OAKLAND, Calif. — He scored a touchdown. He pitched back to the quarterback for a touchdown on a flea-flicker pass play. He blocked. He jumped around in what some might call a dance — the “Beast Mode Boogie?”
He left the field with 29 seconds left and climbed the steps to the Oakland Raiders’ locker room while his teammates still were on the field.
About all Marshawn Lynch didn’t do Sunday in his first NFL home game in his hometown was stand for the national anthem. Or offer comments. But as those familiar with the man know so well, he never does.
There he was as the anthem began . . . rooted on the bench next to the Gatorade container. And there he was on the first play from scrimmage, trying to power off left tackle against the Jets, losing a yard.
On one series late in the second quarter, he carried three straight plays. The third went for a 2-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds left and gave the Raiders a 21-10 halftime lead in what became a 45-20 victory.
“Yeah, it was a case of us deciding we were going to feed him the ball and play some power football,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said of Lynch, who had 45 yards on 12 carries. “It was a good four-minute drive to finish as well.”
Lynch was born and raised in Oakland. He graduated from Oakland Tech, where his mother, DeLisa, was a sprinter and where numerous great athletes went to high school, including baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Henderson was on the sideline before the game, as was Lynch’s mom.
Lynch went to Cal-Berkeley, maybe five miles from Tech. He was a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2007 and was traded to Seattle in 2010. In Super Bowl XLIX, he told the media at news conferences, “The only reason I’m here is so I won’t get fined.”
He retired from the Seahawks in the spring of 2016 and unretired to join the Raiders in April 2017.
After Jason Richard ran 52 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Lynch suddenly began to leap and gesture, almost like a man possessed.
“It was exceptional,” Del Rio said when asked what he thought. “I was actually inspired. I was going to join him. You can see the pure passion he has. These are his people. These are my people. I know he was really happy to have his first game like that. We got him in the end zone. It was a great day for him.”