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Updated Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Seahawks plan to keep feeding the ball to Marshawn Lynch

By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — Relentless.

It's a commonly used adjective to describe the punishing running style of Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch. But coincidentally, it is also an apt description for the team's pursuit of the running back two years ago.

Coach Pete Carroll estimated that Seattle — mainly through general manager John Schneider — was in constant contact with the Buffalo Bills for about eight or nine weeks leading up to a 2010 trade that brought Beast Mode to the Pacific Northwest.

"I just kept bugging John and bugging John," Carroll said. "John probably called them back 10 times to get this done."

"My hopes were that (Lynch) could be the lead, marquee back for you — that we would get an attitude guy as well as a big-play guy. So we went after him ... and he has done everything we could ask."

The trade was perhaps the defining move for a franchise that has rebuilt itself into a contender. And in a Seahawks season where much attention has gone to a blossoming first-year quarterback and a fearsome defense, Lynch has steadily put together his best year.

The bruising 26-year-old, heading into his first game against his former team Sunday in Toronto, has already rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards — second-best in the NFL — and added nine touchdowns.

Lynch is on pace for almost 1,600 yards, a total that would rank third-best in Seahawks history. Since the trade, he has 27 rushing touchdowns. Buffalo, as a team, has 26.

And the Bills, who received fourth- and fifth-round draft picks in the deal, don't need any reminding.

"I know what a physical, tough runner he is," said coach Chan Gailey, who also had the job when Lynch was traded. "He's quicker than most people realize for his size. I've known all along that he's a very good back."

So will there be any added motivation for Lynch against his former team, which claims the fifth-worst rush defense in the league? Teammates don't think so.

"He doesn't need any motivation," said fullback Michael Robinson. "He's always mad."

The numbers are an indication.

Lynch, who signed a four-year, $31 million deal in March, has seven 100-yard rushing games this season, second-best in the NFL. He has reached the milestone in five of the past seven games, including a dominant performance last week versus Arizona with 128 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns on just 11 carries.

"He's been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style," Carroll said of Lynch. "Everything has been there every single game."

Added quarterback Russell Wilson: "He's the best running back in the NFL — one of the best, for sure — and he does a great job of just being a workhorse. ... I think the biggest thing is you have to keep feeding him."

Lynch, the centerpiece of the Seahawks' physical-minded identity, has had some help throughout his finest season.

Carroll noted the improved play of the team's offensive line. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell indicated the improvement of Wilson has also provided more opportunities in the run game. Injuries, which have hampered Lynch at times, haven't resulted in any missed games this season. And the effectiveness of backup Robert Turbin has resulted in a manageable workload.

"I would expect that he can continue doing this," Carroll said of Lynch. "There are no signs otherwise, so we'll keep feeding it to him and keep him going as much as possible."

Note

• Receiver Sidney Rice was not in a walking boot Thursday but didn't practice for a second straight day due to a bruised foot.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) also wasn't able to practice.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @joshuamayers

Career year
Marshawn Lynch has already set a personal best in rushing yards and is on pace for the third-best season for a Seahawks running back. Here's a look at his best years:
Season Gms Rush yds Rush TDs Avg. yards
2012 13 1,266 9 4.9
2011 15 1,204 12 4.2
2007 13 1,115 7 4.0
2008 15 1,036 8 4.1
Sunday

Seahawks @ Buffalo (Toronto), 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13


ELAINE THOMPSON / AP
Marshawn Lynch to play first game vs. Buffalo




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