The Oakland Raiders season is essentially over. The loss to Kansas City sealed their fate. The coaching staff and the management of the team remain more suspect than the running game. While early in 2017, Marshawn Lynch struggled to heat up; he found his stride over the past month.
Not to mention, Lynch found his game, but the offensive line reverted to 2016 excellence. As a result, the run game is the only dependable part of the offense. However, even with backs churning out yards, the playcallers refuse to commit to it. Instead, they prefer bubble screens and short slants than relying on one of the best offensive lines and better running backs.
Moreover, looking back at Sunday’s stats, it is a little unbelievable how little the Raiders used the run. According to ESPN.com, the Raiders ran the ball eleven times. Marshawn Lynch ran the ball seven times for sixty-one yards, at 8.7 ypc. DeAndre Washington ran the ball four times at 2.25 ypc.
Although, the offensive coordinator could point to trailing early to shying away from the running game. Yet, that is an excuse for poor coaching. Marshawn Lynch’s longest run of the day gained twenty-seven yards. In his last five games, Lynch tallied five touchdowns. Right now, Lynch is the model of consistency in an otherwise turbulent season. Todd Downing continually fails to recognize that. Until he does, the offense stays imbalanced and Derek Carr will depend on his pass-dropping receivers more.
Finally, none of the blame on any of the current woes should fall on Marshawn Lynch’s shoulders. Admittedly, at the beginning of the season I was as skeptical as anyone else as to how Lynch would fare missing an entire year and coming back from the pounding he has taken in the early days of his career. Now, not only has Lynch proven himself an outlier on the averages for aging running backs but also he has proven that he is still a cornerstone and an integral part of the offense, even if the coordinator has no idea how to use him.