Marshawn Lynch scored on a 67-yard touchdown run Saturday that helped the Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints. Where does the play rank in Seattle sports history?
In Marshawn Lynch’s eyes, the enduring impact of his 67-yard, earth-rattling, stiff-arming, defender-plowing run through the New Orleans Saints on Saturday is that it helped the Seahawks win the game.
“It seems like more people have been talking to me about the run rather than the win, which I feel is a lot bigger,” he said this week.
But that’s how it is sometimes, that a single play can almost supersede the game itself. Lynch’s run was so spectacular that he had barely high-stepped into the end zone before fans were already debating where it ranks among the best plays in Seattle sports history.
Here’s one assessment of others that compare (and for the purposes of this list, we’ll contain it to plays that have occurred during the last four decades, or basically since pro sports came to Seattle):
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1 Edgar’s double. The drive down the left-field line by Edgar Martinez to beat the New York Yankees in the 1995 American League Division Series might rank forever as the gold standard of memorable Seattle plays. For sheer impact and drama — and a roar that started high and only increased as Ken Griffey Jr. rounded third — it’s hard to top.
2 Nate’s dunk. As symbolism, few Seattle plays compare to Nate Robinson’s baseline alley-oop dunk at Hec Ed against Arizona in 2004. As the 5-foot-7 Robinson soared, he not only brought everyone in the arena to their feet in breathless awe of his athleticism, but also seemed to lift the Huskies’ program with him. The two-handed slam off a Curtis Allen pass keyed a winning streak that marked the beginning of coach Lorenzo Romar’s resurgence of UW hoops.
3 Spider catches Cougs in his web. The long history of Huskies football has yielded hundreds of memorable plays. But few still resonate like Spider Gaines’ 78-yard catch and run on a pass from Warren Moon that bounced off the hands of two WSU defenders and gave the Huskies a 28-27 win in the 1975 Apple Cup, in Don James’ first year as coach.
4 The Lister Blister. The Gary Payton-Shawn Kemp era truly arrived on the night of April 28, 1992 when Kemp produced a thunderous dunk over Golden State’s Alton Lister in Game 3 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. NBA.com once included it in a list of five great dunks.
5 Largent gets even. The most memorable moment of the first era of Seahawks football might have been an a unlikely play from a most likely source — a hit by Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent on Denver DB Mike Harden on Dec. 11, 1988. Harden had earlier in the season delivered an illegal hit on Largent that drew a $5,000 fine in a Seahawks loss in Denver. A few months later, when Harden picked off a pass, Largent got his revenge, forcing a fumble with a hard shoulder-first hit that leveled Harden. Better yet, Largent got the recovery as Seattle earned a key victory on its way to its first division title.
6 Hurst turns ’em around. Washington’s run to the Roses in 2000 might not have happened if not for a 23-yard TD dash by Willie Hurst in which he spun past Arizona defender Joe Tafoya and into the end zone to cap a UW rally from a 25-10 third quarter deficit. The run was named the national play of the week by SI.com.
7 Ichiro’s throw. The career of one of the Mariners’ greatest players might be defined by a laser throw from right field to nab Oakland’s Terrence Long at third base on April 11, 2001, a play that seemed to typify a team that went on to win 116 games.
8 D.J.’s heave. Sonics fans of an older generation forever remember Dennis Johnson’s drive through traffic and pull-up from roughly 30 feet with a second left to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-113 in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals in 1980.
9 Griffey’s blast. Of Ken Griffey’s 630 career homers, his most memorable as a Mariner might have been the two-run blast — the first walkoff HR of his career — that beat the Yankees on Aug. 24, 1995 and has since been cited as the beginning of the team’s run to the playoffs.
10 Jackson’s pick. The real dawning of the Don James Era came on Jan. 1, 1978, when the Huskies upset Michigan 27-20 in the Rose Bowl. The enduring image is a diving interception by linebacker Michael Jackson in the final minutes after Michigan drove to the 8-yard line.