Business as usual for Lynch against his old team

Staff writerDecember 17, 2012 

TORONTO — Sherman Smith has been there before – butting heads against players he used to share a locker room with.

“I told the guys, if you play in this league long enough, you will play against a team you used to be on,” the former Seattle player and Seahawks running backs coach said. “That’s going to happen. It’s just part of the business. But Marshawn (Lynch) just took it in stride. He didn’t run any differently than he has in the past.”

Playing for the first time against the team that moved him to Seattle in an October 2010 midseason trade, Lynch put together a workmanlike effort, totaling 113 yards on 10 carries as the Bills struggled to get a handle on Seattle’s read option offense.

Lynch is second in the league with 1,379 yards on 271 carries, and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He topped 100 yards for the eighth time this season.

Lynch shared a laugh with Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller before the game – the player the Bills drafted in 2010 to replace him – and also talked to some of his former teammates afterward.

Lynch declined to answer questions from reporters as he exited the locker room.

But Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said all the attention defensively being paid toward Lynch helped him break loose for a season-high 92 rushing yards.

“When you have Marshawn Lynch, the best running back in the National Football League, you’ve got to cover him up,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to watch for him. Obviously, he had a tremendous day today. He had some really explosive runs, and the offensive line did a great job.”

Smith said Lynch prepared the same way he always does leading up to the game.

“It’s funny because we didn’t talk about it all week,” Smith said. “As a team, we didn’t say, ‘Hey, this is a big deal because Marshawn is going back to Buffalo.’ We’re playing Buffalo. That’s the big deal. It’s who we’re playing, and it just so happens it’s the team he used to play for.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll echoed those sentiments.

“He was fine,” Carroll said. “He was just rock solid. I didn’t have to say anything to him.”

CARROLL APOLOGIZES

For a second consecutive week, Carroll had to defend his actions during a blowout win.

Last week, Carroll received criticism from league observers who complained that Seattle threw the ball in the fourth quarter of his team’s 58-0 win over Arizona.

On Sunday with his team up 47-17 with 12:49 to go, the Seahawks executed a fake punt on a fourth-and-4 from Buffalo’s 43.

Fullback Michael Robinson scampered up the middle 29 yards on the play, setting up Steven Hauschka’s 23-yard field goal to close out the scoring.

Carroll apologized after the game.

“I feel bad about this,” Carroll said. “That was part of our game plan. It was something I could have called off and I didn’t. It was an automatic for us, and I didn’t do it. It happened. We’re trying to make first downs so I let it go. It’s unfortunate that it comes across that we’re doing something wrong there. That’s my fault totally for not stopping it from happening.”

Buffalo coach Chan Gailey declined to comment when asked what he thought about the fake punt.

But Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said he didn’t like the play.

“You can draw your own opinions on that,” Fitzpatrick said. “I just do not know if that is really my style.”

The Seahawks played their starters for most of the second half, but backup quarterback Matt Flynn did get some playing time for a second consecutive game.

“We have to know how to close out games,” Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. “When we get up in big games, we cannot just start easing up. We have to keep those guys in and learn how to finish football games like good football teams do.”

OH, CANADA!

Playing in their first regular-season game in Toronto was an interesting experience for the Seahawsk.

They had more than their share of fans on hand, with Wilson’s first touchdown being cheered by a cluster of fans near the end zone.

“They do a tremendous job for us at home,” Carroll said. “But to see that kind of number up here, it was really fun to have that. That’s why it did feel like we had some fans here. Usually you don’t feel that on the road.”

Fans were also treated to halftime entertainment by Korean rapper PSY, who performed his smash hit “Gangnam Style.”

Seattle defensive end Greg Scuggs, who did the “Gangnam Style” dance after his sack against Minnesota, did not get a chance to see the halftime show.

“I didn’t get to see him, but I think he did me some justice,” Scruggs said. “We’ll leave it at that.”

With 8:35 to go in the game and Seattle’s defense on the field, a fan slipped past security and ran onto the field, taking his pants off and twirling them over his head.

The fan was tackled by security and escorted off the field.

“It’s just so weird. I’ve never seen that before. It was crazy to see – I didn’t know where he came from,” safety Earl Thomas said. “It was crazy how they tackled him – the smashed him. I was like, ‘Gol-ly.’ ”

Carroll said he treated the trip to Toronto kind of like a bowl game.

“We tried to have some fun with it,” Carroll said. “It was cool to hear the (Canadian) anthem. We tried to make the most of it, and enjoy the heck out of it. And fortunately, we had a real cool win, too.”

EXTRA POINTS

Carroll said defensive tackle Alan Branch suffered an ankle injury that will need further evaluation. … Recently re-signed Seahawks receiver Deon Butler made the trip to Toronto to watch from the sideline. Butler was assigned No. 10, with Lakes High grad Jermaine Kearse wearing No. 11 now. Along with Butler, cornerbacks Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond and DeShawn Shead, offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson and Michael Person and defensive tackle Jaye Howard were on the inactive list. … Rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner led Seattle with a combined 12 tackles, and has 121 this season. … Sidney Rice led Seattle in receptions with four for 76 yards.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

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