Chiefs impressed with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch, but endure in stopping him
And the Chiefs quickly found out on the field during Sunday’s 24-20 win.
The 5-11, 215-pound Lynch bruised his way to 124 yards rushing on 24 yards, anchoring a Seattle ground game that recorded 204 yards against the Chiefs.
His physical style of running, which earned him the “Beast Mode” moniker, left a lasting impression on the Chiefs defense.
“Oh man,” cornerback Sean Smith said after the game. “My neck hurts right now, still. And I helped on tackles. I can imagine what those guys felt like up front who have to really wrap him up. That guy is so powerful. It was crazy how we stopped him on fourth-and-1 because he was getting those yards the entire game.”
The play Smith alludes to occurred late in the fourth quarter with the Seahawks driving to the Chiefs’ 36-yard line.
Defensive end Allen Bailey initially stopped Lynch short of the first down before a group of defenders joined Bailey to prevent forward progress.
Chiefs inside linebacker Josh Mauga and free safety Husain Abdullah also tackled Lynch, who entered the Week 11 as the NFL’s rushing touchdowns leader with nine, short of the goal line after a 2-yard gain on second-and-4.
That play kept the Chiefs as the only team in the NFL to not allow a rushing touchdown on the season.
“They’re not in until they’re in,” Mauga said. “We preach that every week and we take pride in that.”
Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ strategy entering Sunday’s game to contain Lynch was good old fashioned gang tackling.
And it worked for the most part when considering Lynch entered Week 11 with four rushing touchdowns the previous week.
“Watching film, he’s definitely explosive and running through tackles in a couple of one-on-one matchups,” Mauga said. “We definitely didn’t want that to happen to us, so we had 11 guys swarming the ball any time he touched it.”
Strong safety Eric Berry agreed.
“The thing we were talking about is no solo tackles,” Berry said, “so everybody get to the ball and get it to where we didn’t have to be one-on-one. If you missed, somebody was right there to make the tackle and that helped out.”
Lynch, of course, still got his yardage with a second straight 100-yard effort, but he had to work hard against a defensive front determined to stop him.
The aches and pains of preventing one of the league’s premier physical rushers to run wild was worth it to outside linebacker Justin Houston.
“I’ll probably feel it tonight,” Houston said. “Right now I’m cool. I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel it tonight when I’m calmed down. My adrenaline is still going. When everything slows down, I’m definitely going to feel the pain.”