Marshawn Lynch and Running Lanes


It’s something I’ve been noticing for few weeks now, and it became really apparent this last week against the Bangles. Marshawn Lynch is really slow getting to the hole. Any fan can see that the offensive line blocking for the run, but the line isn’t the only problem in the Seahawks running game.

I went back and looked at the coaches tape again from Sunday’s game, and specifically looked at the running lanes and run blocking. It turns out that the line played better last week than I thought. Let me show you what I mean. Here is the end zone angle  of the 4th down play at the very end of the first half.

As you can see, at the point that lynch takes the ball, the running lane is there. You could drive a car through that hole. Unfortunately he stutter steps when making his cut up field, and takes his time getting to the line on scrimmage. By the time get get there the hole is closed.

It should be noted that the line got a good push, and even at this point when the linebacks and safeties have had time read the play and react, there’s room for Lynch between the Bangle players to get into the end zone. The line wasn’t the problem on this play.

Here’s another play, this time from early in the 2nd quarter. The Seahawks are in an Ace formation (meaning the QB is under center, and there’s just one RB who is 7 yards behind the line). The Seahawks have 4 WR in, and thus have spread out the Bangles and have them thinking pass.

The play is to the left side, and if you look below, again there is a huge running lane for Lynch to run through.

And as you can see in the next picture, by the time Lynch gets to the line, the hole is already closed.

I could  show you many similar plays from throughout the game.

To illustrate the significance of what I’m try to show you, I found 2 plays from the first in which the Seahawks ran the same play. One with Lynch in at RB, and the other with Leon Washington.

Washington                                                                                                    Lynch

Same play. Both on 2nd and long. Both against the same defensive package. You might also notice that on both plays the back side DE is left unblocked.

It’s too bad I don’t have an endzone view to show you here, because the blocking matches up rather well from one play to the other. Unfortunately, end zone views were not provided for both plays. In both cases, the hole is between the unblocked left DE and left DT. It’s easier to see on the picture of the Washington run, in front of #96.

As you can see, Washington gets to the hole in plenty of time, and squeezes through for large gain. Lynch on the other hand, gets ran down by the DE and stopped for just 2 yards.

I don’t mean to say that Lynch is the only problem with the running game. He’s not. There are equally as many plays where a lineman gets beat and Lynch got hit in the backfield. Clearly though, the line isn’t the only cause of the Seahawk’s running troubles. It’s time that Lynch start to get his share of the blame.