Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch set the standard for what is known as "beast mode".
What it means is that a runner is running with such ferocity and power, that the very Earth trembles beneath it every time they carry the ball.
I chose those words on purpose, because for me the first time I saw Lynch go "beast mode" was in a Wild Card playoff game following the 2010 season between Seattle and the New Orleans Saints.
This game was a "one for the ages" that really, on paper, should not have been close at all.
Seattle became the first team to ever win their division with a below .500 final win-loss record (7-9).
Due to the way the playoffs are set up, the eleven win Saints had to travel to Seattle to play the game, because Seattle was a division winner and New Orleans was a runner-up (to the Falcons) in their division.
Late in the game, Lynch decided to score a touchdown. I mean, he really just must have said to himself, "I am going to score, mercy be to any who get in my way."
He took a handoff and, breaking no less than six tackles, rumbled his way for the go ahead touchdown.
What was remarkable was that during his tremendous run, a small earthquake occurred, originating less than 500 yards from Qwest Field. Granted, it likely had zero effect on anyone, and I don't think anyone even felt it when it happened.
But really, what timing, huh? Anyways, that is (in my mind at least) the first instance of a runner going "beast mode" in recent memory.
Now fast forward to yesterday's game against the Minnesota Vikings and their uber-talented running back, Adrian Peterson. The man who set the record for most rushing yards in a game (298) during his ROOKIE YEAR. He really is just that good.
Peterson carried 17 times for 182 yards and two scores. One of those scores came on a 74-yard scamper, but still, that's an eye-popping 10.7 yards per carry. It just was not enough.
Not to be outdone, Lynch had 26 carries of his own, totalling 124 yards, plus a score.
The Seahawks and Vikings have taught us all the following five things:
1) Seattle is at least a nine-win team.
They already have one road win, and nobody, not even the Patriots, can beat these guys at home. A perfect 8-0 at home, plus at least one road win, and you have your 9-7 playoff team.
2) Adrian Peterson has recovered fully from his devastating knee injury.
For proof, you need to refer to any of his last three games, in which his yards per carry has increased each time. He's posted four 100 yard games so far, is closing in quickly on 1,000 for the season and is averaging a gawdy 5.7 yards per carry.
3) Minnesota is one of 2012's "Hot Failure Teams".
It seems that every season, there's always a "surprise team". One team that was picked to finish in last place, or a team that never posts winning records, always emerges early with a strong start in the win column.
The same folks who had picked them to finish last are now projecting their playoff seeds. Then, ultimately, reality hits. HARD. Such was the case in 2011 with Buffalo. So seems to be the case this year with the Vikings (and Cardinals, never forget the Cardinals!)
4) Pete Carroll deserves more credit than he's given.
Personally, I love the guy, I've been a fan of his since his New York Jets days back in the 90's. He defies "convention", does what he feels is best for his teams.
Case in point, the highly paid Matt Flynn has been riding the bench all season in favor of rookie Russell Wilson. This bold decision seems to be paying off, as Wilson's game gets better every week, and Seattle is in the thick of the playoff and NFC West chase.
5) By keeping pace with the Packers in the win column, the infamous "touchderceptown" of Week 3 is a ticking time bomb.
You know as well as I do, that if Seattle edges Green Bay in any way regarding playoff contention, seeding, home field, etc. that a molten hot eruption of fan and media fury will against be unleashed all over ESPN in late December.