Thursday, January 3, 2013
Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris in focus
By Mike Sando
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch averaged 21.2 carries for 100.5 yards rushing per game through Week 10 this season.
His team had a 6-4 record to that point.
The Seahawks didn't need Lynch quite as much from that point forward. Quarterback Russell Wilson was assuming a larger role in the offense. Blowout victories over Arizona and Buffalo allowed the Seahawks to rest Lynch more than they might have otherwise.
As a result, Lynch averaged 17.2 carries for 97.5 yards per game from Week 11 through the regular season's end. The Seahawks posted a 5-1 record over that span. Lynch's yards per carry spiked late in the season partly because the read-option plays Seattle increasingly used proved difficult for opponents to solve.
Lynch finished strong, but Washington's Alfred Morris caught him for second in NFL rushing yards this season. Both backs will be on the field when Seattle visits Washington for a wild-card playoff game Sunday.
I've put together a chart showing production for Morris and Lynch from a few angles. It shows rushing stats against loaded box counts, meaning those when the defense had more players in the box than the offense had available to block them. We can also see how much running each back has done against nickel and dime defenses. Seattle likes to run its read-option plays from three-receiver personnel.
Morris averaged 18.2 carries for 88.1 yards per game through Week 10. He then averaged 24.4 carries for 117.1 yards per game for the rest of the season.