Raiders Offense Has Played Surprisingly Well Without Marshawn Lynch Over The Last 2 Years

There’s a strong case to be made that outside of Rodney Hudson, the most productive player on the Raiders roster over the past two years has been Marshawn Lynch. At times last year when it seemed like teammates were quitting, Lynch ran as hard as ever and his effort certainly carried over again this year. He’s been a beast.

Considering the lanes (or lack thereof) that Lynch has been running through since joining the Raiders, it’s remarkable that he has been able to average 4.3 YPC over the past two years. Marshawn has been ultra reliable in pass protection and was again catching the ball well out of the backfield this year. He seems to do everything well… which makes it particularly bizarre that the Raiders offense hasn’t been held back more when Lynch has been out.

In the three games that Lynch has missed as a Raider (including the 2017 Chiefs game when he was ejected), Derek Carr has thrown 7 touchdowns to 2 interceptions and has a 98.2 quarterback rating. In the 21 other games, Carr has 26 touchdowns to 21 interceptions, and a passer rating of 86.3.

While the sample size isn’t enough to reach any conclusions, it’s fair to wonder why the Raiders offense has been better at times without Lynch. Certainly the offense wasn’t overly impressive last year in Buffalo, but the Raiders vertical attack was more affected in that game by the rain, wind, and cold (FOUR Raider fumbles in the game). With that in mind, Lynch would have been ideal for the weather that day.

One explanation for Carr’s success without Lynch might be that the Raiders just aren’t built to maul teams on the ground. When they are at their best (with a few exceptions), the Raiders almost always count on their passing game to set up the run.

Without a doubt, Doug Martin and Jalen Richard shouldered the load admirably (expect for the Martin fumble) without Lynch on Sunday and it’ll be interesting to see if that’s a trend that will continue against better defenses… but safe to say the 49ers on Thursday will not qualify as such.

twitter: @raidersbeat

Note: Lynch was ejected in the second quarter of the Chiefs game in 2017, but he had been used sparingly to that point. Richard and DeAndre Washington were a bigger part of the gameplan that day even before Lynch was ejected.