It wasn't exactly a play run to perfection, but it was pretty darn close to the perfect play. Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard rumble against the Saints is already the stuff of legends, and I wanted to take a moment to capture how it happened, and give credit to some of the other Seahawks that made it possible.
First, the Seahawks come out in a 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB 1 FB formation on 2nd and 10 at their own 33-yard-line. The Saints are expecting pass and have eight men in the box, and are sneaking up their safety as a ninth. Programming note: I had trouble getting all the player numbers on the Saints, so they may have had slightly different personnel than depicted here (e.g., an extra defensive back). Ben Obomanu motions across the formation to create power on the left with Russell Okung and John Carlson.
Mike Gibson pulls around Okung, while C Chris Spencer seals his man toward the inside. Gibson's man drops off the line and follows Gibson toward the hole. Obomanu seals off his man, while Okung starts pushing his toward the middle. FB Michael Robinson throws a vicious block on an approaching linebacker while the safetys start to crash toward the line. Lynch breaks the initial tackle of the other linebacker. This was probably the Saints best chance at bringing him down, and Lynch just ran through the tackle.
I had to rewind this four times to make sure I saw it right, but Carlson actually pancakes his defender. Never thought I'd write that sentence. Gibson and Spencer are into the next level and lay crunching blocks on the safetys, creating a wall for Lynch to cut behind. The DT Spencer had been blocking makes a diving try at Lynch, but he's off to the races at this point.
By the time Tracy Porter made his ill-fated decision to take on Lynch, a Seahawk caravan was forming. Sean Locklear, Matt Hasselbeck, Tyler Polumbus and Mike Williams were running with Lynch. The act of shoving Porter's face into the ground caused Lynch to stumble backwards, so that guys like Hasselbeck and Locklear could catch-up and join the party. You may not have noticed, but Hasselbeck already was raising his finger into the air at this point. Quarterbacks...
DE Alex Brown made a diving attempt along the sideline, and then Polumbus occupies Roman Harper for long enough to allow Lynch to cut back inside toward the end zone. Mike Williams also blocked Jabari Greer for a second that kept Greer from catching Lynch from behind. John Carlson, Ben Obomanu and Chris Spencer join the parade just in time for Lynch to dive in for six.
It will go down as one of the greatest individual efforts in NFL history, but there were key contributions from Michael Robinson, Ben Obomanu, Tyler Polumbus, Chris Spencer, John Carlson, Mike Gibson and Mike Williams. Amazing play.
Click the arrow on the graphic to run through the play