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2016 Seattle Seahawks Yearbook

John and bugging John,” Carroll said in 2012. “I mean it was eight or nine weeks or something, whenever we got him, we had been on it through the offseason and all of that. John probably called them back 10 times to get this done. There were a number of times when John would look at me and say ‘Look, I just called them last week,’ and I’d say, ‘Oh, come on, let’s try again. You never know.’ “We were very persistent Lynch stiff arms Patrick Peterson during his 79-yard touchdown run. about it and fi nally the opportunity arose for us. This is what we had hoped. We had hoped that he would be a big-timer and that we would make him fi t in and feel comfortable and like his surroundings, and really contribute in a big way.” Buffalo eventually relented—”I think John just wore them out,” Carroll joked. “I think that he wore them down after a while”—and for the bargain price of a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fi fth-rounder, the Seahawks pulled off what ended up being one of the best trades in franchise history. In Lynch’s fi rst season, Seattle was still fi nding its way on offense and he never eclipsed 100 yards that year. At least not in the regular season. In Lynch’s fi rst career playoff game, Matt Hasselbeck was the star for much of the day, outdueling Drew Brees in a Seahawks upset victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, but Lynch helped put the game away with a 67-yard touchdown run that is now considered one of the great runs in NFL history. While breaking tackle after tackle and introducing Seahawks fans to the phenomenon known as “Beast Mode,” Lynch worked the crowd into such a frenzy that seismic activity was recorded in the area. The next season, Lynch and the running game would become the offense’s focal point midway through the season, and after not having a 100-yard game in his fi rst 18 regularseason games with Seattle, he had six over the next eight weeks, with Seattle winning fi ve of their fi nal eight games to close the season. The Seahawks didn’t make the playoffs in 2011, but that decision to commit to the running game has frequently been pointed to by Cable and Seahawks players as a turning point for a team that made the playoffs four straight years since, including two trips to the Super Bowl. Injuries limited Lynch this season, but from 2011 to 2014, he rushed for 5,357 yards and 48 touchdowns, and had a huge hand in getting the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8 over Denver. And as was evident early on in his “Beast Quake” run, Lynch was at his best in big games, rushing for 937 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 postseason games, including six games over 100-yards, a total only eclipsed by Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis, who each had seven. “Honestly, this is exactly what I had hoped for,” Carroll said of the Lynch trade two years ago. “I hoped it would turn on out like this. I hoped that he would get a new lease on life, we would get the benefi t of him jumping into a situation where he was going to be appreciated and understood and utilized, and I just hoped that it would turn out like this. “Now, I can’t tell you I thought it was going to be three years of a thousand yards and 10-plus touchdowns or whatever the heck it is. I didn’t know that. I think the really exciting part of it is how he’s responded to the opportunity. He has maxed it out and he has captured us, really our club, with his leadership and his toughness and his style of play.” A player whose style “epitomizes what we want to be about.” To look at Lynch’s impressive statistics only begins to touch on what he meant to the Seahawks over the past six years. Lynch was an immensely gifted back, one whose talents were sometimes overshadowed by his determination. Often lost amidst the many highlights of Lynch running through would-be tacklers was just how quick and elusive he was as well—Carroll once described Lynch as having the feet of a slalom skier. But what made Lynch so important to the Seahawks wasn’t just that physical ability, but rather the edge with which he played the game. Lynch didn’t just gain extra yards with that effort; he elevated a team. “His running style defi nitely epitomizes what we want to be about in this program: aggressiveness, straining, all those type of things,” former fullback Michael Robinson once said of Lynch. “Defi nitely when we see him getting going, it’s a boost to the team. “It just jumps off the tape. Teams know when they play against us, they have to deal with ‘24.’ That’s just the way it’s set Lynch scores his fi rst touchdown as a Seahawk at Chicago, 10/17/10. 27


2016 Seattle Seahawks Yearbook
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