft picks that Seattle gave up to acquire Lynch from Buffalo. It was a fourth-round pick in 2011 (No. 122 overall) and a 2012 conditional pick that turned out to be a fifth-rounder (No. 147). Talk about a nice return on a relatively minimal investment.
4. Consecutive seasons in which Lynch rushed for at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Lynch did so from 2011 to 2014. Four other players had as many consecutive seasons with those totals. Only Alexander (five) and LaDanian Tomlinson (eight) had more. And Lynch wasn’t just barely reaching those benchmarks. His rushing totals in that span were between 1,204 and 1,590 yards while he scored 12, 11, 12 and 13 rushing touchdowns. Lynch was absolutely dominant for four straight years.
.52. A little over a half a yard is how much Lynch’s yards-per-carry average in 2015 dropped from his previous career mark. Lynch averaged 4.28 yards per carry over his first eight seasons and a career-low 3.76 last season, when he gained 417 yards on 111 attempts. Lynch missed nine regular-season games last year because of injuries to his hamstring and then his abdomen.
1. That’s how many games Lynch missed from 2011 to 2014, which is incredible considering how physical of a runner he was and how he finished in the top five in rushing attempts each season during that span. He was remarkably durable before his final season. The game Lynch missed was a 6-3 loss to Cleveland in 2011, when back spasms made him a late scratch.
2,659. The number of yards after contact that Lynch gained from 2011 to 2015. That total ranked second in the NFL in that span behind Peterson. Lynch averaged 2.1 yards after contact per carry, which ranks seventh in that span among running backs with at least 500 attempts. Lynch didn’t just refuse to shy away from contact, he sought it out and often ran through it.
12. The number of running backs who rank ahead of Lynch on the all-time rushing list and are eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame but are not in. The list is below. That group excludes running backs who are either still playing or have not been retired for the requisite five years in order to be eligible.
11. Edgerrin James 12,246
16. Fred Taylor 11,695
20. Corey Dillon 11,241
22. Warrick Dunn 10,967
23. Ricky Watters 10,643
24. Jamal Lewis 10,607
26. Tiki Barber 10,449
27. Eddie George 10,441
28. Ottis Anderson 10,273
30. Clinton Portis 9,923
32. Shaun Alexander 9,435
35. Ahman Green 9,205
36. Marshawn Lynch 9,112
What that tells you is that if Lynch makes the hall of fame, it won’t be solely on his career rushing total, which only takes into account the regular season. His case for inclusion will have to focus on some other credentials, such as …
8. Where Lynch ranks in NFL history in postseason rushing yards with 937. The top eight are below. Note that Lynch played in 11 playoff games while five of the seven players ahead of him played in at least 16.
Emmitt Smith: 1,586 (17)
Franco Harris: 1,556 (19)
Thurman Thomas: 1,442 (21)
Tony Dorsett: 1,383 (17)
Marcus Allen: 1,347 (16)
Terrell Davis: 1,140 (8)
John Riggins: 996 (9)
Marshawn Lynch: 937 (11)
6. The number of postseason games in which Lynch topped 100 yards rushing, tied for second-most in NFL history behind Terrell Davis and Emmitt Smith, who both had seven. At his best, Lynch was so productive – in general and in the postseason – that when he ran for 157 yards and the go-ahead, fourth-quarter touchdown in the NFC title game against Green Bay, it was almost an afterthought. Stellar postseason performances from Lynch almost became the norm.