Marshawn Lynch’s Game-Saving Shimmy

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, auteur of the most exciting run in team history, today busted out the sickest juke this Hawks fan has ever seen. The play not only left one of the NFL’s greatest defensive players grasping at turf, it helped save the Seahawks’ 22-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Let’s take a look, shall we?

To set the thing up: With just over three minutes left, Seahawks have a 3rd at 5 at the Baltimore 46. If the Seahawks don’t get a first down, they’ll have to punt, giving the Ravens–who still have all three time-outs–plenty of time for a game-winning drive. Lynch starts in the backfield, takes a handoff fake from Tarvaris Jackson, and cuts into the right flat, where Jackson throws him the ball.

1) Lynch catches the ball at the Baltimore 44, three yards short of a first down, with two Baltimore defenders closing–one of whom is middle linebacker Ray Lewis, one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. The other, at the bottom of the screen, is outside linebacker Jarret Johnson.

2)  Here’s the same moment from an angle that will let us see Lynch’s juke better.

3) As Lewis and Johnson (not in your picture) close in, Lynch plants his right foot as if he plans to cut back inside.

4) Lynch sells the fake with his body, wrenching his head down and to the left as Johnson goes in for the tackle.

5) But then, suddenly, Lynch wrenches his body back to the right. Johnson’s tackle corrals nothing but moist Seattle air. Lewis is likewise flummoxed.

6) With Lewis and Johnson piled up at the 40, Lynch doesn’t not stop to rubberneck–he sprints upfield. And the result?

7) That’ll be a Seahawks…FIRST DOWN!

A minute later, Lynch plowed through the Baltimore defense for yet another first down, this one the game-clincher. He finished with 109 yards, and here’s how tough those yards were–his longest run was just 8 yards. It’s Lynch’s second consecutive 100-yard rushing game, and he becomes only the second back all season to run for 100 yards against Baltimore’s stout defense. The Seahawks move to 3-6 on the year, and with a glimmer of hope left for the season–three of their next four games are at home, and all four are against last-place teams.