Whenever Marshawn Lynch gets cornered, he just blows through people.
He did it yet again Sunday. Six San Francisco 49ers converged on him in the backfield. He bulled through them all for some of his 91 yards on 21 carries in the Seahawks’ 17-7 win.
Lynch became the only NFL player with 1,000 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground in each season since 2011 during Seattle’s fourth straight victory. That’s despite a sore back that has him missing practices and stretching often during games.
Afterward, Lynch again got surrounded — by his favorite folks. Four reporters were at his locker before he bolted quickly.
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Each, including one from The News Tribune, tried to ask him about rallying the Seahawks from down 7-3 at halftime with his 76 yards in the second half. Each time, about six in all, the star of no words to the media responded with four.
“Edgewater Hotel, 6 p.m.,” Lynch said.
That was the site and time of his holiday dinner that Joe and Jennifer Montana attended, among others, starting at $500 a plate. It benefited Lynch’s Fam 1st Family Foundation based in his hometown of Oakland, and it’s been the only thing Lynch has talked about to the media for the past month.
That’s Lynch, giving of his time on the field to the Seahawks and off it to his foundation, his friends and his hometown. So what, the Seahawks and his inner circle say, that he doesn’t talk to the media? So what that the NFL has already fined him $100,000 for that this season?
So what that some of those national media who have complained to the league that Lynch doesn’t talk have written unsubstantiated, increasingly unfathomable reports he won’t return to Seattle in 2015 for the final year of the 28-year-old’s contract?
Can the Seahawks imagine an offense, a locker room, without their 1,133-yard, 10-touchdown man?
“I don’t want to,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “I’m not even going to answer that question.”
Coach Pete Carroll has said he wants Lynch playing for him “for as long as he can play.”
“He’s a unique football player, as well as a unique person,” Carroll said Sunday. “He’s got tremendous competiveness, and this great will. And these guys love blocking for him.
“They love seeing him do what he does. One of the great runs was the one right near the end when they think he’s going out of bounds and he cuts back in and just finishes.
“He’s an extraordinary player. And we love what he brings to this football team.”
Just as the Seahawks took the field Sunday, the Green Bay Packers finally lost. The Buffalo Bills throttled Aaron Rodgers — and left the top seed in the NFC playoffs open for the winner of this coming week’s Seahawks-Cardinals game for the West Division title in Glendale, Arizona.
The Seahawks were aware of the Packers falling to 10-4, like Seattle. Arizona is 11-3 for now, but Seattle would own the head-to-head tiebreaker with both the Packers and Cardinals for having beat them both, in the case of Arizona two times.
So if Seattle wins its final two games and Green Bay rebounds to win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and at home against the Detroit Lions, the Seahawks would have the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Or if Detroit wins out and beats Green Bay and Dallas keeps winning, the Seahawks also get the top seed.
How important is that? Both times Seattle has been to the Super Bowl, at the end of the 2005 and ’13 seasons, they did it with home-field advantage as the NFC’s top seed.
So suddenly, after starting 3-3 and then 6-4, the Seahawks control their own destiny, as they stay.
“We never felt like we were out of control of our own destiny,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “The media, you guys, panicked a little bit.
“We aren’t A-Rod. We’re not going to tell you to relax — because we don’t really care what you think.”
Dallas’ win late Sunday at Philadelphia wasn’t exactly what the Seahawks wanted. But Seattle wins any three-way tie for an NFC seed by owning the tiebreaker for better conference record. So even if Detroit beats Green Bay to end the regular season and Dallas and Seattle win out, the Seahawks would be the No. 1 seed with them, Cowboys and Lions at 12-4.
A Dallas loss next week at home to Indianapolis or at Washington would also further clear Seattle’s way.
The only conference tiebreaker the Seahawks don’t own is a two-way one with the Cowboys. Dallas has that one for winning at Seattle in October.
Left tackle Russell Okung left the game in the first half with a bruised chest wall and went to the hospital during the game. Alvin Bailey replaced Okung and was part of the offensive line that cleared lanes for 105 of Seattle’s 152 yards rushing in the second half.
One report said Okung was splitting up blood at halftime.
"He’s already gone to the hospital, and they've checked him out and he’s released already,” Carroll said after the game. “We’ll let you know in a couple days what’s going on with that.”
Recently signed tight end Tony Moeaki started, had a pass go off his normally reliable hands then got his shoulder “banged,” Carroll said, and did not return. The coach wasn’t sure of Moeaki’s status for Arizona. Seattle only had two healthy tight ends Sunday, with Luke Willson.
Carroll said center Max Unger, who missed his fourth consecutive game with a high-ankle sprain and twisted knee, has a great chance to play at Arizona.
RESPECT FOR GORE
The Seahawks may have hastened the end of Frank Gore’s 10-year career with San Francisco.
The running back had 11 carries for 29 yards including a 15-yard slashing run past Michael Bennett to put the 49ers ahead 7-3 early in the second quarter. On San Francisco’s next drive, Gore put his head into the side of Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner on a block that helped quarterback Colin Kaepernick run for 22 yards.
He wobbled, fell and stayed down. He left the game for good with a concussion.
The Seahawks noticed their long-time nemesis, who turns 32 in the spring, leaving.
“Tons of respect,” Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor said. “Frank Gore is a great runner.”
Gore said this week that if San Francisco decides to go with rookie Carlos Hyde next year he doesn’t begrudge the 49ers, who he says have been great to him.
San Francisco’s constant double teams of DE