Saturday’s NFC playoff rematch with the Seattle Seahawks will certainly stir up some not-so-pleasant memories for the New Orleans Saints. Of course they would love to forget a demoralizing blowout loss in Week 13 of this season, on the national stage of Monday Night Football, when visiting the Seahawks on the road. And while this game provided a sting, it was three years ago that running back Marshawn Lynch provided a punch that will live on NFL highlight reels for eternity.
In a 2011 wild card matchup between two 7-9 teams, there was a 15-second event that literally shook up the football landscape. Lynch, aka Beast Mode, exploded for a 67-yard run while breaking eight tackles on his way to the end zone. It is considered to be the greatest play in Seattle Seahawks history and has been viewed on YouTube millions of times. The play now dubbed as simply “The Run”, can be viewed as something that is straight out of a comic book. What was the most impressive aspect of the play? It could be the eight broken tackles, the vicious stiff-arm that shifted New Orleans safety Tracy Porter in reverse, the epic playoff upset it ensured, or perhaps the earth that shook as a result. The moment was equal parts important and stunning, with a crowd reaction that created a seismic tremor recorded by a monitoring station near the stadium. No wonder it's affectionately still referred to as "The Beast Quake."
Inside of the huddle, the call was for “17 power”, a simple run play meant to get a handful of yards and to continue to drain the clock. Marshawn Lynch got those few yards the Seahawks were hoping for when he got through the first wave of Saints defenders. What transpired over the next 13 seconds after he shed the first tackler lives on as one of the greatest runs in NFL playoff history.
The Saints have their work cut out for them as they enter the league’s toughest place to play. The setting will certainly be familiar as well as some of the cast of characters. Mainly Marshawn Lynch who set a career high this season with 14 touchdowns (12 rushing, two receiving). He is the only player in the league to have rushed for at least 1,000 yards (1,257 this year) and 10 TDs over the last three seasons. Best of luck to both teams as we have no doubts that the atmosphere will be electric and poised for another possible breakout moment.