The Oakland Raiders finally got their first 2018 victory this past Sunday, as they defeated the Cleveland Browns at the Coliseum, 45-42. It took almost five full quarters, as the game lasted 68:14 in game time, but the Silver & Black got it done.
There’s so much to talk about, Jon Gruden got his first win as a Head Coach since 2008… Derek Carr came through in the clutch when it mattered most for his 14th game winning drive in the 4th quarter/OT…
…but one player in particular must be written about a little bit more, and that player is Marshawn Lynch.
Let’s check out some eye-opening stats through 4 games in 2018:
Lynch currently has 68 carries for 300 yards (4.4 yards per attempt) and 3 rushing touchdowns, while adding 10 receptions on 11 targets for 60 yards. He’s on pace for 1,200 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, which would be his highest numbers since 2014.
According to PFF’s Austin Gayle, Lynch leads ALL 2018 running backs with 20 forced missed tackles and .294 forced missed tackles per attempt.
If you look at what Lynch has done from Week 9 of last season, all the way through this past Sunday, at 32-years old, it’s outright incredible. He’s making guys miss, he’s running over anyone and everyone he can for every yard, he’s blowing up oncoming blitzers to protect his QB, and overall he’s just playing every game of football exactly how it’s supposed to be played: like it’s his last.
Maybe Lynch views it that way in a sense, “like it’s his last”, as the Oakland native knows this franchise is leaving town soon. He wants to show out and win, while they still can, in his city. For these fans. For his people.
I’m comfortable saying that Marshawn Lynch is just as much of a Raider as any other great player that’s ever put on that uniform. Al Davis’ famous quote “The fire that burns brightest in the Raiders organization is the will to win”… well re-watch Sunday’s game against the Browns and tell me that wasn’t EXACTLY what Marshawn Lynch was doing.
Some fans didn’t want Lynch to come play for Oakland last year because they were worried about what his relationship with Derek Carr, the franchise quarterback, would be like. That ended up being one of the most inaccurate theories possible, as they both clearly have each others back. They’re also the two main pieces in a 2018 offense that’s currently ranked #2 overall in yards per game.
Lastly, the most important thing is the impression Lynch is leaving on this team going forward, similar to what Charles Woodson did. Lynch is a savvy veteran who is teaching those around him how to win. Maybe it’s a #24 thing. Maybe it’s a hall of famer thing. Maybe it’s a Raider thing.