Despite Marshawn Lynch's slow start, Ravens defense bracing for ‘Beast Mode’

Marshawn Lynch’s reputation for physicality — embodied by his “Beast Mode” nickname — precedes the Oakland Raiders running back, but Ravens middle linebacker C.J. Mosley said Lynch’s stamina is understated.

“Just got to be ready for four full quarters,” Mosley said Wednesday. “He’s the type of running back that is going to run the same way at the beginning of the game as he is at the end of the game. … It’s my first time playing against him. So it will be an experience.

“They’ve got some big juggernaut linemen, too. So you’ve got to try to get past them first. But we’re definitely going to try to get everyone to the ball and gang-tackle him because he’s a hard runner.”

Lynch, 5 feet 11, 215 pounds, burnished his reputation as a tough runner with the Seattle Seahawks, with whom he earned four straight Pro Bowl invitations and a first-team All-Pro honor in 2012. But he stepped away from the NFL after the 2015 season before returning to Oakland in the offseason.

Surprisingly, Lynch has fewer rushing yards (151) than the Ravens’ Alex Collins (206) and Buck Allen (159) and has scored only one touchdown compared with Terrance West’s two.

But after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-9 win against the Ravens on Sunday, nose tackle Michael Pierce said his focus is limiting Lynch with some help from his teammates.

“That’s the only thing I’m working on this week — just getting our fits down, getting our timing down with the linebackers, and keeping those guys like C.J. Mosley clean,” Pierce said. “[Mosley] had a great game, but we can definitely do a better job of keeping our guys clean and letting them be able to run and make plays. Marshawn’s a great back. Everybody knows that he’s hard to take down. So [gang-tackling is] something we’re focusing on for sure.”

The defense’s outlook does not look rosy if it has to play a third straight game without starting defensive tackle Brandon Williams. But defensive coordinator Dean Pees said the players must concentrate on containing Lynch.

“Everybody’s at the point of attack,” he said Thursday of the defense’s plan. “Everybody has got to stay alive, and he’s not down until he’s down and the whistle blows because he’s an angry runner. He runs hard, his feet are always chopping. I faced him a lot when he was at Buffalo and I was at New England, and the guy is a great back. He’s just really a workhorse.”

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