Lynch’s four touchdowns help Seahawks wear down Giants
As the rain started falling harder, a shower of Skittles joined the wet stuff pelting from the sky.
Marshawn Lynch was in the end zone again. And for the first time in his career, the candy came flying four times.
"Like I said before, Marshawn Lynch is our engine," Seattle’s Doug Baldwin said. "Everything runs through him."
Lynch rushed for a season-high 140 yards and career-best four touchdowns and the Seattle Seahawks overcame their early sloppiness for a key 38-17 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Russell Wilson threw two interceptions, the Seahawks committed three turnovers, and Eli Manning picked apart Seattle’s secondary in the first half.
None of it mattered because of Lynch leading Seattle’s unstoppable run game.
Seattle (6-3) finished with a franchise record 350 yards rushing and the most in the NFL since Cleveland had 351 against Kansas City in 2009.
"That’s an offensive lineman’s dream," Seattle left tackle Russell Okung said.
Lynch carried 21 times, but there was plenty of running to go around. Wilson added 107 yards on 14 carries and a 1-yard TD run with 5:19 left. Most of Wilson’s runs were designed as New York (3-6) failed to keep containment. Christine Michael and Robert Turbin averaged more than 5 yards per carry: Michael finished with 71 yards and Turbin added 32.
Seattle is the first NFL team to have a running back rush for four touchdowns and a quarterback run for at least 100 yards in the same game. Wilson joined Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to have three games with at least 100 yards rushing in the same season.
"You could see the impact Russell’s running was having. … That impact mixing with what Marshawn was doing, it just got to where they couldn’t find us," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It was a great job staying with the running game."
It was Lynch’s day. He scored on runs of 1, 2, and 3 yards and capped his performance with a 16-yard scamper with 7:47 left, when cornerback Zack Bowman decided against trying to tackle Lynch at the goal line. Lynch’s 140 yards matched his total from Seattle’s division round playoff win over New Orleans last January.
Lynch had two career games with three TDs rushing. And in true Lynch fashion he was out of the locker room postgame before talking about his performance.
"I feel like we really truly feed off of him a lot," Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy said. "He’s just a physically and mentally tough player and he’s one of the greats. We love blocking for him."
For all the headlines Seattle’s ground game will receive, the biggest play came on the defensive side thanks to All-Pros Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.
Manning threw for 192 yards and a touchdown in an impressive first half against Seattle’s secondary.
But he’ll regret an ill-advised throw with the game tied at 17 in the third quarter after Seattle had just pulled even on Steven Hausckha’s 28-yard field goal.
On first down at the Seattle 39 late in the third, Manning challenged Sherman on a deep ball for Odell Beckham Jr. in the end zone. Sherman defended perfectly and Beckham tipped the ball to Thomas reaching over Sherman’s back for his first interception of the season.
Manning had gone 176 pass attempts without an interception, a span of five games.
"I was just trying to compete for the ball and I knew Earl would be somewhere in the vicinity, as he was," Sherman said.
The response to Manning’s ninth interception in the past three games against the Seahawks gave them the lead for good. Michael took a third-down option pitch 18 yards to the Giants 31 and Lynch followed with a 17-yard run. Lynch bulled his way in from the 3 and a 24-17 Seahawks lead.
New York went three-and-out with Michael Bennett’s sack ending the series. The Seahawks got two fortunate bounces on their next possession: fumbles by Wilson and Lynch getting recovered by guard Alvin Bailey and wide receiver Paul Richardson. Lynch then set his career mark on his 16-yard scoring run.
Wilson was 10 of 17 for 172 yards. He threw two interceptions for the first time since last November against Tampa Bay. But he didn’t need to throw much with what Seattle did on the ground.
Manning finished 29 of 44 for 283 yards, but just 91 in the second half. He also fumbled in the closing minutes.
"Everybody’s going to be disappointed, everybody’s going to be embarrassed and rightfully so," New York coach Tom Coughlin said.
NOTES: Beckham finished with seven catches for 108 yards, 92 of those coming in the first half. … Including playoffs, Lynch has 23 100-yard rushing games since joining the Seahawks in 2010. … Manning set a franchise record with his 160th start at quarterback.