Marshawn Lynch does his talking on the field

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch looks on Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch looks on before a game against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field. (Dec. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty

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Marshawn Lynch is ready to make his statement.

It won't be with words. That time has passed and, in Lynch's case, passed quietly. No, the running back who has earned the nickname "Beast Mode'' for his physical, punishing runs is about to let his play do his talking for him.

While Super Bowl XLVIII is largely being billed as the Broncos' offense against the Seahawks' defense -- both of which were ranked as tops in the league -- the real deciding factor in the game could be Lynch. Especially if those other two units play to a wash.

And for two and a half years, that's been exactly what the Seahawks have been hoping for.

The Seahawks acquired Lynch from the Bills during the 2010 season, but it wasn't until a year later that they fully committed to the trade. It was Week 9 of 2011 when the Seahawks decided to redefine themselves not just as a running team, but as a Marshawn Lynch running team.

"That was the reason why Pete [Carroll] traded for him,'' Seahawks running backs coach Sherman Smith said. "He knew that Marshawn had the type of running style that we wanted to be about. We said, 'This is what we're going to be about. Run the football.' He was our best player -- let's give the ball to our best player.''

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How has that worked out?

Well, since that game against the Cowboys, the Seahawks have run for at least 100 yards in 33 of 41 games. The team's 5,979 rushing yards since that fateful Week 9 game in 2011 are the most of any team in the NFL.

"We have a physical team, we have a physical running back,'' Smith said. "So that's gonna be our thing. We're going to run and pass off of the run, not pass first and run second.''

That philosophy got the Seahawks this far. There's no reason to think they'll change it now. Not even the wide receivers are suggesting that.

"I don't know why we would,'' Doug Baldwin said. "We've been playing at a pretty good pace when we hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch.''

While that seems to be a simple philosophy, trying to figure Lynch out as a man is far more complex. He is very guarded to the point that he went almost the entire 2013 season without being available to reporters. Well, available may not be the right word.

Lynch sits at his locker during the time when reporters come in to ask questions of players, but he declines requests while blasting loud, obnoxious music through a pair of 14-inch tall speakers. Seahawks media relations personnel say they have asked Lynch to turn the music down so that conversations can be held. He won't.

That coupled with one glance at how Lynch runs would belie an angry, aggressive person. And yet his teammates tell a different story.

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"He's really intelligent, he's really funny,'' wide receiver Golden Tate said. "He's a funny guy. Once you get to know him and he trusts you, he opens up a lot. I have fun being around him . . . I've been over his house a few times just kicking it, chopping it up, and he's funny. He's real funny.''

"He's very outspoken,'' Smith said. "Marshawn is a very intelligent guy, very intelligent. He has a lot of fun. He's the real deal. You can get in a conversation with him about anything. The guy is really sharp.''

Why is Marshawn mum? Perhaps it is because of coverage of his DUI arrest this past summer. Maybe it is because some reporters in Buffalo, where he played his first three-plus seasons, referred to him as "Marshawn the Moron.''

Robert Turbin, Lynch's backup at running back, also joined the list of those who yuk it up with Lynch and seemed surprised that people would assume Lynch is a grouch. "You've got to have fun when you play this game,'' Turbin said. "You can't be serious all the time.''

So why doesn't the public ever see that side?

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"You're not supposed to,'' Turbin said.

It's apparently enough to see the side that plays football, that sheds defenders like a molting lobster. In one of his rare statements to the media this season, Lynch said simply, "I don't run to get tackled,'' and he has shown it.

While he finished sixth in the league with 1,257 yards this season, according to ProFootballFocus.com, 752.5 of those yards came after he was first contacted by a defender. He led the league with 75 broken tackles. Adrian Peterson, by comparison, was second. He had 58.

"He's the best runner in the league,'' tackle Russel Okung said. "He embodies every part of our offense. Physical. Tenacious. Aggressive. And tough. To have a guy like that in the backfield motivates you to play even harder. Every snap.''

Added guard J.R. Sweezy: "We're just trying to play at his level. We're trying to hit people like he's hitting them.''

If they can do that against the Broncos, that would be worth talking about.

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