January 08, 2011
Of the 11 defenders on the field for the New Orleans Saints, seven had a legitimate chance to tackle Marshawn Lynch(notes) when the Seattle Sehawks running back took a handoff from Matt Hasselbeck(notes) late in the team's wild card game on Saturday afternoon. None of them did.
Lynch, a fourth-year veteran, broke more than a half-dozen tackles en route to an astonishing 67-yard touchdown run that helped seal a surprising victory for the 7-9 Seahawks in the opening game of the NFL playoffs.
It will go down as one of the greatest runs in postseason history:
There are so many aspects of the run in which to delight, from Lynch's initial burst of speed once he hit the open field to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (and nearly all his Seattle teammates) following Lynch downfield to block to the running back's exuberant/exhausted end zone celebration. The effort is so spectacular that it obscures how awful everyone was on the Saints defense. Lynch is a load to bring down, yes, but that's no excuse for over half the D to let him slip through their fingers. They were as awful as Lynch was great.
It would have been a great enough run on its own, but the fact that Lynch's touchdown clinched the surprising Seahawks victory ranks it up there with the all-time greats. Some have already deemed it one of the best runs ever.
It's not hyperbole. Lynch eluded defenders like Barry Sanders, got off the line of scrimmage like Jim Brown and ran over would-be tacklers like Earl Campbell. It was the perfect run, and one that ensures he and the Seahawks will have a chance to do it again next week.
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