Through two weeks, it’s quite clear that Marshawn Lynch never lost the Beast Mode moniker. After taking a year off, he’s just as dangerous as ever.
His numbers through the first two games don’t knock your socks off — 121 yards on 30 carries with one touchdown. But a closer look shows why opposing defenses should be terrified of Lynch and the high-flying Oakland Raiders offense.
Marshawn Lynch has only been tackled on first contact on half of his carries — tied for best rate after 2 weeks in last 5 seasons, per @PFF
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 22, 2017
And because of this, he leads the NFL since 2013 in average YAC/rush (min. 500 att.)
1. Lynch (2.69)
2. Peterson (2.62)
3. Ingram (2.56) https://t.co/ch7MBTPAed
— Evert Geerlings (@E_Geerlings) September 22, 2017
Lynch showed why he’s not being taken down at first contact in Week 1 with a brutish truck job on one of the NFL’s top defensive tackles (watch here).
The former Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks running back is the beneficiary of Oakland’s tremendous offensive line. And once he hits a hole, heaven help the defender trying to take him down.
As we touched on before the season began, the Raiders aren’t likely to make Lynch a 20-25-touch running back this year. And they don’t need to. Just having Lynch back there changes the entire dynamic of Oakland’s offense — a unit that did quite well last year, ranking No. 6 in the league running the ball. The big difference between last year and this season is that Lynch brings a whole new level of physicality to the team’s rushing attack.
Defenders that get hit hard the way Lynch is bringing the heat don’t typically maintain the same level of intensity to their game later in contests. It was crystal clear the Tennessee Titans were in no way interested in taking Lynch on head-to-head late in the team’s Week 1 win on the road.
Combined with Derek Carr and the lethal Oakland passing attack, Marshawn Lynch gives the Raiders the best overall offense in the NFL. Later in the year when it gets colder and the weather becomes more of a factor, we expect Lynch’s role to expand, especially late in games as Oakland closes out opponents.
And if the team’s defense can fix the back end, Oakland might just be the team to beat in the AFC.