Marshawn Lynch’s season ended prematurely due to injury, but he was still a force in the backfield for the Oakland Raiders in 2018.
Leading the backfield in his second season with the Oakland Raiders was Marshawn Lynch, the hometown player and future Hall-of-Famer. With Jon Gruden returning at the helm of the Silver and Black, there was initial speculation as to just how Beast Mode would fit in Gruden’s offensive scheme coming into the 2018 season.
With Jalen Richard still in his change-of-pace role and the signing of Doug Martin for added depth, Marshawn Lynch competed the trio of running backs expected to be a focal point in the Raiders offense. Perhaps not the type of running back committee that was present in their 2016 playoff season, but contributions all around was the game plan for this season.
Here’s our season grade for running back Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch came off a solid 2017 season with the Raiders in which he ran for 891 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games. Though he was on the latter portion of his career, Lynch still made solid contributions despite an overall disappointing season where the Raiders failed to repeat in making the playoffs and played below initial expectations.
With Gruden now back at the helm, the hope was that he could properly utilize Marshawn Lynch in combination with the other backs at his disposal. We might not see the “Beast Mode” of old for every single game of the season, but expectation was that Gruden could best maximize the ground-and-pound style of Lynch alongside the other strengths of the running backs on the roster.
In his six short games with the Raiders in 2018, the stats don’t immediately jump off the page but Lynch’s real impact can’t be measured just by the stat sheet. Marshawn Lynch averaged around 3.5 yards per rush with a touchdown in each of the first three games, with the exception of the Raiders first win in Week 4. Lynch averaged 6.5 yards per rush alongside 20 carries for 130 yards in their first win of the year. Perhaps most vital, he was the only consistent player that could help move the chains for an offense that struggled early in the season.
He capped 100 plus yards in that Week 4 victory, and for the longest time was the Raiders’ only 100-yard rusher on the season despite playing just six games. Lynch was placed on injured reserve back on October 22nd, 2018. Though there was slight hope he could return for Christmas Eve (which was the Raiders’ final home game of the season) that ended up not being the case, and Lynch’s season ended with just 376 rushing yards on 90 carries, with three touchdowns in six games.
Lynch is an unrestricted free agent come this offseason, though it’s a much more realistic expectation that he could officially retire for the second time in his career. Back when he was traded to the Raiders, Marshawn had signed a two-year deal with the belief that he would represent the Silver and Black in their final two seasons in Oakland before heading off to the Las Vegas.
As we now know, the Raiders have one more season left before their Vegas arrival, yet it remains to be seen where exactly they will play in 2019. With Oracle Park off the table, the Raiders have entered negotiations to play in the Coliseum one last time. Many will be watching how the situation plays out, and though we may have seen the last of Beast Mode, perhaps another season in the Coliseum will entice him enough to play one last season, especially after his 2018 was cut short.