Wyman: Seahawks can win without run game, but Lynch could shine
The Seahawks’ 17-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs showcased quarterback Russell Wilson and receiver DK Metcalf at their best, which was great for Seattle because their run game was pretty non-existent.
The Seahawks lost their three top running backs over the final weeks of the season due to injuries, so Seattle has turned to sixth-round rookie Travis Homer and the returning Marshawn Lynch to carry the load in the backfield.
The two impressed against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17, combining for 96 yards on 22 carries. Homer had 30 yards receiving as well.
Against Philadelphia’s third-ranked run defense, which the Seahawks ran for 174 yards against in Week 12 of the regular season, Homer and Lynch had little success, combining for just 19 yards on 17 carries, though Lynch showed shades of his old self with a powerful 5-yard touchdown run.
Fighting his way in for the touchdown, it's @MoneyLynch!
Q2: SEA 10, PHI 3 pic.twitter.com/7TG5OAQTqN
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 5, 2020
When the Seahawks made the playoffs last season and played the Dallas Cowboys, the run game was also shut down, but Wilson wasn’t cut loose on offense until it was seemingly too late. That wasn’t the case on Sunday.
Wilson led the team in rushing with 45 yards and accounted for 95 percent of the team’s total offense. Can Seattle win if the run game gets shut down this Sunday when the Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round?
Dave Wyman of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore thinks so.
“If (the run game) has the same type of performance, as long as Russell is able to run and get some extra yardage, I’m comfortable putting (the game) in the hands of Russell Wilson,” Wyman said.
Wilson had one of the best playoff performances of his career, completing 18 of 30 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown. Metcalf had 160 of those yards and a score, while Tyler Lockett and David Moore had 62 and 57 receiving yards, respectively, which helped pick up the lack of a running game.
“During the (regular) season if that happened, you’d go, ‘They have to fix this. This has to change. They can’t rely on Russell game in and game out.’ But in this situation, this is Russell’s sweet spot,” Wyman said.
While Wyman feels comfortable with Wilson taking the game over if needed like he did against the Eagles, he thinks Seattle should be able to run the ball better this weekend against the Packers’ defense, which ranks 23rd against the run.
“You’re not going to be facing the same thing,” Wyman said, comparing the Philadelphia and Green Bay defenses.
Lynch has just 18 carries in his two games since returning to the Seahawks, but Wyman thinks he’ll have an increased role on Sunday, which has the chance to revitalize the run game, especially he can break through the first level of the Green Bay defense.
“I am a Marshawn believer,” Wyman said. “I believe that from what I’m seeing if he gets to that second level and can start to make some moves on the linebackers and maybe get into the secondary, he could have a 75- to 100-yard day, but I’m not counting on that … I do believe Marshawn is going to get some extra yardage and we’ll see some ‘Beast Mode’ type of runs.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Lynch could be in line for more carries at his Monday press conference.
“Give credit to Marshawn for the way he’s attacked this thing. He’s really going for it,” Carroll said. “He’s doing everything our fans would hope he would do. He’s trying to be everything in all aspects of it. He’s deserving of seeing some more reps. That’s all.”
Lynch and company could be aided by the return of two starters this weekend, as both left tackle Duane Brown and left guard Mike Iupati missed the game in Philadelphia with injuries. Brown had minor knee surgery after Week 16 while Iupati is battling a neck injury.
Listen to Wyman’s thoughts on the run game at this link or in the player below at the 36:48 mark.