What’s that old adage about running backs once they turn 30?
Well, whatever it is, Marshawn Lynch isn’t paying much attention, as the 32-year old currently has more rushing yards than Carlos Hyde (28), Melvin Gordon (25), Alvin Kamara (23), and Saquon Barkley (21).
In fact, only three players – Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley and Matt Breida – have more rushing yards than “The Beast” and yes, he’s the oldest player of the lot there as well.
With 68 attempts, good for 300 yards and three touchdowns, the Oakland native is on pace to dash the numbers he put up in his first year as a Raider, all while seemingly slamming the door in the face of Father Time.
Jalen Richard sits in meetings with Lynch each week, and has a unique view of what No. 24 does day in and day out, and even with that perspective, he’s still impressed by what Lynch does once the pads come on.
“Every run is so different,” said Richard. “I’m just seeing so much different [stuff] from him. The dude is unreal…. Hall of Famer. I’ve watched all these other backs, and I’ve got my top five – the things that boy do, I ain’t ever seen anybody else do that. The power. The finesse too. The smartness of the game. He knows the game. People don’t even realize that about him, he knows the game. He knows it. And to be doing it at his level, the type of back he is, and to be doing it for so long, that’s real.”
As solid as Lynch has been through the first quarter of 2018, his performance Sunday – 20 carries for 130 yards, along with three receptions for 27 yards – was likely his best effort of the regular season.
Asked about Lynch and whether or not he had to keep an eye on his touches, Head Coach Jon Gruden echoed what Richard said in terms of the way the former California Golden Bear is pounding the rock.
“If that’s not a Hall of Fame back, I don’t know what is,” Coach Gruden said. “Honestly. What he did yesterday, what he’s done since he’s been here is incredible. He wants the ball more and more and more. We got a good back over there in Doug Martin, who is ready to roll. Doug can’t get on the field. This guys does not want to come off the field. He picked up six or seven blitzes yesterday too that no one is talking about. But some of the runs, good night! Why would you have a quick whistle with Marshawn Lynch? I don’t understand how you can blow a whistle like they did yesterday, but some of the runs he’s making, some of the finishes and determination he is putting on tape is unbelievable. I don’t see many guys in football running like this.”
Gruden brings up another good point in regards to Lynch; not only is the veteran back running the ball ultra-effectively (4.4 YPC), he’s carrying a bulk of the workload to boot, as his 68 attempts are more than double Doug Martin’s attempts.
Marshawn Lynch in general is an enigma, but when you factor in that he seemingly gets more productive the longer the game goes on, his output goes from impressive, to bordering on unbelievable.
Just think about this; at the half of the team’s Week 4 matchup , Lynch had just 26 yards to his name, meaning that in the second half, and overtime, The Beast racked up 104 very physical, very determined yards.
“For him to consistently run the way that he does, give the effort that he does – he’s a hall of famer,” Derek Carr said. “The guy is one of the best running backs to ever play this game. You can’t tell a football story without Marshawn Lynch. To be one of his teammates and be in there with him. For all the kids out there, they should just watch his effort. They should watch our kicker today miss some things and mess some stuff up, but get it out and be tough and finish and win the game for us. Those are the things that hopefully our game can do for the next generation that wants to play football.”
Like Richard, Gabe Jackson has had an up-close view of Lynch going about his business, so is this the best the punishing running back has looked as a Raider?
“I don’t know about that, but I know that he was toting that thing,” Jackson said. “I know that much.”
After notching their first win of 2018 against the Cleveland Browns, the Silver and Black will look to keep the momentum rolling Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles; and while Lynch will forever remain synonymous with the unexpected, his productivity has been anything but.
“Ain’t no telling what he’s going to do,” Jackson said with a chuckle. “But that’s my dawg.”