It took Marshawn Lynch just one regular season game to quiet the critics who had been deafening throughout the offseason.
The bruising veteran running back looked every bit as powerful as the last two wildly successful seasons during Thursday night's 36-16 drubbing of the Green Bay Packers, racking up 110 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times has Michael Bennett's thoughts after the game:
Seattle's Michael Bennett: "I saw some of the best players in the league, supposedly, not wanting to tackle Marshawn Lynch."— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) September 5, 2014
As ESPN's Kevin Pelton joked, it was quite the statement towards the pundits suggesting Lynch's eventual demise in 2014:
Imagine how many yards Marshawn Lynch would have if he weren't washed up.— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) September 5, 2014
Lynch missed a portion of the offseason and didn't get a lot of preseason snaps after a short-lived holdout, but the only effect seemed to be fresh legs. He looked as dangerous as ever, breaking tackles on every run, but he was also explosive through the holes and very quick to bounce runs to the outside. Former NFL scout John Middlekauff put it simply:
Damn #BeastMode looks good tonight— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) September 5, 2014
It's obviously early, but Lynch is absolutely locked in as an RB1 in fantasy circles. The 'Hawks' offense looks far more balanced with Percy Harvin getting touches all over the field, and that should help create bigger holes for Lynch to bulldoze his way through.
Seattle's depth at running back (Robert Turbin got six carries, and Christine Michael will see some touches when healthy) and Lynch's age mean he won't likely approach 300 carries again this season, but it's clear the production won't be affected nearly as much as many originally believed.