Talk about Back to the Future. Could it be the Beast Mode will return to torment the 49ers’ one more time this coming Sunday in Seattle?
Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 12.23.2019
The 49ers’ high-stakes meeting at Seattle on Sunday didn’t need any more intrigue, but it arrived Monday anyway: The Seahawks plan to add Beast Mode to their barren backfield.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll indicated the team would sign five-time Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch, 33, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since Oct. 14, 2018, when he was with the Raiders. Lynch, an Oakland native who played at Cal, played for Seattle from 2010 to 2015.
“He’s really excited about the chance to help us,” Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle. “If we get a chance to get the Beast back on the field, we’ll see how that works out.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch as teamates
The Seahawks need backfield reinforcements after running backs Chris Carson (broken hip) and C.J. Prosise (broken arm) sustained season-ending injuries in their 27-13 home loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Running back Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on injured reserve Dec. 14, the first major hit to the NFL’s third-ranked rushing attack.
On Sunday, after Carson and Prosise were injured, the Seahawks’ lone running back was rookie Travis Homer. The sixth-round pick had 16 yards on five carries and a 15-yard reception against Arizona. He has 52 yards on eight carries this season, with his season-long, 29-yard run coming on a fake punt.
The Seahawks have leaned heavily on their run game since Carroll arrived in 2010: They rank second in the NFL in rushing attempts over the past 10 seasons.
“We do kind of like running the football, you know?” Carroll said when asked about the backfield attrition. “It’s a challenge. (General manager John Schneider’s) got to get working. He had a plan.”
That plan doesn’t involve just Lynch. The Seahawks reportedly also have interest in two other veterans, C.J. Anderson, 28, and Robert Turbin, 30. Anderson, then with the Rams, had 132 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown in the 2018 regular-season finale against the 49ers.
For his part, Lynch was a 49ers destroyer who routinely gashed their perennially sturdy run defense when he was with Seattle. Lynch had six 100-yard performances in 10 games against the 49ers in his last five seasons with the Seahawks. During that time, the 49ers allowed nine 100-yard performances in their other 88 games, including playoffs.
Even if Lynch improbably channels his glory days against the 49ers, the Seahawks (11-4) have other significant injury issues entering a game that will determine the NFC West champion.
Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown (knee) won’t play Sunday and free safety Quandre Diggs (ankle) is also likely out. Carroll expressed optimism Monday that Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (core muscle) and starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) will return from two-game absences to face the 49ers.