BY SPNW Staff 10:39AM 12/14/2011

Lynch Leads Seahawks Rushing Renaissance

Largely because of Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks have a chance Sunday to match the 1996 Seahawks’ feat of rushing for 100 yards in seven consecutive games.

Marshawn Lynch has scored at least one touchdown in nine consecutive games, matching Shaun Alexander's franchise record. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Shaun Alexander secured the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Trophy in 2005 in part because he played on the most successful Seahawks team in franchise history (reached the Super Bowl), and partly because he established a league record by scoring 28 touchdowns, 27 of those via the rush.

Alexander secured the award by his performance in Seattle’s final nine regular-season games, when he scored at least one touchdown in each, two in a game five times, and 16 total over the span.

Alexander’s streak of scoring at least one TD in nine consecutive games broke the record of eight by fullback David Sims in 1978, and was made possible because Alexander had two Pro Bowlers (and likely future Hall of Famers) working the left side of Seattle’s offensive line, tackle Walter Jones and guard Steve Hutchinson. Alexander tallied more than two-thirds of his touchdowns running behind them.

Marshawn Lynch hasn’t had such luxury, making his feat of scoring at least one touchdown in nine consecutive games all the more impressive.

Lynch operates behind an offensive line currently missing three starters, RT James Carpenter, LT Russell Okung and RG John Moffitt, all lost for the season with injuries. Even before the trio got hurt, Carpenter and Moffitt were rookies and one (Okung) a second-year player.

Yet Lynch has not only managed to score TDs in nine straight games, he has rushed for 100 or more yards in five of his last six, by far the best span of his professional career.

Lynch might never pile up the astonishing numbers that Alexander did (100 career touchdowns), but he is the most impressive running back in Seahawks’ history, and his TDs in nine straight games are really the least of it.

Lynch makes more yards after contact than any back the Seahawks have employed, is the first back in franchise history to make a three-yard gain enthralling, and is the most relentless runner we’ve seen in a Seattle uniform. We can only imagine what Lynch might have accomplished had been he run behind Jones and Hutchinson in 2005 instead of Alexander, an extremely talented back, but a wimp compared to Lynch.

Most consecutive games scoring a touchdown by a Seattle running back:

Year Player No. Skinny
2005 Shaun Alexander 9 16 TDs overall, 2 in a game 5 times
2011 Marshawn Lynch 9 10 TDs in streak, 9 rushing, 1 receiving
1978 David Sims 8 11 TDs during streak, 3 vs. Cleveland
1983 Curt Warner 5 7 TDs overall, 2 in a game twice
2005 Shaun Alexander 5 12 TDs during streak; 4 in a game twice
1990 Derrick Fenner 4 5 TDs overall, including 2 vs. Detroit
1994 Chris Warren 4 6 TDs overall, including 2 vs. Redskins
1998 Ricky Watters 4 Scored one rushing TD in each game

Largely because of Lynch, the Seahawks have a streak of six consecutive games of rushing for 100 or more yards. Remarkable is the Seahawks failed to reach 70 yards rushing in five of their first seven games (all losses), the nadir coming Sept. 18 when Seattle had just 31 rushing yards in a 24-0 loss at Pittsburgh.

At that point, we suspected we might we watching one of the most inept rushing teams in franchise annals, and had no reason to suspect the Seahawks capable of averaging 141.7 yards per game over a six-game stretch, especially with a decimated offensive line.

Only one other Seahawks team in the past two decades had a longer stretch of 100-yard rushing games. In 1996, featuring Chris Warren, Lamar Smith and Steve Broussard, Seattle strung together seven consecutive 100-yard games, topped by a 199-yard effort against Minnesota on Nov. 10.

The 2011 Seahawks can match that mark when they play the Chicago Bears Sunday at Soldier Field. If they do, Lynch will have a chance to break a tie with Alexander for consecutive games scoring a touchdown.

Seahawks teams that rushed for 100 or more yards in at least five consecutive games (since 1990):

Year Coach No. Yards Avg. Top Rusher
1996 Dennis Erickson 7 1057 151 Chris Warren
2011 Pete Carroll 6 850 141.7 Marshawn Lynch
1994 Tom Flores 5 762 152.4 Chris Warren
1995 Dennis Erickson 5 931 186.2 Chris Warren
1997 Dennis Erickson 5 678 135.6 Chris Warren
2005 Mike Holmgren 5 899 179.8 Shaun Alexander

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