The Arizona Cardinals’ run defense has been quite formidable in 2013. The team has given up the eighth-fewest yards on the ground (544) in the league, and it is tied with Cleveland for fourth-fewest yards per carry (3.5) allowed. The unit has also given up only two rushing touchdowns on the year.
In the Cardinals’ last game, Frank Gore of San Francisco became the first rusher this season to break 100 yards against Arizona; he reached 101 yards on 25 carries.
The Cardinals’ next game will be another big test for the their run defense. The Seattle Seahawks come to town, and Arizona will have its eye on shutting down star running back Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch.
When the two teams last met, Lynch torched the Cardinals for 128 yards and three touchdowns on a mere 11 carries. The Seahawks barely needed his services, as they recorded a 58-0 blowout win over Arizona in Week 14 of 2012. Lynch also gained 85 yards on 21 carries when the Cardinals beat the Seahawks 20-16 in Week 1 of last season. If you’re doing the math, the Seahawks running back put up 213 yards on 32 carries against the Cardinals on the season — good for an average of 6.7 yards per tote.
“His nickname is not the ‘Beast Mode’ for nothing,” said Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson on Wednesday. “That guy, he’s a workload. For us to be successful against him, I believe all 11 Cardinal hats have to be surrounding him once he has his hands on the ball, because he runs so tough.”
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he’s long been a fan of watching the 27-year-old Lynch run the ball.
“You love watching him play because he’s having a lot of fun out there,” the Cardinals coach said. “And he plays the game like a young guy. I’ve always loved watching him play; he’s a hard-nosed runner, and he’s a real football player.”
Cornerback Jerraud Powers said Lynch is a threat running and receiving the ball, and called him one of the best backs in the league. Powers elaborated Wednesday on the defense’s game plan against Beast Mode, who has 487 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in six games this season to go along with 13 receptions for 174 yards and one score.
“With his running game, you’ve got to respect it. So you’ve got to put guys in the box to stop it,” the fifth-year cornerback said. “If we can stop their running game early and make them just come out and throw the ball, that’s kind of like the game plan and that’s what we want to do.”