“Guess who’s back?...Back again...Guess who’s back?...Tell a friend...”
Marshawn Mother F’ing Lynch, that’s who!
And even though Marshawn himself jumped in to give everyone a heads up that he’ll let them know once they’ve crossed all the T’s and dotted all the lowercase j’s, let’s just go ahead and get pumped up way too early for one of the most exciting games the Patriots have on the schedule this year:
Siri! How many frequent flyer miles do I have?!? Great. Charge it anyway. Life is short.
And Beast Mode’s return to the NFL and pending trade/deal with the Oakland Raiders, who were on absolute fire last season before a heartbreaking injury to quarterback and legit MVP candidate Derek Carr effectively ended their season in Week 16. Worst Christmas present ever.
We all know what’s happened so far in New England’s “Mmmm, that sounds good, we’ll have that” offseason, so let’s check in with the Raiders and see what they did to pump their roster up. Here’s the big ones for an offense that already ranked 7th in the league in points scored:
WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson
OL Marshall Newhouse
TE Jared Cook
That’s in addition to Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Clive Walford, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington at wide receiver, tight end, and running back.
Bringing Lynch into the mix, though, gives them a human truck-stick between the tackles and a constant threat to take just about anything to the house (assuming that he comes back and hasn’t lost a beat, obviously).
What’s more fun is Lynch’s extensive history with the Patriots, going all the way back to his days with the Buffalo Bills.
(Spoiler alert: the Patriots usually end up on top)
-As luck would have it, the artist that would come to be known as Beast Mode’s first year in the NFL was in 2007, the year the Patriots would beat the tar out of you every weekend and really put you in a body bag if you ran your mouth before the game. Lynch played pretty well in 2007’s Week 3 matchup, scoring a touchdown and ending the day with 74 rushing yards, but the Patriots embarrassed the Bills 38-7. Week 11’s rematch was even uglier - Lynch missed the game with an ankle injury and the Bills got blasted 56-10.
-2008 didn’t go much better against the Patriots for Marshawn - the Bills lost to the New England Matt Cassells 20-10 in Week 6, and Lynch logged 46 rushing yards on 14 carries, averaging a brutal 3.29 yards per rush. Then he got hurt again right before the Bills got skunked 13-0 by the Patriots and wasn’t even able to play.
-Marshawn didn’t play in the 2009 Buffalo season opener against New England because he was on NFL double-secret probation (suspended). By the time the Bills and Pats played again in Week 15, Lynch had been demoted to splitting carries with Fred Jackson, and again barely averaged 3 yards per carry (25 yards on 8 carries).
-In 2010, Beast Mode got traded to the Seattle Seahawks for what we at the Pulpit call a bag of peanuts (a fourth-round pick and a conditional pick), and didn’t play the Patriots again - remember, he’s 0-6 against New England already and on the receiving end of several beatdowns and one shutout - until...
-2012’s infamous “U MAD BRO?!?” game, where the Seahawks and the brand-new Legion of Boom hosted the Patriots at CenturyLink Field in Seattle and Lynch finally beat New England for the first time in his career, although he played pretty poorly by Beast Mode standards (41 yards on 15 carries). Of course, the game played a big part in rocketing the LOB to national fame/infamy, depending on whether you hated the Patriots or a bunch of trash-talking, pass-interfering defensive backs more at the time. Which brings us to...
-Super Bowl, 2014 - Lynch was peak Beast Mode in this game, tearing the Patriots a new one for 102 yards and scoring Seattle’s first touchdown of the game. He also got infamously stuffed by Dont’a Hightower on the one-yard line and then, in a call where Bill Belichick arguably bamboozled Pete Carroll into outsmarting himself by not calling a timeout when he saw some confusion on Seattle’s sideline, Lynch didn’t get the rock on the goal line with BACK TO BACK SUPER BOWLS on the line, and Malcolm Butler ruined Seattle’s day when him and ex-Seahawk Brandon Browner perfectly blew up a slant route to Ricardo Lockette.
-And when Seattle finally came to Gillette Stadium in 2016 and beat New England in their home stadium (which, ironically, was one of only two losses last season, both at home), Lynch had ended a rough season by getting sports hernia surgery and getting a handful of carries in the NFC Divisional round against the Carolina Panthers, which ended up 31-24.
Assuming everything goes as planned and Beast Mode ends up in silver and black next year, the Raiders-Patriots showdown in Mexico City at Estadio Azteca has all the makings of a classic before the ball’s even snapped. And you can bet if Marshawn is healthy, he’ll want to exact some payback against the team that beat up on him for his whole career and cost him a ring.
Let’s hope Dont’a Hightower and his platoon of sidekicks are ready to roll for that one.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to renew my passport real quick.