Lovie Smith was asked how the presence of Marshawn Lynch has changed the Seahawks’ offense, and the Bears coach should know because the two teams have played six times in the past five seasons and will meet again on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Lynch played his first game as a Seahawk against the Bears last season, after being acquired in a trade with the Bills. He then played against the Bears again in the second round of the playoffs. The Seahawks won the regular season game, but lost the postseason game.
“Just talking about Marshawn, he’s just a great player No. 1, that just plays hard,” Smith said this morning during a conference-call interview. “He’s so aggressive running the football. So as far as changing the offense, when you have a player like that at the running back position and you’re a running team and you’re trying to establish the run each week, you want a competitor like him carrying the ball.
“He’s made quite a few of the highlight reels with second-effort plays. That’s what’s impressive about him. After he’s come in contact with the defender, most of the time that first guy doesn’t get him down.”
And Lynch is on a second-effort run in the second half of the season, with a league-high 706 yards and six touchdowns in his past six games. He needs 31 yards against the Bears to become the Seahawks’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Shaun Alexander in 2005.
Last season, Lynch carried 17 times for 44 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks’ Week 6 win in Chicago. He then had only four carries for 2 yards in the January loss in the divisional round of the playoffs, as the Seahawks fell behind 28-0 and Matt Hasselbeck threw 42 passes.
Smith and his Bears can expect to see a lot more of Lynch on Sunday.