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Marshawn Lynch to face Patriots for first time since Seahawks handed them a Super Bowl by not handing him the ball

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Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick still sees the same Beast Mode as last they met.

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The last full season in which Marshawn Lynch played was 2014. And that was a long season, because the Seahawks went all the way to the Super Bowl. But unlike the previous season, that Super Bowl run didn’t end well. Primarily because the Seahawks went away from Beast Mode at the worst possible time.

Down 28-24 to the Patriots with, the Seahawks got the ball back with just over two minutes on the clock. The very first play of the drive, Russell Wilson dropped back and spotted Marshawn streaking up the left sideline, putting it right on him for a 31-yard gain.

That play set the Seahawks up in New England territory at the 49-yard-line.

A few plays later, an incredible catch by Jermaine Kearse off a tipped pass went for 33 yards and put the Seahawks in first and goal at the 5-yard-line.

On first down, the Seahawks gave it to Marshawn who picked up 4 yards to put them in second and goal at the 1-yard-line with under a minute remaining and the clock ticking and each team with a timeout.

Still plenty of time to run it and fail, but instead of handing it to the Lynch to let him finish it off, Russell Wilson went to the air, throwing short to Ricardo Lockette. Malcolm Butler read it and cut off Lockette’s route to intercept it at the goal line.

That decision has stuck with Marshawn ever since. He returned the following season, but injuries ended it after seven games. A few months later, he announced his retirement from the NFL.

Obviously that retirement wasn’t permanent. After spending a year out of football, the opportunity to come back and join his hometown Raiders was too good to pass up.

Now, ten weeks into the season, he gets another crack at the Patriots to start out the Raiders final seven games when every game is crucial for their playoff hopes.

“He’s as good as any back in the league in terms of yards after contact,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick over conference call Wednesday. “He’s got great balance, great lower body leg strength. He looks good on every run – inside, outside, cutback, downhill. It doesn’t matter. He can run everything.”

All coaches say positive things about upcoming opponents and their players. But Belichick noted specifically yards after contact in which Marshawn has been among the best in the league this season.

A league worst Patriots defense without middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower will have its work cut out for them trying to stop what is sure to be an energized Beast Mode Sunday in Mexico City.