Marshawn Lynch is truly a one-of-a-kind human being and running back. Press conferences and interviews were never his forte (He still showed face, because who wants to get fined?), but he’s always made time for golf cart joy rides while playing at Cal and, of course, Skittles. Lots of Skittles.
On the field, “Beast Mode” earned his legendary nickname for putting his head down and trucking defenders. When Lynch imposed his will and stared at a player from behind that signature dark helmet visor, that’s when you knew he was about to pull off a breathtaking, video game-like run.
Of all his tackle-breaking rushes, none compare to what is now commonly known as the “Beast Quake.” Lynch not only broke nine tackles on one 67-yard rushing touchdown while a member of the Seattle Seahawks in 2011, he thrilled the hometown Seattle crowd so much that the crowd’s jumping registered on a nearby seismograph.
The Seahawks were facing the New Orleans Saints in a NFC Wild Card game on Jan. 8, 2011. Led by quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints were the defending NFL Super Bowl champions and looked poised for another deep run in the NFL playoffs.
With the Seahawks up 34-30 with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Lynch needed a few first downs to put the game away. Instead, he sealed the game with one of the most iconic runs of all time.
Marshawn Lynch’s Best Run
How Marshawn Lynch Broke Nine Tackles
Lynch shook off nine defenders in total. After breaking free of the first three Saints players — defensive end Will Smith, linebacker Scott Shanle and defensive end Sedrick Ellis — he was off for the races.
Shanle explained how the Saints defense failed to stop Lynch to ESPN in 2013.
“I think it was a power play, and we just scraped over the top. And he made a move at the last second to go backdoor, which was kind of odd, because usually on the power play, they either keep it right in that A-gap or they bounce it outside to the front. And he took it to the back side,” Shanle said. “And once he did that, the whole thing just kind of broke down. He made a nice cut, and we didn’t have anybody back there.”
Defensive tackle Remi Ayodele and safety Darren Sharper each got hands on him, but he was too much beast for them to handle. Defensive back Jabari Greer was taken for a turf ride trying to tackle Lynch.
By far the Saints player victimized the hardest was cornerback Tracy Porter. Lynch threw the most vicious stiff arm of all time, burying Porter into the dirt at what was then known as Qwest Field and likely making him ponder retirement.
Still salty about the play years later, Porter didn’t want to talk about it. He played six more years in the league.
“I don’t want to talk about it. It was a great run. They won, we lost. But the next week they lost, and they were at home just like us,” Porter told ESPN.
It was smooth sailing for Lynch after that, dodging a shoestring tackle by defensive end Alex Brown and high-stepping past safety Roman Harper and leaping into the end zone backwards while holding his crotch.
Beast Quake Registered on a Nearby Seismograph
Lynch’s 15-second touchdown run created such a frenzy in the home of the 12th Man that it registered on a nearby seismograph. The vibrations from Seahawks fans shook the ground and were recorded by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN).
John Vidale of PNSN plotted the points and determined the largest amount of activity came immediately after the Tracy Porter stiff arm.
“It was a really cool play I’ll remember the rest of my life,” then-Seahawks left guard Tyler Polumbus told ESPN in 2013. “That city erupted and literally caused an earthquake. It was an amazing experience.”
Beast Quake Led to Unlikely Upset
Many critics felt the 7-9 Seahawks should’ve never been in the playoffs to begin with and didn’t give them a chance at beating the defending Super Bowl champs. It would have been easy for the Seahawks to count themselves out in the locker room before the game even started.
Brees constructed a legendary performance, finishing with a postseason record 39 completions, 404 yards and two touchdowns. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck matched Brees, throwing four touchdowns of his own.
The Seahawks also became the first sub-.500 team in NFL history to win a playoff game in addition to sending the former champions home.
Lynch, meanwhile, finished the game with 131 rushing yards on 19 carries. He went on to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of the next four seasons, essentially resurrecting his career after becoming an instant star as a rookie with the Buffalo Bills.
Beast Mode has had plenty of other great rushes. The 2014 79-yard touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in which he broke numerous tackles as well sticks out. This run against the Green Bay Packers in 2015 is up there, too.
Marshawn Lynch may be better suited to goal-line carries from the one-yard line under Seahawks coach Pete Carroll in 2019 and 2020 after a hiatus since playing for the Oakland Raiders, but he’s shown against the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles he’s as strong as ever.
Still, nothing will ever compare to the one and only “Beast Quake.”