GLENDALE, Ariz. — In the locker room before the game, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch threw up, his stomach unable to keep anything down.
“He was as ill as I’ve ever seen him,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said.
Lynch spent the first quarter pacing the sideline, trying to get fluids into his system and settle his stomach. He sat on a Gatorade cooler. He laid down on the training table. By the first few plays of the second quarter, after not playing at all in the first quarter, Lynch walked onto the field finally ready to go.
He rushed for 113 yards on just 10 carries against the Cardinals and scored two touchdowns in his three quarters of work, but that’s not what everyone will remember. What everyone will remember is the 79-yard touchdown run that saw him break tackles, run through defenders, cut back across the defense, tiptoe the sideline and dive into the end zone backward while grabbing his groin. It is rare for a play to get teammates reacting like fans, but Lynch’s run did exactly that.
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Defensive end Michael Bennett: “It was the best run I’ve ever seen. I felt like he was running for freedom or something. Boy, he was gone. They haven’t had a run like that since the Underground Railroad.”
Cornerback Byron Maxwell: “One word: greatness. That’s the best way I can describe it. … I’m still in awe. I can’t wait to look at it again. Seriously, though.”
Receiver Doug Baldwin: “Most times I stay in the moment, and I try not to get caught up in the past or future or what might happen down the line. But in that moment I couldn’t help but think, ‘Twenty years from now, we’re going to be looking back at that run thinking how amazing that was.’ ”
Cable: “J.R. (Sweezy) pinned the linebacker, and he (Lynch) cut back against all the flow. We had Ricardo Lockette on the backside and picked the safety off, so it was just if he could stay in bounds, and he did. What a cool run. I haven’t seen one like that, either.”
Quarterbacks coach Carl Smith: “I started with my binoculars on, which I don’t normally do, but I had my binoculars on and I said right away, ‘He’s got something.’ Then he cut it back, and then he didn’t really have contact until about 20 yards down the field. He made a great cutback and then he was just spectacular going through the DBs.”
Guard James Carpenter: “I just saw Marshawn breaking like 11 tackles.”
Offensive tackle Justin Britt: “I was just blocking, and I hear the crowd start roaring and I look up and Marshawn is breaking like 20 tackles. I just tried to hustle down there, and it was kind of like the Saints game, the one that I watched growing up. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a run like that.”
Offensive tackle Alvin Bailey: “It was…interesting. (Laughs). We all know that he likes that play, and we tried to punch a little hole in there and somehow he found a way to make the rest of that happen.”
Safety Earl Thomas: “I saw a guy that was fearless, and I saw the people on the field were scared of him. They didn’t want to tackle him. He’s so different, bro.”
Smith: “I saw him jump and do his trademark fly-into-the-zone (celebration). Yeah, I’m going with calling it that.”
Thomas: “He is who he is. He’s going to hold his (groin). That’s what he do.”
Maxwell: “That was the best part.”
Linebacker K.J. Wright: “Everybody just got up and rushed to him. That was real special.”
Defensive back DeShawn Shead: “The whole sideline lit up. It was just all energy. Special teams fed off that energy. It just lit everybody up.”
Thomas: “That’s respect, man, and really understanding who you’ve got on your team. He’s special.”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org