Cowboys vs. Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch Enters Beast Mode as Hawks Down the Boys

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterSeptember 17, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 16: Marshawn Lynch #24, center, of the Seattle Seahawks rushes the ball as Danny McCray #40, left, of the Dallas Cowboys and teammate Morris Claiborne #24 chase during play at CenturyLink Field on September 16, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Last week in Arizona, Seattle's running game never got off the ground due to Darnell Dockett's single-handed domination of the Seahawks' J.R. Sweezy and the offensive line.

In Sweezy's defense, it was by no means all his fault as Dockett is a top five 3-4 defensive end. However, the NFL is full of amazing talent everywhere, so if you can't hang, it's time for someone to step in and fill the role. 

The play-calling in the run game appeared to be much more aggressive as well. Darrell Bevell called 33 runs out of 70 total plays; this week he called 41 runs out of 67 total plays. It's safe to say head coach Pete Carroll made it a point to take pressure off of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. On those 41 runs, the running game cranked out 182 yards on the ground.

And take the pressure off of him he did, as Lynch carried the load and gashed Dallas' defense for the second consecutive year. In my Friday preview piece, I broke down the Seahawks' rushing attack from last year's game and said they needed to use a carbon copy of that game plan to beat the Cowboys

No. 24 entered "beast mode" (over 100 yards rushing) for the seventh time since the beginning of the 2011 season. He topped out on the day at 122 yards rushing on 26 carries. His three-yard score was his first rushing touchdown of the season. 

Since Coach Carroll arrived, it has been evident that Seattle's calling card on offense is their ability to run the football. From the beginning of the 2010 season until now, the Seahawks are 13-5 when they rush for more than 110 yards as a team. 

Impressive numbers considering the offensive line has been banged up more often than not. Not to mention, the subpar quarterback play over the past couple of years hasn't really frightened too many opposing defenses. 

Tom Cable's zone-blocking scheme incorporates big offensive linemen who are athletic, quick and reliant on the double-teaming of defensive linemen. These big, athletic and quick offensive linemen are the reason behind Lynch's success. His stiff arms and shedding of tackles play a big role, but they are the main reason.

Pass protection could still use some work as Cable's offensive lines often lead the league in sacks given up and holding penalties. But anyone who follows the Seahawks knows this unit really came together at the end of 2011. As players continue to get healthy, improvement along the line will continue to grow as well.

It's easy to forget, but this offensive line is awful young. Currently, the average age upfront is 26 years, yet when James Carpenter steps in at left guard that number will drop even lower to 24.8.

If Seattle wants to build on this victory and beat Green Bay next week on Monday Night Football, they are going to have to count on Cable's group to open up huge holes for No. 24. We all saw what Clay Matthews and the Packers' pass rush did to Jay Cutler last week.